Chronic inflammation and stress affect most Americans.
Inflammation is the body’s response to stress of various forms: from our environment, our diets or even excessively loud noises, like living in a big city with constant traffic and horns going off at all times of the day and night. We can also be affected by mental stress, worrying, and depression. No matter what physical or mental stressors are part of our daily life, we’re on constant alert — which results in our bodies’ adaptation to ensure that we can protect ourselves from danger. Over time, when the inflammation doesn’t go away, our cells can become tired and unable to fight off disease, like fibromyalgia, or they may even proactively mutate, producing cancerous cells in their wake.
Healthier endocannabinoid systems can help us decrease the impact of stress and strain on our bodies and minds, and thereby, they are one pathway to decrease inflammation.
But here’s the trick: it’s all about brainwaves.
Cannabidiol (CBD) works efficiently on decreasing inflammation because it is able to have an impact on four interacting types of brainwaves, building what scientists call neuroplasticity: changing the connections in our brains so that we can respond to stress in a way that becomes more effective over time.
How does this work? We have four types of brainwaves, which are called our alpha, beta, delta and theta states, and which respond to stimuli in different ways. They move our awareness from conscious to subconscious and unconscious states, depending on what our needs are, and where we are in our daily waking and sleeping cycles.
The alpha state is our natural awake state, and it’s where we are most relaxed when we are doing our day-to-day activities like walking, eating, and talking with friends. If you’re in alpha state, you’ll be able to make good, cogent decisions, and regulate your own choices in a way that benefits your body.
Beta waves are turbulent, and are associated with our fight-or-flight response. This is the stress state: when you are in danger, beta waves help you decide to either run, fight for your life or freeze.
Theta activity provides a calm, relaxed state of recharging, very long brain waves that help you to neutralize stress. It’s regularly linked to calming practices such as meditation and yoga.
Finally, delta waves are our longest, and they are aligned with the time of day in which we are are in deep, dreamless sleep in order for you to release the hormones your body needs for your organs and nervous system to recover.
The challenge, however, is that while we may be best served in an alpha or theta state, we’re likely in beta most of the time. We can’t reasonably operate in a beta state all the time, but this response doesn’t abate as long as we believe that danger is around the corner. This constant stress response leads to inflammation throughout our bodies, in every cell. Your brain is only supposed to move towards turbulence in special, emergency situations, and even in those situations, you’re not going to be happy. Constant stress therefore could lead to making poor decisions, but, even more, could lead your body to extreme states where recovery is unlikely.
This is where CBD comes in.
CBD increases the ratio of alpha and theta brainwaves to the rest of your other neurological operations, therefore relaxing the body and slowing down inflammation responses to stress. That’s why CBD can decrease tumor growth, inhibit and destroy cancer cells, and decrease cancer cell migration, as brand new research has demonstrated.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, MD, the director of research at the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, explains that neuroplasticity is so important to decrease inflammation is because, when we can move between brain states more easily, our brain activity may be positively affected by greater blood flow, which can clear plaque from neural arteries, allowing the brain to function better. This, in turn, positively affects the entire body and its functions. This allows the brain to adapt better to new stresses over time. When we have a high level of neuroplasticity and more adaptable brainwaves, we experience a sensation of relaxed but focused calm and safety in our body and mind, whether we consciously notice it or not. In turn, this state subdues the inflammation response throughout our bodies.
In the new year, think about how you can build neuroplasticity and adaptable brainwaves. The pathway you choose may include meditation, getting mental health support, CBD, or any combination thereof. Whatever path you take, know that you can change the way that stress affects you: your brain will thank you for it.
 Capozzi, A., Mattei, V., Martellucci, S., Manganelli, V., Saccomanni, G., Garofalo, T., … & Misasi, R. (2018). Anti-Proliferative Properties and Proapoptotic Function of New CB2 Selective Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist in Jurkat Leukemia Cells. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences, 19(7).