CBD & Adaptogens: How to Hack Stress & Anxiety

Adaptogens & CBD: How to Hack Stress & Anxiety

Running on empty? Whether it’s rushing to meet work deadlines, getting the kids ready for school, or running all over town knocking out your unending honey-do list, it seems like life is becoming busier-than-thou.

You turn to coffee, energy drinks or sugar for that extra boost. However, these only act as quick fixes, and you know quick fixes only go so far. Soon, you find yourself tired again. You’re never going to beat your stress and burnout this way.

Thankfully, there’s an easier and healthier way to get through the day: adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs proven to help your body withstand stress, resist fatigue, and cope with anxiety.

If you know nothing about adaptogens and are looking for solutions to combat stress and anxiety in your life, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article I’m going to be talking about CBD and adaptogens and how they work synergistically to hack your stress.

Let’s jump right in.

Table of Contents

What Are Adaptogens?

Don’t admonish yourself if you’ve never heard about adaptogens, as they’re a unique set of herbal ingredients that can vastly improve the health of the adrenal system. The adrenal system manages your body’s hormonal response to stress.

Adaptogens improve your body’s ability to cope with anxiety, combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, ease depression, and help you thrive, rather than just white-knuckling it through life.

Adaptogens work gently and slowly, without causing you any crashes or jolts.

They’re called adaptogens because, you guessed it, they’re capable to “adapt” their function based on your body’s needs. Their effects may be subtle, but researchers have found evidence that adaptogens are effective, safe to use in the long-term, and provide real, positive benefits to the body.

They aren’t a modern fad—actually, they have been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

How Do They Work?

Adaptogens work like a thermostat that calms you down and boosts your energy simultaneously. They help you eliminate toxic byproducts in the metabolic process, use oxygen more efficiently, and access more energy.

Research shows they support the adrenal function and counteract the adverse effects of stress to normalize your body’s imbalances.

When you’re exposed to stress, your body goes through a three-phased process called “general adaptation syndrome” (GAS).

The three phases of GAS are:

  • alarm reaction
  • resistance
  • exhaustion

Adaptogens help you stay in the resistance phase longer, holding you off the exhaustion and preventing you from crashing in the middle of a stressful moment.

When you’re under high stress, your system turns on its survival mode, and the adrenal glands in your body produce stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help you handle stress. But too much too often is not good for your body.

Stress triggers physical responses that affect your immune system, hormones, cognitive function system, mood, sleep patterns, and even your sex drive.

Cortisol is also responsible for weight gain around the belly area, and using adaptogens reduces cortisol and its effect on weight gain.

Adaptogens also help indirectly with other health problems like insomnia, digestive concerns, and pain. Each adaptogen has a different set of effects on your body, so deciding which one to take will depend on your needs.

Now you know what adaptogens are and how they help with stress and anxiety, but do you know….

What Is CBD?

CBD is a non-toxic, non-intoxicating compound from the cannabis plant. This means it’s safe to use, has low and mild side effects, and, more importantly, it won’t get you high.

This compound belongs to a class known as “cannabinoids” because of its ability to interact with a powerful (but not-yet-fully-understood) system in your brain and body, called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a network of messengers, receptors, and enzymes that maintain your body so it can run optimally.

CBD not only interacts with the ECS. It also interacts with the serotonin receptors, pain receptors, gene expression receptors and with some specific enzymes.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps regulate sleep, mood, anxiety, and pain
  • Anti-seizures
  • Increases the supply of feel-good neurotransmitters
  • Antioxidant qualities
  • May help with psychosis and schizophrenia

CBD has taken the world by storm, and it’s making headlines for the wide range of potential therapeutic benefits it may offer. So far, it looks like combining this wonder substance with adaptogens is a great idea.

Here, I will list the adaptogens that are considered more beneficial and suitable to work with CBD.


Ashwagandha is a popular Indian herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine.

The Ashwagandha root resembles the scent of horse sweat, and in Sanskrit, “ashwagandha” literally translates to “smell of the horse.”


Ashwagandha is also called the “Indian Ginseng” because like Asian Ginseng, it has rejuvenating properties and is used to help increase energy, endurance, and stamina, and strengthen the immune system. But these two herbs are botanically unrelated.

This one is a multitasking herb that acts on different systems of your body: the neurological system, the immune system, the energy-production system, the endocrinal system, and the reproductive system.

Ashwagandha root is used to relieve stress and anxiety, improve brain function and alertness, and reduce pain and swelling. It can also be used as an adaptogen to improve overall homeostasis—your body’s mechanism that keeps everything in balance.

This powerful herb has a long list of proven therapeutic benefits, including…

  • Acts as an anti-depressant
  • Antioxidant
  • Increases male fertility
  • Improved sexual health for both sexes
  • Anti-cancer
  • Neuroprotective properties
  • Anti-cholesterol
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Muscle development and reduction of body fat
  • Anti-cortisol


Ashwagandha and CBD are both extremely effective stress relievers that work in two different ways to manage anxiety and reduce stress levels.

Ashwagandha works through a special system, called the “hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis” (HPA axis). In other words, it helps the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands communicate effectively.

Your HPA plays a central role in your response to physical and mental stressors and, therefore, in anxiety. Thanks to its role in HPA modulation, this herb can sustain homeostasis by maintaining the balance between stress hormones.


CBD, on the other hand, interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), to nourish and support the adrenal glands. CBD interferes with the secretion of stress hormones, and helps the body to balance out, thus handling stress better.

The gist of CBD’s usefulness is that it calms down your entire system. When hormones are balanced, your risk of getting sick is decreased as a result of reduced stress. 

CBD also works in the different parts of the brain where anxiety starts—limbic and frontal regions—and helps you release your anxiety triggers. 

Holy Basil

This isn’t the basil you find in your favorite pasta dish! Holy basil is a plant found in India and is an ancient herb that is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s known as “Tulsi” in Hindi, which translates to “the incomparable one.”

Ayurvedic practitioners classified holy basil as an adaptogen that could counter life stresses and alleviate inflammation, pain, and anxiety.

Its peppery taste has made it a popular ingredient in spicy soups and stir-frying, and most of its therapeutic characteristics match those found in CBD.


There’s evidence that Holy Basil can address psychological, metabolic, chemical, and physical stress with a unique combination of pharmacological actions.

These pharmacological actions are so varied and wide that it’s obvious why holy basil was referred to as “The Incomparable One,” “The Mother of Medicine,” “The Liquid Yoga,” and the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine.

Using holy basil daily has been shown to…

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Fight inflammation
  • Protect against infections
  • Reduce your bad cholesterol
  • Help reduce your blood sugar
  • Promote wellbeing and longevity
  • Can protect your stomach lining
  • Enhance glowing complexions
  • Foster stamina
  • Promotes restful sleep


Research has found that, like CBD, holy basil exhibits an extensive range of beneficial actions that include being an anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and antioxidant.

Holy basil, same as CBD, is a high-performing stress reducer that alleviate stress by helping your body to turn off the amygdala—the stress alarm that activates your fight-or-flight response.

Both holy basil and CBD reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, to promote calmness, healthy sleep, and muscle recovery in high-performance athletic training. This powerful team has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties comparable to diazepam and other antidepressant drugs.


Rhodiola is also called the “artic root” or “golden root.” It’s a popular adaptogen used for increasing mental and physical stamina.

It grows in high altitudes and can be found in the mountainous regions of grows in Europe, Asia, and part of the Arctic. For centuries, the health benefits of Rhodiola have been recognized for traditional Chinese healers, but modern science is only now catching up with its wide range of health properties.


One unique quality of Rhodiola is that it doesn’t work in just one direction; it can activate and calm your brain at the same time. Rhodiola not only calms your emotions but also supports cellular energy metabolism and positively energizes brain function.

The main health benefits offered by Rhodiola:

  • Treats depression
  • Reduces cognitive fatigue
  • Lowers stress and anxiety
  • Improves concentration and mental performance
  • Minimizes drug-withdrawal symptoms
  • Promotes neurogenesis
  • Can improve exercise performance
  • May have anticancer properties


CBD and Rhodiola can help treat depression, they both work as antidepressants and may positively impact neurotransmitters that affect your emotions. They’re both safe with a lower risk of side effects than prescription drugs.

Rhodiola has been used as an adaptogen for centuries—a natural herb that supports a healthy stress response. CBD can reduce stress by nourishing the adrenal glands, limiting the production of stress hormones that lead to the burnout feeling.

This powerful team can help with stress symptoms like anxiety, exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout.

Research is still young, but Rhodiola has demonstrated a remarkable ability to reduce anxiety and over-reactivity and holds promise to treat mild to moderate anxiety disorders.

CBD is known for its anxiolytic effects; it helps boost mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like anandamide, serotonin, and GABA in your brain. Pairing it with Rhodiola could be a great add-on to your anti-anxiety routine.

Both CBD and Rhodiola have been shown neuroprotective properties and improve restful sleep.



L-Theanine or Theanine is an amino acid that is found in black and green tea and is known to boost mood and promotes relaxation without any drowsiness.

Consuming L-Theanine will give you a happier, calmer, and more relaxed disposition. It acts as a calming agent and allows you to focus attention on things without getting overwhelmed or stressed out.


Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of L-Theanine, and even the FDA recognizes L-Theanine to be a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) supplement.

Some of the health benefits attributed to L-Theanine:

  • Improves sleep
  • Boosts immune function
  • Increases alpha brain waves
  • Control blood pressure
  • May help treat cancer and tumors
  • Helps reduce anxiety


L-Theanine blocks glutamate receptors in the brain that decrease glutamate levels. Glutamate is an “excitatory” neurotransmitter. High levels of glutamate have been linked to several neurological diseases.

CBD, on the other hand, works on the GABA receptors. GABA is the calming agent in your brain. This team works synergistically to keep GABA and glutamate levels in check promoting a calmed and composed state of mind.


If Ashwagandha is the “Indian Ginseng”—Eleuthero is the “Siberian Ginseng” that has been used in Chinese medicine for muscle spasms, joint pain, insomnia, and fatigue.

In Western herbal medicine, it is used to increase nervous system function and better handle stress. It’s also a known general supplement and immune-system booster.

Eleuthero is found commonly in North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, and north and southeastern China.


Numerous studies have outlined that Eleuthero may be used as a management or preventive medication for progressive neurological conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s evidence showing that Eleuthero can help regenerate damaged nerves and also help in the formation of new synapses.

Other health benefits of Eleuthero:

  • Boosts energy levels
  • May improve or speed up the healing process
  • Prevents the formation of ulcers
  • Increases muscle and bone strength
  • Lessens the effects of estrogen withdrawal in menopausal women
  • Improves the lymphatic function
  • Reduces insulin resistance
  • May have anticancer or anti-tumor properties


Both CBD and Eleuthero have shown neuroprotective properties that may increase blood flow to your brain, improving memory and concentration.

This is the reason why they both are the target for new pharmacology approaches to treat progressive neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.


For thousands of years, Ginseng has been one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world.

Ginseng refers to 11 varieties of plants that are believed to help the body resist stress and influence metabolism within individual cells.

Ginseng contains natural antioxidant compounds called “ginsenosides.” These compounds have multiple pharmacological effects.


Ginseng is believed to provide a host of benefits, including:

  • Improves thinking processes and cognition
  • Boosts energy
  • Reduces stress
  • Can reduce inflammation
  • Reduces cholesterol levels
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Helps treat diabetes
  • Manages sexual dysfunction in men
  • Promotes longevity
  • Enhances the growth of normal cells


Ginseng is involved in adjusting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and controlling the hormonal changes caused by stress. Ginseng also prevents stress-associated physiological diseases like anxiety and depression.

Pairing ginseng with CBD might be the trick you need to fight the burdens of anxiety, chronic pain, or depression.

Final Words

If you’ve gone through the entire article, you would have come across some useful information that you can use as reference to manage stress and anxiety, with natural herbs and CBD.

It’s important to note that both adaptogens and CBD may interact with some drugs and also present contraindications for certain conditions.

So, consulting with your physician before starting supplementing with these compounds is a must.

Good luck on your journey fighting stress and anxiety.