Hemp ~ The Natural Way To Reduce Cortisol


Physical and emotional stress cause cortisol levels to rise in the body. It is an important hormone and helps regulate insulin, blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory responses, and glucose metabolism.

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and is often known as the ‘stress hormone.’ It is beneficial when a sudden burst of energy is needed (for example, in a ‘fight or flight’ situation), helping memory, or giving the immune system a boost.

Constant high levels of cortisol, however, are NOT beneficial. When cortisol secretions remain at unsafe levels they can cause many complications (for example, in situations of chronic stress):

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss of collagen
  • Increased gastric acid
  • Counteracts insulin and elevates blood glucose levels (excess cortisol may be a factor in appearance of diabetes)
  • Blocks cells from producing chemicals that regulate immunity
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Impaired cognition
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Inhibits reproductive system

In the case of chronic stress, the body is not allowed to go back to the normal, relaxed stage; this results in constant high levels of cortisol.

There are many stress management techniques that can be implemented:

Removing the stressors

Learning to adapt to the stressors

Spend more time in nature

Adopt a healthy lifestyle – this includes exercise, sufficient sleep, avoiding excessive caffeine/sugar and intake of sufficient nutrients.

Nutrition has been known to play a large part in helping the body stay at optimum healthy levels – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some of the most important nutrients are Omega Fatty Acids.

Omega fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They also help the central nervous system. One way they do that is by ‘feeding’ the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves (myelin sheaths are high in fatty acids), and Omega fatty acids are known to, to some extent, repair the myelin sheaths. Myelin sheath damage and degeneration is what causes MS, or Multiple Sclerosis.

Omega fatty acids also aid with those suffering from depressions and Alzheimers. Omega fatty acids nourish and soothe the cells, and because they are anti-inflammatory, they may help decrease the effects from chronic stress.

Hempseed and hempseed oil are one of the best sources of Omega fatty acids. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body. Hemp has a high concentration of fats, but they are GOOD fats. Not only is it rich in Omega fatty acids, it is also very nutrient dense – hemp is a complete protein and has vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

Hemp, combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, is a great way to reduce cortisol…and avoid the problems that arise with elevated cortisol levels.

Industrial Hemp For The Prevention And Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


According to the PTSD Alliance, more than 13 million Americans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (approximately 5 percent of the population).

PTSD (also known as ‘battle fatigue’ or ‘shellshock’) is a severe anxiety disorder. One definition describes PTSD as the invasive recall of the traumatic event/s.

It is characterized by numerous symptoms :

  • Flashbacks of the experience
  • Nightmares/night terrors
  • Phobias
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anger
  • Hypervigilance
  • Easily startled
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Disconnection
  • Avoiding things that are reminders of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Guilt/shame
  • Feeling alienated
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

PTSD can be caused by many factors, such as experiencing or witnessing :

  • Combat/military warfare
  • Death
  • Threat of death
  • Car accidents
  • Sexual/physical/emotional abuse
  • Natural disasters

PTSD has to do with the way the memory stores information, especially traumatic information that is experienced, witnessed, or heard. It also had to do with the overactive adrenalin response to the situation, in turn creating a chemical imbalance in the brain. According to Japanese researcher Yutaka Matsuoka,

“Under the current view, recent memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before being consolidated into parts of the prefrontal cortex. An important distinction is that the hippocampus seems to be sensitive to fear responses while the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with executive function and higher reasoning, is not.

If stress-hyped memories in the hippocampus could be toned down before consolidation, chances of developing PTSD might also go down.”

PTSD may alter 3 areas of the brain : the hippocampus, the amygdala, and pre-frontal cortex. The amygdala are deep in the temporal lobes of the brain and are vital in processing emotions with memory. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is continuously creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), and it’s function is memory retention and processing of memories. Because the hippocampus is constantly growing new cells, it is understood that it is the ‘clearinghouse’, by replacing the old ‘memory’ cells with the new ones.

It has been shown that Omega fatty acids (specifically Omega 3) are important in brain health. This is where the hemp comes into play. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body, AND the brain. The brain has a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency in the Omega 3 fatty acids, brain-related disorders may occur. In the case of PTSD, the Omega 3 fatty acids help aid the hippocampus by increasing neurogenesis (creation of new cells). Omega 3s also help strengthen and protect the cells.

~ On a personal note : having been diagnosed as having severe PTSD in the past, I do notice that when I am eating hemp and hemp-based products I sleep better, am less anxious, and tend to startle less easily, as well as have lower incidences of migraines and flashbacks. ~

It is possible that a diet rich hemp and Omega fatty acids may decrease the incidence of PTSD, as well as help in the treatment of PTSD.

*Nutrition is only ONE aspect of treatment for PTSD and in no way is it intended to completely replace other treatments, (especially in severe cases of PTSD), including prescribed medications and counseling. While some may be hesitant to take medication, it is sometimes needed, even temporarily, to help get the the brain chemicals back in balance.

**The information in this article is from my own personal reading and research and is NOT intended to be medical advice. It is for informational purposes only. I do NOT  recommend going off prescribed medications and using hemp products to replace them. If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.