- Role and Function of Endocannabinoid System in Major Depressive Disease
- Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
- Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
- Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders
- Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature
- Cannabidiol (CBD) use in psychiatric disorders: A systematic review
- Overview of cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogues: Structures, biological activities, and neuroprotective mechanisms in epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease
- In vivo Evidence for Therapeutic Properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer's Disease
The Vicious Cycle of Stress, Anxiety, and Lack of Sleep
All of us have had to deal with anxiety and sleep problems before, some more severely and frequently than others depending on genetic and environmental factors. However, these are symptoms that can manifest in anyone, especially during periods of heightened stress from work, school, or family life.
Elevated levels of stress hormones don’t just compromise your mental health, but can also negatively affect your physiological health - including your immunity and cognition (ability to think clearly and learn). Thankfully, there are many effective ways to naturally reduce stress levels including exercise, meditation, social interaction, and herbal supplements.
Herbal Remedies for Stress
Many people are turning away from pharmaceutical drugs, which often have undesirable side effects, and looking for natural solutions to help their daily stress and anxiety. Some of today’s most popular herbal supplements for anxiety and sleep have actually been used since ancient times. Traditional medicine practices across the world have utilized herbal extracts with adaptogenic compounds, which increase our body’s resilience and ability to recover from physical or emotional stress.
In this article, we will focus on 3 supplements that have compelling research data to back up their health benefits and safety: CBD, Lion's Mane extract, and L-theanine. These are some of the most well-known and beloved supplements in the herbal wellness community, and their benefits for anxiety and sleep can synergize when taken together - which is why we've combined them together in Mind Unwind.
A 3-Pronged Approach to Managing Stress and Anxiety
CBD, Lion’s Mane, and L-theanine have all demonstrated the ability to reduce stress and anxiety, and even depressive symptoms when studied in patients in small clinical studies. They each have a unique but complementary set of biological mechanisms to achieve this.
CBD can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and rebalance stress hormone levels by interacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates a wide range of physiological and emotional functions. It can also stimulate serotonin receptors in your brain which help to regulate your mood.
Lion's Mane increases the production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which help protect and maintain healthy brain cells and nervous system. Both BDNF and NGF levels are also associated with stress response sensitivity.
L-theanine increases the levels of a neurotransmitter known as GABA, which is calming and inhibits over-excitation in your brain. It can also increase the level of serotonin, known as the “happy” neurotransmitter.
While the above represents an oversimplification of the highly complex biology, the takeaway is that taking CBD, Lion’s Mane, and L-theanine together can help maximize the overall effects on stress and anxiety in a synergistic manner. This is similar to the concept of “combination therapy” used by Oncologists to fight cancer, in which multiple medications are administered at the same time for a more powerful effect.
Improved Sleep with CBD, Lion’s Mane, and L-theanine
Poor sleep can be caused by many things, but the most common reasons are stress and anxiety. While all three of these supplements can improve sleep by reducing stress and anxiety, research has also demonstrated the effects they can have on improving sleep go even further than that!
The beneficial effects on sleep include decreased time to fall asleep, improved sleep quality and satisfaction, and increased REM sleep - which is the “dream” phase of your sleep that is critical for memory formation and strengthening brain connections that are important for mental and overall well-being and health.
Healing the Brain From Elevated Stress
Most people have probably experienced reduced cognitive performance when feeling nervous or if they didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Sleep is crucial for learning and memory formation. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation can also reduce brain and whole body immunity and increase inflammation.
Fortunately, the brain is capable of healing itself and herbal supplements can boost these natural healing abilities. There is growing evidence in the scientific community that CBD, Lion’s Mane, and L-theanine all exhibit neuroprotective properties - meaning they help keep our brain cells alive, healthy, and thriving. In fact, all three compounds are listed as beneficial brain supplements by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. Both Lion's Mane and L-theanine are also commonly taken as nootropics (cognition boosting supplements) for focus and productivity. Pre-clinical studies show that Lion’s Mane may also increase neurogenesis (new brain cell formation) and help with long-term improvements in cognition and memory.
CBD, Lion’s Mane, and L-theanine - Should I Take All 3?
We certainly think so! Each has wide-ranging benefits for your health even beyond what’s been discussed above. Stacking these supplements can provide synergistic benefits that could maximize their individual effects.
CBD Research Publications
Lion's Mane Research Publications
- Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds
- Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain
- Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake
- Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?
- The effects of Hericium erinaceus on sleep quality and subjective well-being among female undergraduate students: A pilot study
- Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines
- Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging
- The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model
- Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder
- Prevention of Early Alzheimer’s Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study
L-theanine Research Publications
- The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review
- L-theanine, unique amino acid of tea, and its metabolism, health effects, and safety
- GABA and l-theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep
- Psychotropic effects of L-theanine and its clinical properties: From the management of anxiety and stress to a potential use in schizophrenia
- Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid
- L-theanine partially counteracts caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rats
- Neuroprotective attributes of L-theanine, a bioactive amino acid of tea, and its potential role in Parkinson's disease therapeutics
- The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent
- L-Theanine Attenuates Isoflurane-Induced Injury in Neural Stem Cells and Cognitive Impairment in Neonatal Mice
- l-Theanine protects against excess dopamine-induced neurotoxicity in the presence of astrocytes
- A Focus on the Effect of L-Theanine on Improving Depression and Cognition in C57BL/J Male Mice Subjected for Chronic Stress Induced Neuroinflammation