Anxiety is a natural feeling. It's your brain's response to stress, which it uses to notify you of possible danger. Most people experience anxiety now and then, for example, before a test or an important work meeting. This is normal and healthy, but for some people, anxiety can be frequent and overwhelming.
In addition to unpleasant symptoms associated with anxiety, prolonged elevated levels of stress hormones have the potential to reduce your immunity and cognitive function, as well as impair your mental health. Fortunately, there are numerous natural methods to reduce stress, such as meditation, exercise and herbal supplements.
CBD, a cannabis derivative, has seen a phenomenal increase in popularity recently as more and more people lap up its extensive wellness benefits, including anxiety relief and better sleep. Lion’s mane, a type of medicinal mushroom, is also revered for its healing properties. The nutritional powerhouse looks set to take the health and wellbeing industry by storm with its power to lift the mood, ease stress and enhance cognitive function. So, which one should you take for anxiety relief; Lion’s mane or CBD oil? We’ll take a closer look at the two.
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom that is native to Europe, Asia and North America. The edible fungus has a unique appearance featuring long white spines and, according to science, contains a plethora of antioxidants and other health-enhancing substances. Lion’s mane mushroom (also known as bearded tooth fungus and mountain-priest mushroom) can be found in supplement form in many health stores in the UK.
What are the Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Studies have shown that Lion’s mane can help improve:
- Cognition and memory
- High cholesterol
To date, research on Lion’s mane’s precise effects on health is largely in the preclinical stages. However, the evidence so far shows promising results that are expected to be supported by clinical trials.
Does Lion’s Mane Get You High?
No, Lion’s mane won’t get you high. Psychedelic mushrooms contain a substance called psilocybin which is responsible for causing an altered state of mind. Lion’s mane mushroom does not contain psilocybin or any other psychoactive substances, therefore it will not get you high. Lion’s mane is also non-addictive.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Very few side effects have been reported following the consumption of Lion’s mane, but there have been some concerns about the use of the fungus in people with asthma or allergies. We recommend consulting with your GP before using Lion’s mane, especially if you have a history of asthma and/or allergies.
How Does Lion’s Mane Make You Feel?
Lion’s mane is famous for alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. With regular use, you are likely to feel like your mood is lifted and you’re more focused and clear-headed. Anecdotal reports of improved cognitive function and enhanced creativity are common.
How Quickly Does Lion’s Mane Work?
How quickly the effects of Lion’s mane are felt depends on the individual and may be affected by factors such as metabolism and body weight. Some people feel the effects within two weeks of taking the supplement regularly. If after a few weeks of use you do not notice any benefits, try increasing the dose gradually until you find what works for you.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid of the cannabis plant that has medicinal benefits. CBD is extracted from hemp; a plant of the cannabis family that has high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid associated with marijuana). It can be purchased from many health and wellbeing stores in a variety of formats including oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies and creams.
The Benefits of CBD
There are numerous reported health claims about CBD which are substantiated by preclinical evidence and anecdotal reports. These include:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Lifted mood
- Better sleep quality
- Increased focus and mental clarity
- Reduced pain and inflammation
- Hydrated skin
Similar to Lion’s mane, studies on CBD effects are still in the early stages, but the evidence so far shows highly promising results.
Does CBD Get You High?
No. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it cannot get you high. THC is the compound in cannabis that is responsible for the psychoactive effects. CBD does not interact with the brain in the same way that THC does.
CBD Side Effects
While CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people. If you experience any side effects after taking CBD, it’s advisable to stop using the product and consult your doctor. Side effects might include dry mouth, fatigue, nausea and appetite loss.
CBD has also been found to interact with some medications. Therefore, if you’re taking any prescription drugs, it’s important to check with your doctor before using CBD.
Lion’s Mane vs CBD: Which is Best for Anxiety?
Lion’s mane mushroom and CBD share similar well-being benefits including anxiety and stress relief. Based on scientific research so far, it’s too soon to tell whether one supplement has greater effects on mental health than the other. However, there is nothing to suggest that both Lion’s mane and CBD can’t be taken together – in fact, combining the two could even provide synergistic benefits that amplify their individual effects.
If you choose to use Lion’s mane and CBD together, we advise taking one supplement for a few weeks before gradually introducing the other. This enables any side effects to be attributed to the relevant substance and allows the body to slowly adjust.
If you prefer to take just one natural supplement for anxiety, we recommend you consider the specific benefits of both Lion’s mane and CBD and choose the substance that most suits your symptoms.
The Bottom Line
Studies show that both Lion’s mane mushroom and CBD can have a positive impact on anxiety symptoms. Lion’s mane can also help with depression, memory, cognition and immune support. CBD provides additional benefits such as better sleep quality, improved focus and reduced pain and inflammation. Lion’s mane and CBD may work synergistically when taken together, providing intensified effects on anxiety and stress.