To ace your interview, you need to be calm and confident. With CBD shown to reduce anxious feelings, are there benefits to using CBD before a job interview? Let's find out.
The power of CBD
CBD is a substance that is extracted from the hemp plant. It is one of 100 active “cannabinoids” found in the plant, but is actually one of the very most abundant – accounting for 40% of the extract from the plant. CBD does not make you high and has no harmful effects (that’s THC – an entirely different compound found in the plant). It’s also completely legal in most territories. However, by acting on the “endocannabinoid system” in the body, it is able to produce a number of amazing benefits – including a sense of relaxing calm.
CBD has a number of miraculous benefits and has quickly gained a huge amount of popularity as an analgesic, an anti-stress supplement, and an all-round health panacea.
We’re only now just discovering some of the incredible ways that CBD oil can help to make us smarter, happier, healthier, and generally more successful. So what about a job interview? Are there any benefits to using cannabidiol to calm interview nerves?
Normally, before we go into an interview, we might find ourselves feeling rather stressed and anxious. This is normal. After all, there is a lot riding on the outcome of this interaction, and we feel as though we are about to be placed under a microscope for some intense scrutiny.
So what happens in the body? Essentially, our sympathetic nervous system will kick in and put us into the “fight or flight” mode.
Fight or flight is the state our body and brain goes into when it suspects there is danger. In response, it will produce an increased amount of stimulatory stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. It’s the adrenaline that might make you shake!
We tend to think of stress as a bad thing, but in fact in this acute manner, stress can actually be a very good thing – in the right circumstances.
In the wild for instance, you might find yourself faced with a predator. That predator might have threatened to harm or even kill you, and as such, you would enter this fight or flight state. The release of hormones would cause an increase in your heart rate. That would in turn allow more blood and oxygen to be delivered around your body, and to be more specifically directed to your muscles and your brain. That would make you stronger and more alert, while less time-sensitive systems like your digestive system and immune system would receive far less energy.
Meanwhile, your breathing would speed up, your veins and arteries would narrow (increasing blood pressure) and your blood would thicken (to encourage clotting should you be injured). Your senses would increase, and you’d become effectively “paranoid” as your mind started to race with the worst-case scenarios. Your vision would narrow, and your pupils would dilate. You’d be overcome by a sense of panic.
All this would help you to escape or overpower the animal staring you down. Great.
The problem is that in an interview, this extra energy and nervousness is not helpful. In fact, it will make you feel incredibly anxious and unable to fully concentrate on what the interviewer is saying. You’d appear clammy and sweaty, you’d look extremely nervous due to the shaking, and ultimately you would look like a far worse candidate for the job!
But it goes deeper.
That’s because, stress also affects the way your brain operates. Just as it will show preferential treatment to certain bodily functions and organs (muscles and brain over gut), it will also shut down certain brain regions. Specifically, stress has been shown to reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that helps you with logical thinking, long-term planning, social interaction… Essentially all of the “higher order” brain functions that we associate with being human!
And as you might have guessed, this can have serious negative consequences in a job interview setting where you’ll begin to stumble over your words and sound far less intelligent and rational.
This is the same thing happens when we go to give a speech on stage and then “choke.”
It has been described as a “self lobotomy.” Really not what we’re looking for!
Your brain on CBD
When you use CBD however, you will find that this transforms the way your brain functions and helps you to become calmer and more rational.
We know that CBD works by acting on the endocannabinoid system. What we don’t know is precisely how this affects the body in its entirety. However, through this mechanism, CBD is somehow able to elevate levels of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). In particular, it can increase a neurotransmitters called serotonin.
You might have heard of serotonin. This is what we know as the “feel good hormone” and it’s the same one released when you’re with friends, when you’ve just eaten a great meal, or when you’ve exercised. It’s what gets released when you feel warm and fuzzy.
Whereas cortisol and adrenaline are what we call “excitatory neurotransmitters” that increase activity throughout the brain, serotonin is an “inhibitory neurotransmitter” that reduces that firing. In fact, serotonin is used by the brain to create melatonin – the sleep hormone.
When you add serotonin to your diet then, you will find that it helps you to become calmer and less anxious. Those racing thoughts will stop, and the anxiety will reduce.
What’s more, is that serotonin can actually make you more creative. It does this by combating some of that “tunnel vision” that we associate with stress and focus, thereby allowing you to consider more disparate ideas and to make novel connections.
What does all this mean for you in an interview? It means that you become calmer and more confident. It means that you give off the impression that you actually want to be there and that you are happy to be speaking. And it means you’ll be more creative and better able to make jokes, think up smart answers to questions, etc.
Outside of the interview
While CBD is excellent for helping you to feel calmer and happier during an interview, it can also be a great tool for boosting your mood and helping you fight anxiety the rest of the time.
Because while stress and anxiety can have serious negative consequences in the short term – shutting down our higher-order cognitive functions and making us anxious and nervous – it can also have serious implications in the long term.
That’s because the stress response robs systems like our digestive system and our immune system of blood flow – sending it instead to the muscles and brain. That’s useful in a fight, but when that “stressor” is ever-present, it can result in a long-term subduing of those systems.
This is serious, because it means that we will be far more susceptible to illness, to heart and health issues, and more. Chronic stress as it is known can cause insomnia, depression, and a whole host of illnesses and health problems.
So instead of letting this stress control you, you should instead find ways to combat it. Meditation, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), and lifestyle interventions can all help. But if you want some immediate benefits, then CBD is a fantastic way to kickstart the transformation and become your best self!