A growing body of research reveals the potential health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), which include treating and overcoming depression. Experts believe that CBD’s potential benefits for depression may be related to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. So, can CBD help you overcome depression?
Doctors commonly prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to help patients treat or manage depression. However, many of these drugs have troublesome side effects, such as mood swings, sleeplessness, and sexual dysfunction.
CBD shows promise in initial studies as a treatment for both depression and anxiety (the two often go hand in hand), and it may cause fewer side effects in some people. Decades of research have concluded that, at a moderate dose, CBD can have numerous health benefits.
What is CBD?
CBD is a natural, non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant and industrial hemp. CBD is one of more than 100 compounds called cannabinoids. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), cannabidiol doesn’t generate psychoactive effects on the brain and does not produce euphoria or the “high” associated with THC.
CBD oil, hemp oil, and other cannabidiol-based products are available in most countries around the world – even countries where both medical and recreational marijuana is illegal. Many depression and anxiety sufferers use CBD oil to sleep better and alleviate the constant stream of worry-filled thoughts associated with these conditions. Hemp oil may not be as efficacious as CBD otherwise derived from marijuana. Insight Life Care strives to procure the best quality, controlled, and standardized products for sale to our clientele, available right in our office without a prescription or an appointment.
What is Depression?
Moments of sadness or feeling stuck are a part of life. However, most people usually find the strength to overcome and move on. When sadness takes hold of one’s life with no end in sight, it can morph into depression, a disorder that can harm both mind and body.
Depression is a diagnosed medical condition associated with specific symptoms, including:
- A persistent feeling of sadness that is hard to shake
- Lack of interest in activities
- Chronic stressing
- Over-evaluation of self (that can lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts)
Depression does not discriminate among age and affects almost 300 million people globally; a number that could be much higher as many people avoid diagnosis or treatment due to social stigma.
How Does CBD Help with Depression?
CBD recently gained FDA approval as a cannabis-derived drug to treat epileptic seizures. According to researchers, the primary reason it works for seizures is that CBD protects neurons in the hippocampus — the precise area of the brain that atrophies in depressed people — and there’s compelling evidence from both animal and human research to support this claim:
- Rodent evidence: In epileptic rats, CBD treatments reduce neuron atrophy and death in the hippocampus
- Human evidence: Like depressed people, chronic users of THC tend to have a smaller hippocampus, but CBD helps prevent this shrinking
Cannabidiols present in cannabis, such as CBD, are capable of interacting with the CB receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Upon consumption of CBD, the cannabidiols bind with the receptors to control the chemicals in the body. This interaction induces secretion of a chemical called serotonin, which, in turn, causes mood elevation and euphoria.
Serotonin, sometimes called the happy chemical, impacts an array of functions in the body, including a person’s emotional state and feelings of well-being or happiness. Keeping serotonin levels balanced is often an essential therapy for people with depression and plays a significant role in mood disorders. In the right dose, CBD can elevate mood, relax the body, and uplift one’s spirits without disturbing the mental balance.
Additional studies affirm that CBD may improve sleep and anxiety and can even offer a safe treatment for anxiety and insomnia associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, a 2018 review of existing studies concludes that CBD has anti-stress effects, which may reduce depression related to stress.
A Safe and Natural Alternative to Treat Depression
CBD is a potent natural compound that is gaining popularity as an alternative medical treatment for depression and anxiety. However, treating and recovering from depression is highly individual — and the best results come with a combination of approaches, including lifestyle changes, self-care programs, and consulting with one’s physician.
While promising evidence for the use of CBD as an antidepressant exists, anyone interested in using CBD for depression or anxiety should speak to their doctor about how to use it and evaluate the risk of interactions with other medications.
As researchers begin to understand CBD and its potential benefits or concerns better, information about how to most effectively use the product will continue to evolve.