CBD & Depression
Depression is a mood disorder that affects one in fifteen adults every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America¹. If you are struggling with depression, we urge you to seek support.
If you are looking for alternatives for helping manage depression-like symptoms, CBD may be an answer. Early research shows that CBD may be a great addition for ongoing depression. So, follow along in this article to understand more about how using CBD could benefit your mental health!
Depression is a mental health disorder that can be the result of many factors including, a person’s brain chemistry, environment, genetics, or personality. Depression can be an extremely difficult disease to manage, as it has an intense impact on the body and mind. Fortunately, by using CBD combined with other approaches, it is possible to address the symptoms associated with the disorder.
Symptoms of depression are wide-ranging, but may include:
- Loss of interest in activities
- Changes in appetite
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling sad, or having a depressed mood
In order to be diagnosed, these symptoms must last for at least two weeks. There are no cures for depression. But, there are existing traditional options for depression, the most common include cognitive behavioral therapy and/or pharmaceutical medication. CBD is seen as a new option that could also be helpful in addressing some of the symptoms associated with depression.
Simplified Science of How CBD Helps Depression
CBD works with the brain’s serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a mood stabilizing chemical that impacts our emotions. Low levels of serotonin have been shown to contribute to depression. However, CBD has been shown to increase levels of serotonin² in the brain. Scientists believe this could be a key way CBD has the potential to relieve certain depression symptoms.
CBD also works with the natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies. This system helps to regulate functions directly related to depression such as mood, sleep, stress, appetite, pleasure, in addition to inflammation and pain. With such a wide range of regulatory functions, the ECS can address the symptoms of depression in a variety of ways. The exact way CBD interacts with the ECS system to reduce depression is still being explored by scientists. One study believes it is due to CBD binding to certain receptors in the ECS system³ and regulating their interaction with other chemicals in the body.
As CBD becomes more popular, more scientific research⁴ is being conducted to understand exactly how CBD impacts the brain and body through the ECS.
The Evidence For Using CBD For Depression
In research studies, CBD has been effective in helping to relieve depression. In one 2018 study, in particular, animal models were given doses of CBD 24 hours before testing, and this had a rapid antidepressant effect lasting up to one week. This would be a drastic change as most current pharmaceutical anti-depressants do not have nearly as immediate of an effect on depressive symptoms.
Additionally, studies have shown⁵ that when CBD is used in combination with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a common type of anti-depressive medication, it increased the effectiveness in relieving depression!
CBD vs. Pharmaceutical Depression Medications
Pharmaceutical SSRIs such as Zoloft or Paxil, are commonly prescribed as antidepressant medications. Research has shown that both CBD and SSRIs work with receptors in the brain that influence serotonin. SSRIs are reported to have a period of 4-8 weeks before the body fully responds. On the other hand, CBD demonstrates a potential for rapid impact on serotonin and depression symptoms.
Another benefit of CBD is that it may have fewer and far less severe side effects than its drug counterparts. A 2017 scientific review of CBD⁶ studies states, “In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of select medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile. This could improve patients’ compliance and adherence to treatment.”
As a result, many people see an opportunity for CBD to work together with SSRIs to relieve symptoms of depression, or as an alternative.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Depression
As CBD and natural options become more popular, research increases. Many clinical studies have been conducted on CBD for mental health conditions, such as those related to anxiety or psychosis. For now, there is evidence to claim that CBD has a potentially positive influence on depression. It may also help regulate symptoms, and improve your overall mental health.
Using & Taking CBD
There have been over 50 published human clinical studies on CBD’s effect on mental health. The majority of these studies have focused on CBD and anxiety, stress, and psychosis symptoms. But, extensive research focused on CBD for depression is expected to be published and met with great anticipation in 2019.
Now, you may be interested to find out how to add CBD to your daily routine. One of the fast acting and effective ways to get CBD is with CBD oil products. To take it, simply put a few CBD oil drops under your tongue or add a bit of CBD oil to a smoothie or food. You could also get CBD from a topical lotion cream that you rub on your skin or eat a premade edible. Feel free to experiment with what method works best for you!