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CBD Oil for Depression: How Useful Is it?

Unfortunately, mental illness still carries a stigma. If you have depression or another similar disorder, one of the concerns is how others will perceive you. Not only that, but the side effects caused by some antidepressants leave much to do desired. That’s why there is a trend towards using CBD for depression. If you have the condition, it is essential to remember that you’re not alone.

Back in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that around 300 million people have the condition globally. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 17.3 million American adults experienced a ‘depressive episode’ at least once in the past year. Approximately half of all adults with depression also receive an anxiety disorder diagnosis.

The CBD oil depression phenomenon is partly down to side effects from using traditional medication. Others use CBD oil for depression because they believe it really helps. Let’s explore the truth in this article.

What Is Depression?

The word ‘depression’ is often incorrectly used to describe an array of symptoms such as irritability and sadness. However, severe depression only occurs when symptoms reach a certain threshold. You enter the zone of clinical depression when your level of distress negatively impacts daily functioning. Many people feel ‘down’ or sad, but they can still perform everyday tasks.

When you are depressed, you experience diminished interest in things you used to like. It takes a stranglehold, and you require help to get through it. If left untreated, a major depressive disorder could cause an individual to consider suicide.

The Types of Depression

Depression comes in many forms, and most researchers divide it into seven types.

1 – Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

This is typically the term given to clinical depression. This mood disorder features symptoms such as fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. You are diagnosed with MDD if you have most symptoms for at least two weeks.

2 – Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

Also known as dysthymia, PDD is a form of chronic depression. You receive a diagnosis of PDD if you have symptoms more often than you don’t, over the course of two years. These symptoms include low self-esteem, anger & irritability, and lack of energy. There are brief periods when you feel ‘okay.’ However, this relief seldom lasts for more than a few weeks.

3 – Bipolar Disorder

This disorder includes spells of abnormally heightened mood called ‘mania.’ Mild spells are called hypomania. Severe periods can impact your sense of reality, or require a visit to a hospital. Symptoms include unexplained aches, hopelessness, and indecision. People with bipolar disorder are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

4 – Postpartum Depression (PPD)

PPD occurs after giving birth to a child. While the ‘baby blues’ is standard for up to two weeks after birth, PPD persists. Symptoms include severe mood swings, social withdrawal, and thoughts of suicide. The condition can last for at least 12 months if left untreated.

5 – Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of post menstrual syndrome (PMS). These include food cravings, extreme fatigue, and feelings of stress. If you have PMDD, however, you feel far more irritable and experience more significant mood swings than someone with PMS.

6 – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD impacts people severely during the winter period. Experts believe you get SAD due to the triggering of a disturbance in your normal circadian rhythm. Light entering the eyes impacts the rhythm. Therefore, a seasonal variation in a day/night pattern causes issues leading to depression. Believe it or not, light therapy is a relatively effective form of treatment.

7 – Atypical Depression

This condition involves experiencing the usual signs of depression, such as weight gain and excessive sleep. However, individuals with this issue feel much better when faced with a positive event. Other symptoms include extreme sensitivity to rejection and strongly reactive moods.

Signs of Depression

The National Institute of Mental Health lists a long line of possible symptoms of depression. They vary depending on the ‘type’ of depression. However, you potentially have a form of the condition if you experience some of the following almost daily for at least 14 days:

  • Irritability
  • Persistent feeling of anxiousness, sadness, or hopelessness
  • Weight or appetite changes
  • Loss of interest in activities you usually like doing
  • Fatigue
  • Talking or moving more slowly than usual
  • Problems concentrating
  • Difficulties getting to sleep or waking up
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Pains and aches with no apparent physical cause

Causes of Depression

Another issue with depression diagnosis is that there are so many potential causes. Here is a brief overview:

  • Loss: A tragic event, such as a loved one dying, always causes sadness. Such an issue also increases the risk of a depression diagnosis. Believe it or not, a ‘positive’ event such as marriage or graduation can lead to depression. One thing worth remembering is that clinical depression is not a ‘normal’ response to any stressful event.
  • Abuse: Individuals who suffer physical, sexual, or emotional abuse are more vulnerable to depression.
  • Certain Medications: Drugs such as blood pressure medication or sleeping pills increase the risk. Other drugs in this category include beta-blockers, stimulants, and benzodiazepines.
  • Conflict & Stress: Stressful life events can cause depression if they overwhelm an individual’s capacity to cope. High levels of cortisol could negatively impact the neurotransmitter serotonin and heighten the likelihood of depression.
  • Genetics: You are more likely to have depression if a family member has it or another mood disorder. Experts believe depression is up to 40% determined by genetics.
  • Personal Issues: If a group or family casts you out, your chances of depression increase. LGBT individuals are also more likely to have depression than others. This is perhaps due to an adverse societal reaction, or the perception of one.
  • Serious Illnesses: A depressive episode is more likely to affect people with chronic pain, cancer, or heart disease.
  • Substance Abuse: There is a strong link between excessive alcohol or drug intake and depression. An estimated 30% of people with a substance abuse problem also have a form of depression.

Depression Treatment

Pharmacological treatment, such as the use of antidepressants is a standard therapeutic method. There are several pharmaceutical options including:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Atypical Antidepressants
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants

It takes patience and time to find the right drug for you and there is a decent chance that one which works for a family member is effective on you. Beware the numerous side effects associated with antidepressants in particular. Stopping them abruptly can lead to severe headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Individuals under the age of 25 are at greatest risk of suicidal thoughts during the first few weeks on antidepressants.

There are also seven recognized forms of psychotherapy:

  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Social Skills Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Supportive Counseling
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Supportive Counseling
  • Problem-Solving Therapy

Other options include Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Both are usually for patients that do not respond well to antidepressants. CBD for depression is emerging as a way to manage the symptoms of the condition.

CBD Oil for Depression

There is a suggestion that CBD has an antidepressant effect due to its positive impact on the brain’s serotonin receptors. There is a link between low levels of serotonin and depression. While CBD doesn’t directly increase serotonin, it can impact how the brain’s chemical receptors react to the serotonin already in your system.

A study by Crippa et al., published in Frontiers in Immunology in 2018, looked at cannabidiol’s ability to help patients with specific clinical conditions. The researchers found that the compound has neuroprotective and antipsychotic properties. It also mentioned CBD for depression, along with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and schizophrenia.

A study by Viar Fogaca et al., published in Current Neuropharmacology in May 2013, looked at a possible link between cannabinoids, neurogenesis, and antidepressants. The researchers suggested that cannabinoids could regulate anxiety and depressive symptoms similarly to antidepressants.

A study by Sales et al., published in Molecular Neurobiology in February 2019, investigated CBD’s possible antidepressant effects. The test subjects on this occasion were Swiss mice. The researchers found that a single dose of CBD dose-dependently induced an antidepressant-like effect in the mice. The effect lasted for up to seven days after treatment and impacted the mice quickly.

But there is still not enough research conducted on humans to know exactly if CBD can be effective. Be wary when using CBD oil and SSRIs together. Cannabidiol inhibits the system that metabolizes a lot of SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants. In theory, CBD could interfere with how your body metabolizes certain medications.

How to Use CBD for Depression

Figuring out the correct dosage of CBD depends on a variety of factors, including your weight and rate of metabolism. The most sensible course of action is to begin with a small dose and work your way up. There are also several methods of consumption:

  • Oral CBD, which includes sprays, oils, and tinctures. These are easy to consume but don’t have a high absorption rate.
  • CBD edibles also fall under the ‘oral’ category. There is CBD-infused food and drink widely available.
  • Vaping CBD provides a fast effect and a high bioavailability.
  • Topical CBD includes creams and balms that you rub into the skin. However, topicals are considered to work best for pain rather than anxiety or depression.

Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Depression

There is some concern about an industry that remains unregulated. When purchasing CBD for depression, stick with the tried and trusted brands we feature at Natural Wellness. Do not consider doing business with any company that doesn’t provide third-party lab reports. We have heard disturbing stories about CBD products that don’t contain the listed level of cannabinoids.

If you have an MMJ card, you can purchase CBD derived from marijuana. Otherwise, stick with cannabidiol from hemp that contains a maximum of 0.3% THC. There are limited studies on CBD oil for depression present. However, the legalization of hemp cultivation may help researchers receive more funding soon. Research to date suggests that cannabidiol is safe to use with a handful of non-serious side effects. But, it will take many years for us to learn more, however.

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Tonya Tran

I am a student studying third year in medicine, and I am not very sure of things like CBD and all, that these can help in medical conditions. I think these can act as boosters or catalysts, but if you are looking for a cure, go for allopathy. CBD might be able to help, but the effect would vary from person to person and from condition to condition.

Gertrude Franklin

CBD is great for depression. At least I have to take less medicine, since I started taking CBD tincture from Purekana. It tends to uplift my mood, and I no more have panic attacks that frequently, as they used to be before.


I have a 90 year old father who suffers from a multitude of conditions; however, he is still able to function. He is currently suffering from lack or desire to eat food and depression. Is there a CBD that you would recommend?

Troy Washington
Reply to  gmt

I would say try CBD, start with about 5 drops daily of the 100 mg CBD Pure Bottle, and microdose from their own.