Is CBD Effective For Depression? [Exploring What Works]
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 16.1 million American adults have had at least one depressive episode in 2015 which equates to 6.7% of adults. Major depression is one of the United States’ most common mental disorders, and it could lead to serious issues if left untreated.
For decades, people with depression have tried to work through it in therapy or else they have consumed large amounts of anti-depressants. The side effects associated with these pills means alternatives are actively being sought out. It’s no surprise to learn that CBD is becoming a popular medical treatment for depression in the 21st century.
Traditional Depression Treatments & Their Side Effects
Typical advice for people with depression includes trying to get more sleep, exercising more, getting better nutrition, interacting with more people and finding ways to reduce and manage stress. Talk therapy also plays a major role in recovery as you discuss the issues that are giving you the most problems. In therapy, you can learn to understand the patterns of your relationships, set healthy boundaries and find out how to handle life’s problems.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of people are reliant on anti-depressants. The American Medical Association (AMA) admitted that up to 1-in-6 American adults filled one or more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs in 2013. They published their report in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, and it was also published on NBC News.
Anti-depressants alter the balance of certain chemicals in your brain, but they can lead to side effects such as:
- Weight gain
Also, once you have been taking an anti-depressant for a certain period, you can’t simply go ‘off’ them or else you’ll suffer major side effects such as migraines. If you wish to stop taking anti-depressants, you have to ‘wean’ yourself off slowly.
How Can CBD Help With Depression
You probably know by now that the human endocannabinoid system contains receptors that respond specifically to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The main one is known as the CB1 receptor, and it is located throughout the nervous system and in the brain. As depression is clearly rooted in our nervous system and is typically related to a chemical imbalance in the brain, it’s clear that CBD’s ability to affect the nervous system gives it the potential to be an effective treatment for depression.
While most people with any knowledge of the cannabis plant are familiar with the psychoactive compound known as THC, far fewer individuals are aware of CBD which can comprise up to 40% of the plant’s cannabinoid content. CBD is non-psychoactive which means you can smoke it without worrying about getting ‘high’ or ‘stoned.’
The more research that is being conducted, the more obvious it is that CBD has an impact on various aspects of the body. It can potentially help with a myriad of medical conditions such as inflammation, pain, memory, mood, appetite, sleep, and the immune system.
The Research on CBD for Depression
Depression is one area where CBD research is expanding at a rapid rate. A 2014 study by de Mello Schier et al. looked at the anti-depressant and anxiolytic-like effects of CBD. It involved the use of animal subjects who were put through a series of scenarios including conflict tests, swim tests, and a maze. The animals treated with CBD displayed fewer instances of anxiety and depression when under this stress.
A 2011 study by Crippa et al. investigated the impact of CBD on ten people who had generalized social anxiety disorder. None of the patients had ever received CBD as a treatment, and they were given either 400mg of CBD or a placebo. The individuals who consumed the CBD exhibited a greater improvement in terms of dealing with their anxiety symptoms.
An exciting study relating to the impact of CBD on young people with anxiety and depression began in June 2017. It is the first trial of its kind and focuses on people aged 12-25 who suffer from anxiety disorder and other mental health problems. Not only will the CBD they use not cause them to get ‘stoned,’ but it will also ensure they remain more vibrant and clear of mind than they would when using a cocktail of anti-depressants.
There is a myriad of reasons why CBD is potentially effective when helping people with depression but it will take years of further research to prove it. Older research had suggested that since THC and CBD affect specific receptors in the amygdala (better known as the ‘fight or flight’ response part of the brain), CBD is capable of making that part of the brain less prone to stress.
There is also the likelihood that CBD impacts the levels of serotonin in the body. Our body naturally produces serotonin, but in some people, the level produced is lower than normal due to various environmental and physical factors. People with low levels of serotonin are more likely to suffer from depression and other mental health disorders.
What CBD Oils Should You Choose For Depression?
It is important to steer clear of any tinctures or vape products containing high levels of THC as this psychoactive compound will do little to help your depression. It is CBD that works best with depression, and we invite you to peruse the site to find the best CBD products on the market from the top sellers and manufacturers.
Final Thoughts on CBD & Depression
No matter what treatment you choose, the road back from depression is a long and difficult one, but if you can make a recovery, the world will seem a happier and more cheerful place. If you’ve been taking anti-depressants for a considerable period and are finding that they’re either ineffective or causing serious side effects, perhaps it is time to find an all-natural solution. Research involving the effects of CBD on depression may still be ongoing, but all signs point towards a very positive outcome.