The American Psychiatric Association estimates that a staggering one in 15 adults suffers from depression each year, with an estimated one in every six people expected to experience the condition at some point within their lifetime.
No matter the severity of the symptoms, anyone who is suffering or has suffered from depression agrees that the symptoms can be downright debilitating at times. The cost to individual health, well-being, relationships and even the economy as a byproduct of depression is staggering. But there is hope: CBD oil.
CBD Oil – a new player in the fight against depression
Today there is an increasing trend towards consumers turning towards natural and organic treatments to help treat or heal various ailments. And while some patients do find success in taking prescription medicines for depression, others are discovering that CBD oil is a natural and effective alternative for alleviating some of the symptoms of depression, even though it will not cure disease.
According to studies, CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a group of cell receptors that assists in the regulation of sleep, appetite, pain, pleasure, mood, and other functions, making it a serious contender in the arena of potential all-natural supplements for helping with depression or depressive symptoms.
DISCLAIMER: Depression is and can be a serious mental health issue. If you are or have been depressed, and are in need of help, please seek out professional medical advice from your primary care doctor or psychologist. It is also important to discuss the use of CBD with your medical professionals prior to switching up any medicinal routines and to make sure that your doctor clears you for its use, as well as to make sure there won’t be any unexpected side effects when taken with other medication.
Depression can be something that someone is genetically predisposed to or can stem from experiencing a severely traumatic event, or set of events.
It is both caused by “nature” and “nurture” or any combination of the two. And it’s not your fault.
Some symptoms of depression include but are not limited to:
Inability to make decisions
Loss of energy
Decreased appetite/changes in appetite
Loss of interest in activities or pleasure
Serotonin and dopamine are two of the neurotransmitters that are affected during depression. Because of this, when someone is experiencing depression, they typically will lose their sense of joy in activities that were once considered pleasurable, have sleep disturbances, have little to no energy, suffer from increased stress levels, and have an altered mental state.
The categories of depressive disorders are as follows:
Major depressive disorder
Persistent depressive disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
Depressive disorder due to a medical condition
From 2009 to 2012, around 7.6 percent of Americans aged 12 and older were diagnosed with depression. Depression is also more common among females than males, and in people who are 40 and 59 years old. However, depression in both men and women is the highest in those between the ages of 25 to 44 years old.
Traditional Treatments and Therapies for Depression
Don’t worry, we’re getting to CBD oil as a new and innovative aid for treating depression. But before we get there, let’s cover some of the standard and more “traditional” forms of treatment.
Some prescription medications for depression include Prozac, Citalopram, Amitriptyline, Imipramine, and Nortriptyline. They work by increasing the amount of stimulatory substances in the brain, which can lead to an improvement as it relates to some or most symptoms associated with depression.
Over-the-counter home remedies are also popular among patients, and work to improve symptoms when coupled with antidepressants and talk therapy. Some home remedies include:
- John’s Wort
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Some Facts About CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, derives from the hemp plant and helps to stimulate the regulation of the central nervous system. In the body, cannabinoids are produced within the endocannabinoid system, however, within plants, they are called phytocannabinoids.
Therefore, CBD is a phytocannabinoid that, when taken, can help the endocannabinoid system in appetite regulation, mood regulation, immune system functioning, and the general workings of the human body. CBD oil derived from hemp is legal within the United States and is available in many different forms including oils, capsules, sprays, tinctures, gummies, and topical creams.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is also found within hemp. However, unlike CBD, which does not have any mood-altering effects, THC causes those who take it to feel high and euphoric. All legal CBD oils on the market today have most if not all THC filtered out of it.
Unlike THC, CBD directly interacts with cell receptors including serotonin and dopamine receptors. Therefore, regular ingestion of CBD encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine in the body, something that people who suffer from depression have low levels of.
The Effects of CBD Oil on Depression
CBD oil is not approved by the FDA, though it is legal within the United States. Several studies have proven some of CBD’s important health benefits. Some benefits of regularly taking CBD are as follows:
- CBD helps the body to regulate the stress response.
- CBD activates the hydroxy tryptamine serotonin receptor, thus creating an anti-anxiety effect.
- CBD soaks up toxic substances that come from food or that are created by the body that cause inflammation and conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, stroke, and myocardial infarction.
- Researchers discovered that CBD oil helps to protect against degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as lower the clinical depression in those patients who are diagnosed with these diseases.
- CBD oil also helps to improve the symptoms of autoimmune diseases like lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Many clinical trials have demonstrated that CBD is effective in the treatment of epilepsy and other conditions that cause seizures.
- Further studies have shown that CBD is also effective in treating brain and emotional disorders like depression, psychosis, and multiple sclerosis.
- Benefits that are still being investigated are CBD’s effects on post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks, depression, and anxiety.
CBD will not cure depression however, it will improve the symptoms associated with the condition. CBD works to improve the symptoms of depression by regulating endocannabinoids’ actions and improving the workings of the receptors that serotonin binds to.
Endocannabinoids regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and pain sensation. They bind to specific areas in brain cells called receptors. The endocannabinoids increase the power of these receptors to affect the actions of serotonin, which may, in turn, increase mood and reduce stress levels.
Since serotonin also binds its receptors to brain cells, whenever a chemical substance like CBD binds to its receptors, it will trigger events within brain cells that will cause an improvement in mood and a person’s ability to handle stress.
CBD is not addictive, will not get you high if it does not have any THC in it, and is safe with very little potential for adverse effects. There are reports, however, of adverse effects, mostly caused by CBD interacting with other drugs that were taken along with it.
As far as dosage goes, even though CBD is available in many forms including oils, gummies, capsules, topical creams, and concentrates, it is most commonly taken orally. The oil is most effective when taken in steady, regular doses.
To manage depression, CBD works best if taken in oil or capsule form in a beginning dose of 5 to 10 mg daily until desired results are achieved. The effects of CBD last several hours after a dose is taken, and most who take CBD report a feeling of improvement that lasts for up to 24 hours. These improvements can take up to 90 minutes to notice, however, if you have taken CBD oil and not a 25 mg CBD gel capsule.
CBD is also great to take in the management of flare-ups. It is recommended, for optimal results, that CBD is taken in as vapor or tinctures. In general, it is best to consult with a physician before beginning any type of CBD therapeutic regimen in order to avoid any potential drug interactions or irritation of existing medical conditions.
The Bottom Line
Even though CBD is a natural substance with many wonderful healing properties, the stigma surrounding its THC component has caused people to take caution or avoid using the substance altogether. Studies have shown, however, that CBD oil devoid of THC can greatly help in the treatment of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and inflammatory diseases.
Since CBD oil greatly improves the symptoms associated with depression, the overall quality of life for those suffering from the disease will be greatly improved. Even though CBD oil will not cure depression, it will significantly improve the symptoms of the disease, thus leading to a better life for those who suffer from any and all forms of depression.