About Depression - CBD For Depression
Depression is a common emotional issue that is characterized by low mood, feelings of sadness, grief, lack of motivation, and anger.
When triggered, these feelings disrupt your ability to think and function throughout the day. More than 16 million adults in America are affected by depression each year.
Roughly 16% of women and 11% of men in Canada will experience depression at some point in their life.
What is Depression?
Depression and sadness are not the same thing. It is normal for you to feel sad if something negative happens in your life. Having the blues because your puppy died or your best friend moved away is natural. However, a person with clinical depression has intense feelings of sadness that last for a long time and interfere with his or her daily activities.
There are several different types of depression. These include clinical (or major) depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, situational depression, postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and manic depression.
If you have depression, your quality of life will decrease. The things that you found great joy in doing may no longer seem pleasurable.
Depression can also impact your productivity at work or school. Your family, social, and romantic relationships may also suffer if you have depression and do not seek treatment.
What Causes Depression?
The specific cause of depression is unknown. However, a number of biological, genetic, and environmental factors may contribute to the development of the disorder.
Clinical research shows you are more likely to develop depression if:
- You have a family history of depression
- You have a chronic medical condition such as cancer
- You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- You experienced loss or trauma early in life
- The frontal lobe of your brain is less active than normal
Common Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a serious mental health condition with a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.
However, different people who have depression may experience different symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms of depression include:
- Low motivation
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Extreme sadness
- Social isolation
- Physical pain
- Low sex drive
- Sudden weight loss
- Sudden weight gain
- Substance abuseissues
- Relationship problems
- Panic attacks
- Having suicidal thoughts
If left untreated, clinical depression may lead to a number of health complications or even suicide. However, effective treatments are available.
One popular, all-natural treatment that has helped a number of people with depression is CBD.
CBD vs. Antidepressants
Antidepressants are drugs designed to treat depression. While some people have benefitted from using antidepressants, they may also experience a number of negative side effects.
This has caused some people with depression to avoid treatment altogether. A few of the unpleasant side effects of antidepressant medication include:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
Some people with depression use CBD instead of taking antidepressants. However, if you are currently taking antidepressant medication, you should not switch to CBD without speaking with your mental health counselor.
If you stop taking your medication suddenly, you may experience several negative side effects. Your therapist may help you to develop a healthy schedule for reducing your dosage of antidepressant medication over time.
If you plan to take CBD along with your antidepressant medication, it is recommended that you first consult your therapist.
If you take medication for other health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD.
CBD may have negative interactions with the medication you are currently taking.
Should You Take CBD for Depression?
Living with depression can be very challenging. To help manage their symptoms, some people make seek therapy and/or use antidepressant medications such as Zoloft, Prozac, or Lexapro.
However, therapy can become expensive over time and some medications may contain addictive substances.
These concerns have led some medical researchers to investigate the antidepressant effects of CBD.
CBD is safe, all-natural, and more affordable than traditional treatments. But does it actually work for people with depression? Consider the evidence below:
- A 2009 report on preclinical findings suggests CBD may be useful in the treatment of mood disorders.
- A 2012 study claims CBD may help to regulate blood pressure in women with depression.
- A 2014 review of several animal studies shows CBD can have an antidepressant effect on the brain
- A 2015 study of mouse depression models shows “CBD could represent a novel fast antidepressant drug.”
- A 2018 literature review claims CBD may help to reduce depression related to stress. The researchers also state “CBD is a useful and promising molecule that may help patients with a number of clinical conditions.”
CBD and Depression: Why it Has the Potential to Work
All humans have an endocannabinoid system. It is made up of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid molecules, and their related metabolic enzymes.
- Cannabinoid receptors – located on the surface of your cells and monitor conditions outside the cell. The two major cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2.
- Endocannabinoids – small molecules that bind to and activate your cannabinoid receptors. They are made and used when the body needs them.
- Metabolic enzymes – break down the endocannabinoid molecules after they are used.
Your endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in your body. Homeostasis ensures that your cells have the right conditions to function at their optimal level.
Some of the physiological processes monitored by your endocannabinoid system include your mood, pain sensation, memory, and appetite.
When endocannabinoids are released, they bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain. They also affect the actions of a neurotransmitter called serotonin.
Serotonin is associated with stress control and mood regulation. Low levels of serotonin is linked with depression.
CBD may be used to stimulate your endocannabinoid system. This may help to restore homeostasis if there is a serotonin imbalance.
While CBD does not cause increased serotonin production, it may improve how your brain responds to the serotonin that is already present in your system.
This may help to alleviate depression symptoms.
Why and How is CBD Gaining Popularity Among People Experiencing Depression?
CBD is quickly becoming a hot topic among people with depression. Why is this happening?
The main reason is many men and women who have used CBD for depression have found significant relief from their symptoms.
More relaxed laws and ongoing research on the medical use of cannabis products have also made the use of CBD more socially acceptable.
How to Use CBD Oil to Alleviate Depression Symptoms
CBD oil is available in liquid and capsule form. CBD oil capsules are very popular among people with depression.
Other people may prefer to swallow a spoonful of CBD oil directly, add it to their salad dressing, or prepare their meals with it. You can choose the option that is right for you.
CBD is also present in other products such as vape, tincture, sprays, and cosmetics. It is also often added to a variety of foods such as baked goods, teas, ice cream, coffee, and candies.
Different products contain different amounts of CBD. It may be best to start with a low dosage and increase it gradually until you begin to feel the desired effects.
Depression is linked with low serotonin levels in your brain. While CBD does not cause increased serotonin production, it may improve how your brain responds to the serotonin that is already present in your system.
More research is needed to fully understand why CBD has such a positive effect on mental health. The field is being actively studied and more findings are being published each year.
It is interesting to note that federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have acknowledged the health benefits of CBD.
In 2018, the FDA gave its approval for the first CBD-derived medication for US citizens.