CBD for Depression: FAQs [2019 Update]
Millions of people are currently suffering from depression and CBD oil may be an effective treatment for it. CBD oil can help people overcome their depression in multiple ways.
CBD Oil For Depression: The Highlights
- According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide.
- CBD oil has been used to treat depression as well as other mental health disorders such as anxiety.
- Depression isn’t just caused by “chemical imbalances” in the brain, but other factors as well.
- CBD oil may heal the brain by regenerating and protecting neurons.
- You can use CBD oil as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals.
What is Depression?
Depression and anxiety disorders are very common mental health issues that affect millions of people across the world. CBD has proven itself as a good solution for depression. Anxiety disorders can affect people in different ways, but generally, it causes the person suffering to be in a continuous low mood affecting one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are just a few of the problems people face each and every day. Depression and anxiety can be debilitating both physically and mentally and is often very difficult to recover from.
Where Does Depression Come From?
Many think that depression merely stems from a “chemical imbalance” within the brain due to serotonin deficiency. But research suggests that this may be a myth perpetuated by pharmaceutical advertisements.
While serotonin does play a significant role in regulating a person’s mood, it is not exactly clear who needs more or less of it. Besides, depression has a slew of other factors associated with it.
Depression can be caused due to:
- Physical illness
- Chronic stress
- Stressful life events
- Past trauma
- Physical pain
- Social isolation
- Other emotional disorders
So as you can see, depression can’t be solely attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain.
While anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, depression isn’t far behind.
Here are the latest depression statistics as of August 2018:
- 300 million people around the world have depression, according to the World Health Organization.
- It’s estimated that 15 percent of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.
- 10.3 million U.S. adults experienced an episode that resulted in severe impairment in the past year.
- 16.2 million adults in the United States—equaling 6.7 percent of all adults in the country—have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
- Nearly 50 percent of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Traditional treatments for depression
While there are various treatments available, not all of them are convenient, and not all of them work for everyone. Also, the type of depression that you’re diagnosed with may affect the type of treatment that’s available. Some of the most commonly used treatments for depression include:
Exercise. There is evidence to suggest that exercise is a great cure for depression. However, it’s normally only ever prescribed for those with mild depression.
Self-help groups. Many people find that talking helps to ease depression. But, again, is only really useful for those with mild depression.
Talking therapy. Similar to that of a self-help group, but more on a one-to-one basis. This includes counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Antidepressant medications. There are more than 25 different variations of antidepressants in circulation, all of which help to suppress the symptoms of depression. While it’s clear that these medications do work, not everyone is happy to take these kinds of tablets as they can easily become addictive.
Mental health care professionals. Those suffering from severe depression may be under the watch of several mental health care professionals including psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and specialist nurses.
Combination therapy. In severe cases of depression, it may be that the patient is undergoing several different treatment options. Combining a course of antidepressants along with a therapy session or two is not uncommon.
While these traditional treatments work very well in some circumstances, it’s not always the case. For someone who doesn’t like talking, therapy may bring nothing but further anxiety and depression.
If that same person isn’t comfortable with taking medication, what other options do they have in trying to treat their depression? Up until a few years ago, it was a very difficult question to answer.
Using CBD to treat depression
Over the past few years, extensive research has been done into a compound that has a number of healing properties. That compound is called cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD. It’s an active cannabinoid that’s found in the cannabis plant and has just recently been dubbed the “miracle oil” and for good reason too.
CBD has been proven to be useful in many ways including reducing stress and anxiety and treating depression. In comparison to standard antidepressants, those taking CBD have reported minor side effects and an almost instant feeling of relief.
FAQs on using CBD to treat depression
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers when it comes to using CBD to treat depression:
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from the cannabis plant. It is one of the many chemicals produced by the plant, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Whereas THC is most commonly associated with the marijuana plant, CBD is dominant in the male plant also known as hemp.
CBD is not psychoactive, which is the main way that it differs from THC: it does not produce a user high. Instead, CBD is used to treat a variety of conditions from chronic pain to sleeplessness as well as depression.
How CBD Helps With Depression?
Our bodies have a natural endocannabinoid system, which includes CB1 receptors in the brain and CB2 receptors mostly in our immune cells. When CBD is present in the bloodstream, it activates this system and has an impact on our neurotransmitters.
The function of CBD in depression treatment is tied closely to serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain that has an impact on both our emotions as well as our motor skills. Serotonin acts as our own internal mood stabilizer, and it is important to healthy sleeping, eating, and digestive habits.
Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, and CBD can counteract this issue with its specific impact on receptor 5-HT1A, which releases serotonin into the body. CBD prompts this receptor to act more effectively and, therefore, produce more serotonin.
Additionally, CBD interacts with the hippocampus in the brain, which is tied to our control of emotions. When an individual is depressed, the hippocampus can become smaller. CBD treatment for depression can result in neurogenesis stimulation, which means more neurons are created by the brain.
While there is still a long way to go in terms of investigating the connections between CBD and the brain, initial evidence shows it to be a promising alternative to prescription medication and some even claim the results are similar to those found with popular depression medications (minus the adverse side effects).
In addition to treating depression, recent studies have shown CBD to work effectively in treating anxiety disorders as well.
An added benefit of CBD is that it prevents the risk of addiction commonly associated with prescription medications. Because depression and addiction can often go hand in hand, CBD may be a safe and natural option to explore for those seeking relief.
It is important to point out that some CBD may contain trace amounts of THC, which could show up in a drug test, even if the user experience no altered mental state by using CBD oil.
Anyone with depression who plans to use CBD should discuss this with a physician and carefully research any and all products first to understand the benefits and risks.
How long will it take to feel the effects of CBD?
This will depend on a number of different factors including the user’s weight, intolerance levels, the strength of the CBD and the form in which it’s used. If using a concentrate or vape, you will feel the effects much quicker than if using CBD in an edible or topical form.
Is CBD Addictive?
No. Unlike THC, there’s no chance of becoming addicted to CBD. THC binds directly to CB1 cannabinoid receptors, triggering that feeling of intoxication and euphoria. CBD, on the other hand, does not have any of these addictive properties and produces no intoxicating effects.
Just last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement declaring that CBD exhibited no potential abuse of dependency properties.
What Is The Best Form of CBD To Use When Treating Depression?
This will very much come down to the strength of dose of CBD you’re after and personal preference. If you’re someone who vapes, vaping can be a quick and easy way to feel the effects of CBD.
Mixtures are often made using tasty ingredients so you don’t have to endure the somewhat earthy taste that CBD has to offer.
If you don’t mind the taste, tinctures are also a great method of ingesting CBD as a couple of drops under the tongue or in your drink will work almost instantly. Capsules are another quick and easy solution for taking CBD.
With capsules, there’s no real risk of over ingesting as you know exactly what dose you’re getting each time. While edibles are also very good and mask the taste of CBD quite well, they take a long time to work as any food that’s eaten along with it needs to digest first.
Topicals are another option and will quite possibly have some effect when it comes to depression, they’re more suited for conditions such as pain relief and skin care.
Will I Get High From Using CBD?
No. As mentioned before, it’s the THC found in cannabis plants that contains all the psychoactive properties and is what makes a person feel intoxicated. CBD does not have these same properties which are what makes it so great to use medically.
Is it Guaranteed To Cure Depression?
Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that any treatment will work until you try it and the same goes with CBD. While it is very effective in helping a lot of people suffering from depression, it is by no means, a one-stop solution for everyone.
If you try one method of CBD and it doesn’t work for you, try mixing it up with some more traditional forms of treatment.
Some Final Tips on CBD for Depression
- Discuss the use of CBD with your physician, especially if you are taking other medications for depression. While CBD typically has no adverse side effects, it’s best to play it safe and keep an open line of communication with your doctor.
- Study the products to ensure the CBD oil comes from hemp plants and not marijuana plants and steer clear of “rock bottom” prices: cheap CBD oil means it probably has an extremely low concentration and is, therefore, ineffective. A quality oil should be priced around $50–$75 for a quantity of 300 mg.
- Start slow! Use the smallest dosages to start and slowly build up if more is needed. Everyone reacts to CBD differently and there is not a one size fits all approach in using CBD to treat depression or any other health concerns.
We hope you found this article both informative and helpful. Depression is a really difficult thing to treat sometimes and people are often willing to try just about anything to curb that feeling.
But, before you go and try anything too drastic, be sure to check out CBD, as you too could be one of the many thousands of people whose life this miracle oil has helped to improve.