Depression is a major depressive disorder that inhibits a person from feeling, thinking, and acting optimally. This mental health disorder causes you to experience most things in life through a negative lens.
Some of the most common symptoms of depression include an inability to sit still and the need to pace, feelings of worthlessness, loss of energy, changes in appetite, and a loss of interest in the things you once enjoyed.
Although depression leaves you feeling lonely, as if you are the only person going through it, the truth is that this disorder affects over 18 million adults yearly in the US alone. While antidepressants have provided some relief for people going through depression, the side effects of some of these pills have left people wanting.
So when a natural compound hit the market and started providing positive benefits to people suffering from different disorders, many began asking questions and wondering whether this product could potentially be the answer to their mental health problem.
CBD and its work on the human body
Cannabinol (CBD) comes from the same family as marijuana, but it does not have psychoactive effects, unlike the latter. This means that you cannot get high from CBD when the product you use contains less than 0.3 percent of THC. A high-quality organic CBD product derived from hemp can come in many forms, from oil to balms, gummies, e-liquids, candies, and more. Yet, it is not the form but what it does once it is inside the body that impresses medical professionals.
Research on CBD is limited. However, researchers have observed that this natural compound works on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The latter covers a considerable part of our bodily function. It manages critical functions such as body temperature, fertility, mood, appetite, and sleep. With the help of endocannabinoids (eCBs), cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes moving through the mind and body, the ECS continually strives for homeostasis — optimal balance in the body.
Although researchers have yet to discover how CBD works on the receptors, what they have observed is that it signals to the receptors to implement change rather than binding to them.
As a result, medical professionals have found encouraging evidence of CBD being a game-changer for men and women with infertility issues, people with diabetes, insomnia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy.
The good news is that this natural compound may also prove to be life-changing for people experiencing mental health problems such as anxiety and PTSD. CBD for depression could be a life-changing move as well.
CBD for depression: What do the studies say?
People who have taken CBD to help with their anxiety have described this natural compound as taking away the negative feelings and thoughts that come with anxiety and instilling them with a sense of peace. Researchers have also seen positive data when it comes to CBD as a psychiatric power tool.
The answer appears to lie in effect CBD has on the serotonin 1A receptors. The latter, also known as the 5-HT1A receptor, plays a huge role in moderating our cognitive and emotional regulations. Indeed, a low level of this neurotransmitter is associated with anxiety and depression.
What studies on CBD suggest is that this natural compound can signal to the ECS's receptors to stimulate the release of more serotonin in the body, thus having more of what is known as the happy chemical in our system.
In a 2018 study, rodents were given a single dose of CBD. After 30 minutes, researchers noticed significant antidepressant-like effects on the animals. They also noted a higher level of BDNF — a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is a protein that plays a huge role in mood disorders. With such results, researchers concluded that CBD could potentially offer fast results as an antidepressant.
In another study conducted in the same year, researchers found more encouraging data. When CBD was administered to mice, they observed a synergistic effect, meaning that this natural compound has the potential to ease symptoms of depression by its work on the release of serotonin.
CBD for depression: What do the experts say?
Although the studies conducted so far have yielded encouraging data, medical professionals are still wary of CBD because the research on humans is so limited. What doctors do know is that CBD seems to be gentler on the body and its organs.
Antidepressants often come with severe side effects. Some of the most common side effects include stomach aches, low sex drive, anxiousness, feeling of being sick, headaches, and insomnia. On the other hand, CBD's only reported symptoms are nausea and diarrhea, but most users do not even experience these side effects.
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a medical director and author of "Cannabis Revealed," reports that although research is lacking, there have been patient reports proving CBD's effectiveness.
Goldstein recalls one man who couldn't take the severe side effects of his antidepressants, so he switched to low doses of CBD with a ratio of 4:1 CBD: THC tincture. The man later reported a 90 percent improvement rate for his depression. Moreover, he did not experience any side effects.
The right way to take CBD
If you decide to try CBD to ease your depression, note that there is a right way to start this journey. Consulting a medical professional should be your first step. This is especially so if you are already taking an antidepressant. Abruptly stopping your medication may cause you to experience adverse effects. Moreover, if you are taking any other type of drug, CBD can potentially inhibit its work.
A medical professional can also advise you on the right dose to start with and which brand is best. There are various CBD manufacturers out there that provide a high-quality product. However, you may need to take different doses for the respective brand.
Most importantly, with a medical professional guiding you, you know that you can always turn to an expert for help, even if CBD does not yield the expected results.
Written by: Tammy Taylor