Are you depressed? This question, often asked by friends, family, and doctors, suggests a wide variety of feelings, reasons, and potential treatments. Understanding what depression is, why it happens, and what treatments are available may lead you to question is CBD can help. Multiple studies show that CBD can have a positive impact on people with depression. Before you chose CBD as a treatment for depression, it helps to understand why you may benefit. Let us explore the correlation between cbd oil and depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is an umbrella term that commonly refers to everything from feeling sad and irritable to major depressive episodes characterized by an inability to function. Medically, the diagnosis of depression requires meeting a threshold of distress and loss of daily functioning. Doctors categorize depression into the following types:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Post-Partum Depression
- Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Atypical Depression
Each one of these disorders results in severe distress and an inability to function daily. Some people may experience short-term improvement without treatment, but these disorders often require treatments, including therapy and medications. If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide.
Treatments for Depression
Depression is a serious issue in the United States. Research indicates that 7% of the pollution, or over 17 million people, has had at least one major depressive episode. The United States spends over $200 billion a year for treatment of depression and related illnesses, and the economic loss of productivity and suicide.
Doctors have multiple ways to treat depression, including:
- Antidepressant Medications
- Electroconvulsive Therapy
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Many of these treatments, however, are time and cost-intensive and may result in serious side effects. CBD is a promising treatment without the potential side effects of other forms of treatment.
Physical Effects of CBD to Help Depression
CBD affects serotonin, a neurochemical in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate a wide range of functions in the body, including emotional state and feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Low serotonin levels can cause depression. CBD helps improve the ability of receptors in the brain to increase and balance serotonin levels. Animal studies show that CBD affects brain receptors and has an antidepressant effect.
Antidepressant medications also help to maintain serotonin levels, but they often have negative side effects. Some patients using these medications report insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea. While these side effects are often mild or temporary, more severe side effects have been reported.
- Reduced Blood Clotting Capabilities
- Sexual Disfunction or Loss of Desire
- Loss of Long-term Effectiveness
- Potential Fetal Risk During Pregnancy and Breast Feeding
- Withdrawal Symptoms if Stopped
- Risk of Suicide in Children and Young Adults
CBD does not exhibit any of these side effects. While more study is needed, research does not indicate that these are issues associated with CBD use. Symptoms and risks reported with CBD use include:
- Dry Mouth
- Changes in Appetite and Weight
- Risk for Liver Toxicity, Especially When Used with Certain Medications
Use of CBD to Help Depression
Animal studies show how CBD affects the brain to treat depression. While human studies are ongoing, there is documented research on how CBD affects humans with anxiety and depression. Anxiety is often linked to depression. Multiple studies show that CBD reduces anxiety, including for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
A recent study showed that CBD has neuroprotective and antipsychotic properties and mentioned CBD for depression and Bi-Polar Disorder. Another study found that CBD could regulate depression symptoms like prescribed antidepressant medications.
Because CBD is legal and widely available in the United States, many people have turned to CBD for help with depression. Surveys show that the top three reasons people use CBD are for anxiety, pain, and depression. Animal and human studies point to the benefits of CBD to help with depression, without the serious side effects of many prescription antidepression medications.