Depression is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide, with a wide variety of drugs designed to treat it. While many of these drugs work fine in the treatment of depression, CBD oil is a promising, natural approach to treating depression that avoids side effects that are common with prescription medication.
It’s important to note before going any further that you should always (ALWAYS!!) consult your doctor if you’re feeling exceptionally sad, suicidal, numb, or if you might be a risk to others. Do not take this blog post or any blog post as medical advice.
But as a mom who suffers from dysthymia (low-grade, lifetime depression), I felt it was important to share how CBD oil has helped me personally.
Cannabidiol is used to treat everything from pain to nausea, without the mental effects of the other primary chemical found in cannabis plants, THC. Cannabidiol is isolated and extracted from cannabis plants to create CBD oil, offering the powerful effects like pain reduction without the “high” that THC creates. This makes it ideal as a treatment for a much more diverse range of patients, since the recreational uses of the plant might not appeal to certain groups.
But can CBD oil treat depression, and even if so, is it a useful treatment? Several studies suggest yes, indicating that CBD oil might be an effective treatment and if this is true, it can avoid some of the nasty side effects of prescription drugs commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil is made by extracting the cannabidiol compounds from cannabis without the high-inducing THC. The chemical is then mixed with an edible oil, like coconut or flaxseed, or made into pill form. The oil compound can then be taken directly with a dropper, usually under the tongue, multiple times a day as needed. It can also be mixed into drinks to create a tincture that can be consumed over a longer period of time.
CBD oil as a treatment for depression
Multiple studies have shown promise in both animal and human participants where CBD oil works on reducing depression and anxiety. In the animal studies, mice were given CBD oil and subjected to a swimming test wherein the animals exhibiting depression symptoms would either not swim or take far longer to swim. Those same mice were treated with CBD oil and subjected to the test again and performed significantly better, exhibiting far less depressive symptoms.
Humans given CBD oil performed better at speaking in front of an audience than those who were given a placebo. In addition, many people report that withdrawal symptoms from anti-depressant medications are significantly reduced when taking CBD oil. These withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, agitation, and difficulty sleeping.
CBD oil also helps with insomnia and poor sleep health, both of which can contribute to depression and depressive symptoms.
Why does CBD oil help with depression?
While more research is needed and being conducted on the benefits of CBD oil, there is some understanding of how it can benefit humans. Cannabidiol reacts with serotonin receptors in a way that mimics some of the effects of depression medication but without the negative side effects. Since serotonin affects our mood, CBD oil can help regulate depressive symptoms along those same pathways.
There is also modern research that suggests a great deal of depression can be linked to too much chronic inflammation in the body. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory effects which can be another route it travels to help reduce depression and anxiety.
CBD oil is also an effective treatment for pain, and since chronic pain is one of the primary causes of depression, cannabidiol can serve double-duty for depressed pain patients.
Finally, CBD affects receptors in the brain for endocannabinoids, which help reduce stress. A lower level of stress works to treat depression both by lowering inflammation and also by the fact that stress makes depressive symptoms worse. By reducing stress with CBD oil, you can attack two main symptoms of depression head-on.
Is CBD oil an effective treatment for depression?
Research suggests that yes, CBD oil is a safe, effective treatment for depression without the side effects of prescription drugs. Because CBD oil can be used to treat pain, nausea, and many other conditions, it has the potential to be beneficial for many different people with a multitude of conditions.
Because CBD oil doesn’t produce the psychotropic effects of THC, it can be an appealing treatment for anyone, including children or people being treated for addictions to other chemicals. Finally because of the promising effects of the compound on many different conditions, it’s become much easier to find commercially and at a lower cost than even just a few years ago.
If you suffer from chronic depression, pain, or anxiety, CBD oil can provide relief without negative effects or addiction.