Produced from cannabis extract, CBD has shown a lot of potential as an alternative medicine for the treatment of many complex mental and physical health conditions. Plus, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you go high and isn’t addictive. So, more and more people are starting to use CBD to solve their health problems. But can you use CBD to treat depression? Does it really work or is it just all hype?
In this article, you’ll learn how CBD can help in treating depression and how you can start using it.
What Is CBD?
In its basic form, CBD or cannabidiol is one of the many organic compounds of a hemp plant along with other natural compounds such as THC and CBN. Our body’s endocannabinoid system also produces CBD in a small amount. But when we talk about CBD, we generally mean the phytocannabinoids of the hemp plant which we manually extract to produce CBD products such as CBD oil. And CBD represents a maximum of 40% total cannabinoids found in the hemp extracts.
CBD effects our body’s central nervous system and stimulates it. In turn, it intensifies the effects of our body’s endocannabinoids. As a result, these bodily chemicals regulate our mood, digestive system, immunity, and help us keep our body working to its fullest and recover from any potential soreness. Today, CBD is available in many different states of the US where it’s legal and you can purchase them in many forms such as capsule, cream, and oil.
Does It Get You High Or Become Addictive?
Unlike the THC of marijuana, CBD does not interfere or affect our brain’s normal cognitive functions. As a result, it does not create any sort of hallucinations and does not make you feel high. Also, unlike marijuana, CBD will not make you excessively addicted to it. So, when you are using CBD, you don’t have to fear to be too dependant on it. You can stop using CBD whenever you want with your doctor’s recommendation.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a prolonged state of sadness and grief that has stretched for a long time, which if not treated, will break us down, both mentally and physically. Normally, when we become sad and feel like stuck in a hopeless situation, we eventually find a way to get over it and become happy again. But when you’re in a depression, it would seem like there is no end to the sadness and there is no hope for you.
According to research, around 50% of all people who have committed suicide were reported to be depressed beforehand. And this makes it a serious mental disorder that we need to cure as soon as we see someone in depression.
Why Do We Become A Victim Of Depression?
Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn’t cause just because of serotonin deficiency. Of course, serotonin imbalance plays a role but there are many other factors that might make us depressed. It can happen if we suffer from multiple neurotransmitter imbalances in our body.
It’s also important to note that we can also become depressed because of inflammation or because of a certain change in your cerebral structure. These deformities of cerebral structures may happen because of some sort of trauma that eventually causes the neurotransmitter imbalance.
Apart from these reasons, there are several other factors that can trap a person in depression, which are:
- Physical pain
- Chronic stress
- Any past trauma
- Stressful events
- Any other mental or emotional disorder
As there are so many different reasons which can make a person depressed, it should be obvious that there is no magic tablet that can cure this in an instant. The exact cure for this mental disorder varies from person to person. That’s why anyone who uses multiple methods to cure a depressed person has a much better probability of being successful.
How CBD Works For Depression?
Cannabidiol is now one of the FDA-approved cannabis product that is extremely beneficial in treating epileptic seizures. According to many scientists, CBD actively acts to protect a specific area of our brain which is the hippocampus. Interestingly, the hippocampus is the actual area that is damaged or compromised when a person suffers from depression.
For example, when researchers used CBD on epileptic rats, it reduces the rate of further damage to the hippocampus region of the rats’ brain. In a similar study on humans, CBD helped in preventing further size reduction of the hippocampus region of the brain of THC users.
More studies like this made scientists believe that CBD can actually help us fight depression. And it will help us do that by protecting and regenerating the hippocampus of our brain. Here are some ways CBD can do that:
As we have mentioned before, our body creates endocannabinoids to keep our body and brain active, fit, helps in reducing inflammation, and so on. Researchers have found that CBD affects our endocannabinoid system in a rather hard to track manner. But apparently, this interaction seems to enhance the amount of endocannabinoid our brains receive. In turn, this promotes the neural growth in our brain and prevent further damage to the hippocampus. Therefore, it can help in preventing the person from further trapping down inside depression.
BDNF is a special kind of protein exists in our brain that not only enhances neural growth but also helps the existing neurons from any sort of damage. According to some studies on rodents, CBD somehow stimulates BDNF production near the hippocampus. As a result, it not only prevents further damage but also increases the regeneration ability of the hippocampus. Thus, CBD helped rodents to get out of the depressive state. However, not all scientists agree with these results so we definitely have to further investigate it before taking any final call.
Using Serotonin Receptors
Just like some anti-anxiety drugs, CBD also seems to activate 5-HT1A, which is a kind of unique serotonin receptor. We have already found that these serotonin receptors regulate a varying number of neurotransmitters and stimulate the neural regeneration process in the hippocampus. So, researchers are expecting similar regeneration effects from CBD too.
Scientists have recently discovered that this chemical binds with CBD and accelerates the neural regeneration process of our hippocampus. As a result, it can definitely help us treat depression.
What Is The Right Dosage Of CBD If You Have Depression?
You can take CBD in many different ways and forms which include oils, tablets, capsules, or any other different forms. But if you want the CBD you’re taking to work most efficiently, then you should always take them orally. Also, to make sure the CBD you’re taking has the most effect, you must have them in a fixed dosage and time.
When it comes to fighting depression, you can either take CBD orally in capsule form or ingest the oil directly. Also, you can put the oil in your daily drinks too. You can start taking CBD 10 mg per day and increase the dosage to up to 25 mg per day according to your own needs. The best thing about CBD is that you’ll see its effect fairly quickly. As soon as 90 minutes after ingestion. And those effects will remain for up to 24 hours.
However, make sure you consult with the doctor to make sure the CBD doesn’t react in a foul way with your current medicines. Plus, don’t just discontinue your current medications because you want to use CBD. Always talk to an expert before you take a step with CBD.
Side Effects Of Using CBD
Generally, most people don’t appear to encounter any sort of side effects when you take CBD orally. But just like any other medicine, it also has some potential dark sides. For example, if a patient is allergic or sensitive to the chemicals of CBD, they may suffer from:
- Appetite loss
Also, the CBD you’re taking may interact with your existing medications and create an adverse effect on your body. It may also cause liver toxicity in humans. A group of researchers conducted research on mice and they noticed that CBD overdose may create liver problems in them. Although it doesn’t mean that the same thing will happen to humans too, it never hurts to be on the safer side.
Therefore, if you’re considering taking CBD, talk with a doctor first and figure out if CBD could react badly with your currently prescribed medicines.
As time passes, more and more alternative medicines are starting to show up that can help us treat depression. And CBD is definitely one of the top contenders that may treat depressed persons faster and with more certainty than any other method.
While we still have a long way to go, recent researches have shown that CBD could be a promising anti-depressant. Till then, it’s better to be on the safer side and always consult an expert before start taking CBD as an anti-depressant.
What’s your thought about CBD as an anti-depressant? Let us know in the comment section.
Disclaimer: The information above should not be considered a medical recommendation. The content is written to enrich the reader’s knowledge. Any use of materials and content mentioned in this article should be first consulted about by a physician.