As more people look outside of the medical and pharmaceutical industry for solutions to their health challenges, we’re seeing an increasing number of customers enquiring whether they can use CBD Oil for depression and anxiety.
Over this last year, new information has surfaced around mental health, and it’s worrying to see. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), depression rates have doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some see this as a touchy subject, but we believe it needs far more attention. After all, anyone who has suffered from depression, or witnessed a loved one with the condition, knows how destructive it is.
In this article, we’ll share a few snippets on how CBD oil can help people who are looking for a natural treatment for depression.
Depression, What Is It?
So, what is depression, and how does it tend to affect people in their daily lives?
As with most mental health problems, people can experience them in various ways, and the same goes for depression.
It can manifest in so many forms, from mild, manageable symptoms through to totally debilitating ones which derail us, including:
- Feeling sad, depressed or a ‘numbness’ throughout your day
- A significant loss or increase in appetite.
- Over-sleeping, lethargy or sleepless nights
- Suicidal thoughts or self-damaging beliefs consistently showing up
Whatever level your depression is at, it’s hard to relate to if you’ve not experienced it – Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW put it into these perfectly relatable words:
“Depression is like drowning, except
everyone around you is breathing.”
CBD Oil, Can It Help Depression?
As you may already know, CBD oil is produced naturally in the Cannabis Plant and is trending in popularity because of the sheer volume of research now available showing the many health benefits it can offer.
CBD Oil can help to relieve a variety of symptoms that occur in people with depression, for example:
- Anxiety or anxiety disorders such as panic attacks
- cognitive impairment
- feelings of discomfort when speaking in groups or social events
That’s not all!
Experts are now linking the potential benefits of CBD for depression to their positive effect on the brain’s serotonin receptors.
Low serotonin levels are known to be a factor in causing depression because of the chemical imbalance in the brain it creates.
What is interesting is that CBD oil doesn’t directly boost your serotonin levels as with medication i.e. it doesn’t just inject a different chemical to counteract the deficiency – it interacts with the part of your brain that monitors your body’s entire ecosystem.
Instead of wanting you to fill the gap with serotonin, it looks at why it’s not there in the first place and addresses the overall balance. Bit clever innit!
What’s the name of this system, you ask?
This little bit of magic, which controls your entire hormonal and chemical existence is called the endocannabinoid system.
CBD Supports The Endocannabinoid System
Did you know that cannabinoids are already in your body and their job is to keep your body’s ECS in balance? As we’re starting to see, without them, you begin to encounter a whole world of problems!
The Endocannabinoid System or ECS is responsible for hundreds of different roles in your mind and body. To name them all would take up an entire article by itself.
But we’ll keep it and short and sweet (ish!).
The ECS is responsible for different kinds of neurotransmission and neuroendocrine processes. In more friendly words, the ECS talks to the brain, and tells it how many hormones to chuck into the bloodstream.
When the ECS isn’t doing its job properly, that’s when depression tends to show up. The imbalance in chemicals damages the entire process and your poor brain – it’s clueless on whether it’s supposed to try to make you happier, calm you down, make you scared, stop the fear – it’s a mess! And no wonder!
It’s a bit like this…
Think of hormones as traffic, and the ECS as the traffic controller and you’ll get a good idea of the importance of the ECS functioning properly.
The traffic controller’s job is to assess how much traffic can come through some busy crossroads at any point. Take the communication out of this job first though by blindfolding him before throwing him smack, bang in the middle of the crossroads at rush hour.
Just for good measure, we’ll give him earmuffs too! He goes out with the best of intentions, armed with a couple of paddles to direct everyone. We know the outcome way before he gets there – the poor chap is doomed! It’s a hopeless situation and it’s not going to be long before he’s in the middle of one almighty crash!
CBD Oil does the same by working with enzymes inside your ECS to produce endocannabinoids bringing everything back to the optimal level.
The Endocannabinoid System And How It Affects Mood
Okay, to answer this question we need to break up the ECS system a little further. We can do that by showcasing its three essential components:
- Cannabinoid receptors 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid receptors 2 (CB2). These two guys interact with your Endocannabinoids.
- Then your enzymes break down your Cannabinoids.
The most important role of CBD oil is to interact mainly with CB1, a receptor that focuses only around the brain.
This particular part of your brain is responsible for producing feelings of overall happiness and well-being. CB1 controls the happy hormone production before a very funny enzyme called ‘FAAH’ breaks them down.
(Cool Fact – CB1 has first named ‘anandamide’, a Sanskrit word which means ‘Bliss’.
An Endocannabinoid Imbalance And Depression
We’ve already talked about how CBD oil interacts with CB1, a part of the ECS system that affects mood. So how can a chemical endocannabinoid imbalance correlate with depression?
Endocannabinoids and the ECS system are essential for cell growth, keeping your brain’s emotional parts regulated and maintained, which lower the chance of depression.
If there is an imbalance in the ECS system, cell growth slows down and problems begin to arise.
CBD oil or some other cannabis-derived products can play their part by bringing the over-stimulated ECS system back into check and introducing equilibrium.
CBD Oil As A Natural Treatment For Anxiety And Depression
People tend to say that one doesn’t come without the other but luckily CBD oil is currently showing to help with both.
In terms of treating anxiety, this study found that people who took as little as 300mg of CBD oil experienced less social anxiety than people who took a placebo.
Anxiety is almost the enemy of serotonin (the happy hormone), as it results in lower production levels. CBD oil stimulates serotonin production, inducing an increased sense of joy and happiness.
Seeking Help When You Need It…
We appreciate that in times like this, isolation and loneliness can have a massive impact on our mental health. It’s also normal to want to find out how to relieve such discomfort.
If you feel drawn to CBD products and their suggested benefits, we first recommend contacting your health care provider, particularly if you are using medication.
Many people take CBD oil for anxiety and depression, so it could help but we’d like to remind you to be kind to yourself too and to reach out to people for help. You’re not alone!
Useful Charities and Contacts…
- CALM – Online helpline & Chat www.thecalmzone.net
- Mental Health Foundation – www.mentalhealth.org.uk
- Anxiety UK – www.anxietyuk.org.uk
- Assisting, 0800 689 5652 (Confidential 24hr listening service to anyone contemplating suicide run by trained volunteers from Suicide Prevention Bristol)
Are There Any CBD Oil Side-Effects?
You’ll be glad to hear that CBD has very few side effects, but we always point out that it does affect people differently.
Some people who tend to be more sensitive to CBD have reported experiencing:
- Looser bowels
- Increase and/or decrease in appetite
- Weight changes
With CBD oil still being a relatively new product in commercial terms, it’s hard to know the long-term effects, but early signs are still hugely positive. The above side effects are short-lived so would be easy to reverse if one does happen to experience them, by simply stopping the CBD Oil use.
A report in 2017 from the World Health Organization concluded that CBD is generally safe for human consumption.
If you’re still concerned about CBD oil’s side-effects, we recommend you talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any CBD product.
One of the best things you can do is to ensure you’re using a high-quality product and do some research for your own peace of mind.
For instance, one misunderstanding is that broad-spectrum CBD oil is safer than full-spectrum CBD oil but this is a highly unfortunate misconception, as it’s the full spectrum oil that has the highest efficacy.
Another aspect is to ensure independent lab reports or produced to ensure the CBD oil meets the FDA approved criteria.