The US is plagued by depression, and the stats show that perfectly. From 2009 until 2012, about 7.6% of Americans were said to be depressed. In 2015, approximately 16.1 million adults aged 18 and over experienced a depressive episode.
It’s safe to say that depression is a modern-day disease that’s destroying our families and children every single day. But, when it comes to its treatment, can CBD oil help alleviate some of its symptoms and cure us? We’ve decided to find out.
A mental health disorder by nature, depression is a risk factor that can easily lead to all sorts of medical conditions, or worse, substance abuse and suicide. It is a condition during which a person feels sad in general, but on a much greater scale than usual. This sadness isn’t the regular kind we may feel when we watch a romantic movie. It’s actually far worse than that because it can affect our daily life, our thoughts, and our interests.
As such, symptoms of depression are usually:
- Emotional flatness (lack of expression)
- Depressed mood and overall sadness
- Loss of interest
- Lack of sleep, sleep disturbance and insomnia
- Lack of energy, as well as focus
- Slowed down movements and thoughts
There are various classes of depression, but they all usually entail an irritable or sad mood combined with a lack of focus and strength, as well as difficulties in leading a normal life:
- persistent depressive disorder
- major depressive disorder
- disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
- premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- medical condition-induced depressive disorder.
How We Usually Treat Depression
The traditional way of treating depression involves a combination of psychotherapy and medications. However, that isn’t to say there are no other treatments available. In fact, an advanced treatment technique called electroconvulsive therapy can also be used. There’s even bright-light therapy, which requires an hour of daily morning use of bright light with an intensity of 10,000 lux.
Types of therapies usually applied in treating depression are:
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- problem-solving therapy
- interpersonal therapy
Medications often prescribed for depression include Citalopram, Imipramine, Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Nortriptyline, just to name a few. All of them have different benefits and side effects, and they don’t work the same way. Still, in most cases, they boost the concentration of stimulant substances found in the brain. In turn, these improve one’s condition and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Yet, there are even natural home remedies we can combine with medication and therapy to help those who are struggling. Some of the most popular choices are Omega-3 fatty acids, which can ease depression symptoms, St. John’s Wort (increases serotonin), folate (boosts the effects of medication) and SAM-e (a supplement that boosts our mood).
How CBD May Help Treat Depression
Thought by many to be a miracle non-psychoactive drug, CBD is found in the hemp plant. It is a type of cannabinoid, a phytocannabinoid to be exact, which is extracted from hemp in order to treat various conditions.
Most notably, CBD has a positive, stimulating effect on the central nervous system. It regulates it and works as a supplement for cannabinoids found in the human body — endocannabinoids. Thus, it may regulate our mood and appetite, improve the functioning of our immune system, and ensure that our bodies are in good condition.
Still, it’s important to underline that it is not a psychoactive drug. Both THC and CBD are found in hemp, but they have different effects on us when we ingest them. THC is the compound that will generate that “high” feeling, as well as euphoria. In contrast, CBD doesn’t follow the same route, which is why we can buy it legally in the US — we cannot get high from it. In addition, it doesn’t have addictive substances in it.
The CBD market is full of products, so we can choose from a variety of options. There are CBD tinctures, capsules and concentrates, as well as sprays, vapes, topicals and even gummy bears. But what’s even better is that we can safely ingest CBD. This compound is relatively low-toxic, so much so that it wouldn’t even affect fetal development or the way our body functions. However, that isn’t to say that we won’t react badly to it if we combine it with other drugs.
Most Common Effects and Properties of CBD Oil
Although still not FDA approved, a few studies have shown that CBD oil can indeed have a positive effect on our health.
It has antioxidant properties, so it’s capable of eliminating toxic substances, which are almost always to blame for conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Furthermore, by getting rid of the toxins, CBD oil helps us avoid dreaded diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as these too can be blamed not just on age but on toxins as well.
Apart from those conditions, CBD oil has shown positive results in treating autoimmune diseases like arthritis and lupus. It can also help treat epilepsy and allow patients to control their seizures.
However, we are interested in whether or not it can treat depression. According to the information we have so far, CBD oil can act therapeutically and regulate disorders like multiple sclerosis, depression, and psychosis, as well as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Depression and How CBD Oil Can Help
As mentioned before, our body produces endocannabinoids. These are cannabinoids that play an important role in the functioning of our whole system. Namely, they are the ones that regulate our mood, sleep, appetite and pain sensation. They do so by binding to brain receptors in order to enhance the effects of serotonin, which lowers our stress levels and improves our mood.
The real magic happens once serotonin binds to its receptors as well. Once that’s done, each brain cell gets stimulated, which leads to less stress and a better mood.
However, changes in the chemical function of the brain, its structure, and communication between nerve cells can lead to a depressive state of mind. Yet, CBD oil can help, as it has the power to change the actions of endocannabinoids. In addition, it can make the effects of serotonin more potent by boosting receptor activity.
How Much CBD Oil Do We Need?
Before taking CBD oil, we should consult our physician so as to prevent any side effects and potential issues. In addition, we should never stop the treatment or start using another drug while taking CBD oil.
One thing we should note here is that no matter the dosage, CBD oil will only be effective if we take it on a regular basis. However, the good news is that we can choose the form in which we will ingest it.
As far as depression goes, we can take CBD oil capsules or tinctures. A good starter dosage would be 5–10mg every day. After a while, we should feel better, provided that we haven’t combined CBD oil with other, more serious drugs. There are also gel capsules that are entirely safe to use even though they have 25mg of CBD per each pill. The safety profile of CBD is what matters here, and since it’s good, the dosage will probably suit us.
Once we take CBD oil or any other CBD product, we can expect the effects to last for a few hours. After about 90 minutes, we will notice the first major changes, and after 24 hours, we will feel better overall. Still, if we are looking for fast relief, the best course of action would be to vaporize CBD isolate, especially if acute flare-ups are our main concern.
Are There Any Side Effects of CBD Oil?
As said, the safety profile of CBD oil shows that there is little to no risk at all as far as side effects go. However, if we go over our prescribed dosage, we may easily weaken our immune system, as a few studies have shown. Still, the most important thing we should pay attention to is drug interactions. Those can lead to serious adverse effects we may not know how to deal with. Thus, consulting with a physician is a priority, even in the case of using a miracle drug such as CBD oil.
As we have seen, due to the non-psychoactive nature of CBD, many people are starting to recognize its health benefits and looking for a way to incorporate it into their treatment. This wonderful “cure” has the power to treat not just physical but mental health disorders as well. As such, it can provide us with a better quality of life, as long as we remember that it will never fully cure — just alleviate the symptoms and make medical conditions more bearable.