According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects roughly one in every fifteen adults every year, and one in six people at some point in their life.
Depression can be debilitating for sufferers and their families, and at times it can seem like an insurmountable disease.
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, how you act and the way you think. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities that a person once enjoyed. It can also lead to a wide array of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function in different aspects of their life, like at work and at home.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (i.e., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observed by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Luckily, more and more people with depression are discovering that CBD oil for depression is a natural option for alleviating some of their symptoms.
CBD cannot cure depression; rather, studies show that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a collection of cell receptors and the corresponding molecules–or agonists–in the human body, which helps to regulate essential human functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and pleasure among other things.
So how does CBD interact with the human body in order to relieve some of the side effects of depression? First, let’s gain a better understanding of this disorder.
CBD Oil for Depression
What is Depression?
Depression can be a predisposed condition someone was born with or it can be brought on by an unfortunate event or trauma. Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of depression are oftentimes the same: feeling sad, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, a loss of energy, feeling worthless, and difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
While human neurochemistry plays an important role in depression, it’s commonly debated that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, Psychology Today argues, “regarding depression as ‘just’ a chemical imbalance wildly misconstrues the disorder.” Scientists agree that certain chemical levels in our brains (neurotransmitters) are reduced during depression, but this reduction is a symptom of depression rather than a cause.
Two neurotransmitters that are affected by depression are serotonin and dopamine. It is common for someone experiencing a bout of depression to feel sad, have a lack of interest in activities, have difficulties sleeping, and a severe lack of energy. Because levels of serotonin and dopamine are affected by things like diet, exercise, mental state, and stress levels, research supports the idea that some depressed people have reduced serotonin and dopamine transmission. This is where CBD Oil for depression comes into play.
How does CBD Oil for Depression Work?
Many Americans who suffer from depression take antidepressants, but these drugs aren’t always effective.
Take a look at what Marijuana Break has to say about the matter, “In fact, an estimated 33% of depression sufferers admit that medication does not offer relief. Also, antidepressants can cause some fairly unpleasant side effects.
“Small wonder then that people are searching for an alternative form of treatment; and an increasing number of studies suggest that CBD could be the solution. Unlike the compound THC in marijuana, which offers relaxation but with psychoactive reactions, the CBD found in cannabis provides relief without a debilitating ‘high.’ ”
But how does CBD Oil for depression work exactly?
According to an article by the Ministry of Hemp, “Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 60+ naturally occurring compounds found in all cannabis plants. In the human body, endocannabinoids are the molecules that act as chemical messengers in the “endocannabinoid system,” the parts of our nervous system containing cannabinoid cell receptors which respond to cannabinoids and tell the body to do certain things. The human body naturally produces its own cannabinoids (endogenous or endocannabinoids) with the help of fatty acids found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and fish, but the same receptors bind to the compounds found in cannabis.
“Unlike THC, the cannabinoid associated with causing marijuana’s “high effect,” CBD has a different, more indirect interaction with these cell receptors. At the same time, CBD has the unique ability to directly interact with other cell receptors, including serotonin and dopamine receptors. Thus, when ingested, CBD influences brain activity and one byproduct is the release of serotonin and dopamine throughout the body.
“Two recent studies uncovered these benefits of CBD oil with symptoms of depression. In one study, conducted in 2011 while studying the modulation of the serotonin system through endocannabinoid signaling, researchers found “ample evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.” Thus it can be assumed that, during depression, plant cannabinoids such as CBD have the ability to regulate one’s response to stressful situations.
“Additionally, Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and King’s College in London observed that, at high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-anxiety effect.”
CBD Oil vs Antidepressants
The most common antidepressants prescribed in the United States are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), and more than 41 million people in the US reported that they have taken at least one antidepressant at some time or another.
And yet, instead of showing that the medication is helping curb the disease or bring some level of relief, there’s a rise of 13% on the percentage of people using antidepressants. This seems to indicate that conventional medications and cognitive therapies are failing to pull those affected out of the tight grips of depression.
In spite of CBD targeting serotonin levels, which antidepressants do as well, there are several reasons why the people have felt a lot better using CBD Oil for depression rather than antidepressants.
One of the most disconcerting reasons is that the SSRIs have adverse side-effects such as nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, fatigue, etc. which can vary in the range of being mild to being unbearable. These side effects have been known to maximize depressive thoughts, completely negating the initial purpose of the medication in the first place.
CBD, on the other hand, has never been reported to have any side effects, making it a safe pick in terms of efficacy as well as overall wellness.
Depression is a serious–even a dangerous–thing, whether it’s being experienced temporarily from a particular situation, or if someone lives day in and day out with it. No one who has to live with this should have to also deal with all of the negative side effects that come with traditional medications–and that’s what makes the discoveries of CBD Oil for depression such a big deal.
If there is something out there that can help bring relief to those suffering from depression without bringing all of the additional side effects, think of the impact that could have on the lives of the millions of people who live with depression every day!