Mental health support is one of the many reasons why people turn to CBD.
It’s estimated that roughly 7% of American adults suffer from an episode of major depressive disorder every year. Could CBD help?
Preclinical research indicates that CBD may very well be able to alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.
The body’s inner endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been found to modulate a number of critical functions including sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and more. Unsurprisingly, research indicates that endocannabinoid signaling may also play a role in the treatment of major depressive syndrome. Much more research needs to be done, but early results indicate that endocannabinoid signaling and pathways may have a role to play in managing depression.
It has also been proposed that the ECS is dysfunctional in people suffering from mood disorders, possibly explaining the anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects that CBD has when it is introduced into the system.
Additionally, animal studies have found that CBD may work to reduce depressive symptoms by activating 5–HT(1A) receptors in the ECS. One study found that CBD induced antidepressant effects similar to those of imipramine, a prescription antidepressant. Another study from 2016 supported these findings when it proposed that CBD produced “rapid-acting anti-depressant like effects” through the 5-HT1A pathway.
Obviously, much more research needs to be done into CBD’s potential antidepressant properties and its potential role in the treatment of depressive disorders. However, early results are promising and indicte that CBD may actually be able to alleviate some of the symptoms commonly associated with depression.
Many people suffering from depression also suffer from other associated conditions that may be triggering their depression or making it worse. It’s possible that by improving the symptoms of these conditions, CBD may make depression easier to manage.
For example, many people are suffering from depression as a result of physical pain or trauma. Since physical pain can cause depression, and depression can cause physical pain, it can quickly become a vicious cycle. However, CBD has shown promise in alleviating pain, potentially making it helpful for people stuck in this cycle.
Moreover, many people suffering from depression also suffer from anxiety. While these are separate conditions, they commonly occur together, reinforcing each other and making it harder to find peace. Research shows that CBD has anxiolytic effects that may work to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Preclinical evidence supports CBD in the treatment of numerous anxiety disorders including SAD, GAD, SAD, PTSD, and OCD. It is possible that CBD may make it easier to overcome depression by reducing anxiety.
It’s important to note that CBD should not, and can not, replace prescription antidepressants. Antidepressants trigger positive changes in brain chemistry that CBD simply can’t. While CBD has shown potential for the treatment of things like depression and anxiety, CBD is a short-term treatment that can temporarily alleviate symptoms, not a long-term solution.
If you have been prescribed an antidepressant for your condition, do not stop taking it in favor of CBD. It may be possible to keep taking CBD as a spot treatment when your depression flares up, but you need to make sure that CBD does not interact with your medication. Ingesting CBD releases an enzyme that can speed up the breakdown of certain antidepressant drugs, potentially making them less effective and increasing the likelihood of experiencing side effects.
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