Depression is all too prevalent in today’s world. It is a terrible affliction that many of us will be affected by at some point in our lives, whether it is us personally who suffers from it or a loved one.
Characterized by intense feelings of sadness and a loss of hope, in its most serious cases, depression can make life seem intolerable and with no end in sight. Despite this, many people are finding relief in new treatments. One fast-growing trend is the use of CBD oil for depression.
While the severity and causes of your depression may vary, with an ever-increasing amount of people successfully using CBD oil to treat the condition, there is hope. Stay strong.
What is depression?
Depression is a common medical condition that affects more than 300 million people of all ages around the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Sufferers of the condition can experience extended periods of intense sadness, disinterest and excessive tiredness. It can make everyday activities seem like a struggle, put a huge strain on relationships, and affect your work-life and hobbies.
There is a clear difference between depression and natural mood fluctuations such as short-term emotional responses to everyday problems and challenges. These responses are natural and help us to adapt and grow.
Severe depression can also have a detrimental effect on your physical health. At its worst, it can lead to suicide, which is a leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds, particularly in western societies.
If you find yourself feeling especially down for an extended period of time with little relief, or find that feelings of hopelessness and disinterest are negatively affecting your life, you may be affected by depression and should seek professional medical advice at the earliest opportunity.
Causes of depression
As a complicated and multi-faceted condition, the causes of depression can be very hard to pinpoint. The brain is the most complex structure in the universe. Any human understanding of it is going to be rather simplistic.
Having said that, however, research into depression and its causes has come a long way over recent decades. We now have at least an idea of the multitude of factors in the development of depression.
These include, but are not limited to, the following…
- Abuse - Any form of abuse can lead to depression. This includes verbal, sexual, mental, physical, and emotional abuse.
- Conflict - Both external and internal conflict can be a cause of depression. Whether it’s with family, friends, colleagues or strangers, conflict can cause untold amounts of stress. Stress can lead to an increased risk of depression.
- Genetics - A predisposition for depression can be hereditary - meaning it can be passed down through generations via genes. Just because you have a predisposition for depression, however, does not guarantee you will get it.
- Isolation - Humans are social animals. Therefore, finding yourself in unwanted isolation can be a major factor in the onset of depression.
- Loss and trauma - It goes without saying that losing someone dear to you can result in emotional turmoil. This is so for any major trauma you may suffer and can increase your risk for depression.
- Illness - A serious illness can mean more than just physical pain. It can also greatly increase your chances of depression.
- Stress - Prolonged stress can be detrimental to mental health and, if left unresolved, can lead to depression.
- Addiction - Another serious mental health condition, addiction can often be accompanied by clinical depression.
Can CBD oil help with depression?
Cannabidiol (or CBD) is one of over 400 naturally occurring chemicals found in cannabis. Of these chemical compounds, CBD is one of more than 80 that are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have become of very high interest to scientists recently. This is because they interact with the human body in a very surprising way - via the body’s very own endocannabinoid system (ECS), an internal system of receptors that was only discovered in 1992.
It is via this interaction with the endocannabinoid system that CBD can affect your physiology and play its part in treating depression.
The endocannabinoid system and depression
It was only after the identification of certain cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that scientists discovered humans make their own cannabinoids. They named them ‘endocannabinoids’ (the Greek prefix ‘endo’ means inner or within).
Cannabinoids such as CBD mimic these endocannabinoids to interact with the ECS. The ECS plays a role in all manner of bodily processes and functions, many of which relate to how the body handles stress and recovers from it.
With cannabinoid receptors located throughout your brain and nervous system, the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in maintaining your immune system, your inflammatory response, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. All these functions potentially play a role in depression.
Research on CBD and depression
Unlike THC, the cannabinoid that causes the “high” commonly associated with consuming cannabis, CBD does not directly interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the ECS. However, CBD does have the ability to directly interact with other cell receptors, such as serotonin and dopamine receptors. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters (the brain’s chemical messengers) that regulate your mood.
A study in 2014 found that by directly activating a serotonin receptor, high doses of CBD has an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect.
In the study, a group of rats were introduced to a number of anxiety-causing challenges, including swimming tests, conflict tests, and a maze to navigate. After the rat was treated with CBD, it displayed fewer signs of depression and anxiety.
As a deficiency of serotonin is widely thought to play a role in depression, CBD would seem to offer an effective means of boosting its production. This could help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with depression.
In another study, 48 rats with depression-like symptoms were administered various amounts of CBD. They were then given different behavioural tests. During one test, called a novel object exploration (NOE) test, the rats that had been given CBD moved faster and explored more than the less-motivated rats that had not.
As a lack of motivation and disinterest are symptoms associated with depression, these results suggest that CBD may well be beneficial for the treatment of clinical depression.
The antidepressant effects of CBD have also been found to be quite fast-acting. A 2015 study found CBD to exert “fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects” on depressed rats. The rats given CBD saw their hyperactivity reversed in just 30 minutes. The rats’ ability to experience pleasure also increased quickly.
Although a lot more research needs to be conducted on CBD and depression, thanks to promising studies like these scientists do appear to believe that CBD holds enormous potential for treating depression and anxiety.
Traditional treatments for depression
Due to its complicated and multifaceted nature, there is no simple cure for depression. Despite this, we do know of a number of treatments that can improve the condition. These are more successful in some people more than others. They include…
- Dietary interventions
- Mindfulness and other stress-reducing activities
- Pharmaceuticals (SSRIs)
The pharmaceutical drugs that are used for treating depression, particularly long-running or severe cases, are known as antidepressants. The most commonly used antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Similar to CBD oil, SSRIs are thought to ease depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.
However, there are a number of negative side-effects related to SSRIs. These include a loss of libido, inability to feel pleasure or emotion, and an increased risk of suicide. It’s therefore advisable to experiment with a range of lifestyle changes before resorting to SSRIs. They also do not work for everyone (studies suggest 40-60% of people) and are best used as a short-term intervention.
CBD oil vs traditional depression medicines
Although the research into the long- and short-term effects of using CBD for depression is still very much in its infancy, it is still a promising treatment option. It may even be favourable compared to SSRIs thanks to its impressive safety profile. And while SSRIs may be effective for some, it’s clear that the prolonged use of them should not be taken lightly.
Therefore, CBD is a potentially invaluable treatment for depression and should be considered by anyone to help manage the condition. It is important, however, to consult your doctor or medical caregiver before you make any changes to your treatment protocol. Your doctor or medical caregiver is best positioned to advise you on such issues as that they are familiar with your condition and history.
Is CBD oil right for me?
While small, manageable amounts of stress are normal and even necessary for a happy and healthy life, chronic stress can lead to depression. Therefore, if you feel that the negative emotions you are experiencing are becoming problematic, taking CBD oil may be an intelligent form of preventative care.
CBD oil has been found to reduce pain and relieve symptoms of anxiety. By relieving symptoms like these, regular CBD oil use can give the brain and body a much-needed break from chronic stress. This, in turn, allows you to relax and recover.
If you have chronic stress or are depressed, CBD may provide you with the respite you need to get a handle on your life. Thousands of people just like you are already treating their depression with CBD oil, and it could work for you too.
Final thoughts on CBD and depression
Depression is a condition that affects far too many people. Living with it can be unbearable and its long-term effects can be catastrophic. It is a serious problem on a world-wide scale that needs urgent attention.
We do, however, have an understanding of its main causes, as well as the lifestyle changes that can help reduce symptoms. We also have a range of drugs that offer hope to some, particularly in the short-term.
Admittedly, there is much research that needs to be conducted in the study of CBD and depression. However, the early signs are positive. If CBD is a reliable antidepressant, it could offer a safer and more effective means of treating depression than the current commonly used pharmaceutical drugs.
While no doubt valuable in some cases, traditional antidepressants like SSRIs bring with them a whole host of long-term side effects, some of which can be devastating. They are also expensive and potentially addictive.
To date, there is little evidence for any negative side effects associated with CBD. It has even been shown to be safe at very high doses. The next step is for rigorous studies to be conducted on humans. And if the results are as impressive as in the animal studies already conducted, we may well soon witness a new era of safe and effective antidepressants.
Using CBD oil for depression may be the future. Try our Good Vibes 250mg CBD oil and see if it works for you.