Is CBD the Cure For Depression? [Exploring the Truth]

Nature works in mysterious ways
MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on September 18, 2017

cbd for depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), up to 16 million American adults experienced a ‘depressive episode’ in 2012. That figure equates to almost seven percent of the adult population. Overall, approximately 350 million people around the world suffer from depression which is a leading cause of disability. While regular treatments such as therapy and medication continue to remain popular, CBD is now mooted as a possible solution.

There is an increasing body of evidence which suggests that CBD is an effective method of treating depression. Moreover, CBD is less likely to cause the negative side effects associated with traditional medication. Keep reading to learn more about depression and discover whether CBD is a viable form of treatment.

What is Depression?

Although depression is a complex disorder, it can be best described as a medical illness that has a negative impact on how you feel, think and act. As well as causing profound sadness, depression prevents you from enjoying activities you once loved. If left untreated, depression can lead to an array of physical and emotional problems and reduce your capacity to function at home and work.

There are a number of depression symptoms, and not everyone will have the same ones. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:

  • A feeling of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Feeling extremely sad and negative.
  • Significant changes in appetite; either eating too much or too little.
  • Either sleeping too much or having difficulties sleeping.
  • Noticeable loss of energy or obvious instances of fatigue.
  • No longer taking pleasure in things you used to enjoy.
  • An inability to concentrate, think or make decisions.
  • Thoughts of death and suicide.

Medical professionals assert that a person must display at least five of the above symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression.


Living with Depression

  • There are several forms of depression including:
  • ‘Major’ depression.
  • Bipolar depression.
  • Chronic depression.
  • Psychotic depression.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (Also known as SAD or seasonal depression).
  • Postpartum depression.
  • Substance-induced mood disorder (SIMD)

The type of depression you have will dictate how you can cope, but typically, individuals with depression can also have illnesses related to the condition. These ailments include Panic Disorders, Eating Disorders, Phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

It isn’t unusual for patients with depression to have physical symptoms such as back pain, joint pain, sleep changes and gastrointestinal problems. This is because of brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and serotonin which influence mood and pain.

Unfortunately, people with depression are more likely to commit suicide. Anywhere between 30-70% of people who commit suicide have major depression or bipolar disorder.

Those who suffer from the condition describe it as ‘living with a massive weight on your chest’. There are times when you want to get up and do something but you simply can’t. First and foremost, if you receive a diagnosis of depression, take it seriously and don’t try to ‘shake it off.’ Secondly, make sure you seek help and support; it is vital to realize that you’re not alone during this difficult time.

When seeking treatment, don’t limit your options. There is an increasing number of ways to combat depression because there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Traditional Treatment That Don’t Involve CBD

Depression is no different to any other illness insofar as treatment should be tailored to an individual diagnosis. The goal of any treatment plan is to help a person manage the symptoms and hopefully reduce them over time. However, the most common forms of treatment, regardless of the form of depression, are psychotherapy and medication.


There is a variety of treatment techniques involved in therapy. Typically, patients speak to a licensed and trained therapist who helps them identify and work through the issues that are causing the depression. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) replaces negative thought patterns with realistic and more positive ones.

The goal of therapy is to help patients understand the various aspects of the issues that are causing the condition. It also helps them to restructure the way they think, regain a sense of control and pleasure in life and learn problem-solving and coping skills.


Research suggests that medications such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work well in terms of helping people with depression and anxiety disorders. Over 10% of Americans take antidepressants, and it is the most commonly used medication for people aged 18 to 44.

CBD for Depression

As we mentioned above, a huge number of Americans take antidepressants, but these drugs are not always effective. 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.’

We have an endocannabinoid system that responds to the cannabinoids found in marijuana. Our main endocannabinoid receptor is known as the CB1 receptor and is found throughout the nervous system and also in the brain. Decades of research suggests that depression is attributable to a chemical imbalance in the brain and moreover, the condition is rooted in our nervous system.

The body of evidence that supports CBD as a viable alternative to antidepressants is growing. Admittedly, testing has yet to be performed on humans, but initial experiments on lab rats and other animals have yielded encouraging results.

A 2010 study involved treating OBX mice with CBD. The results were astounding; not only did the mice show almost immediate improvements, but their hyperactivity also stopped within 30 minutes. Remember, hyperactivity is a common depression symptom in humans.

Another study, this time in 2014, used animal models as a means of showing the potential for CBD to be used as an effective antidepressant. After they were treated with CBD, the animal models went through a variety of complex and stressful scenarios. The animals that consumed CBD had fewer cases of anxiety and depression.

Final Thoughts About CBD for Depression

Although there is admittedly a lot of research that must be completed, early signs are good. If CBD is an effective antidepressant, it is excellent news for patients with depression that are forced to take medication. While drugs are effective in certain cases, the long-term side effects are occasionally dangerous. Also, antidepressants are exceedingly expensive and the adverse side effects from trying to ‘wean’ yourself off the drug range from mild to severe.

To date, there is no evidence that CBD has any negative side effects. It is only a matter of time before human studies are performed; and if the results are as positive as testing on animals, the era of potentially harmful SSRIs could come to an end. Imagine a scenario where the world’s most effective antidepressant is growing all around us!

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Article Sources
Is CBD the Cure For Depression? [Exploring the Truth]
September 18, 2017
  1. Diana Crow

    Thank you for this helpful and informative article

  2. Jen Miller

    I know it definitely helps with anxiety. Works for me

  3. Alice P

    My name is Alice. I am applying for a medical marijuana card because I battle with severe depression and anxiety. I do use CBD, and it helps. Thank you for all the information on your site.

  4. Ryan Brand

    I think that CBD works best for anxiety and depression. At least that is what my doc told me.

  5. Molly Young

    I think when you have depression, you are willing to try anything. At least that is what I was like. Thank the lord I did!

  6. Andy Patterson

    My doc actually advised me to try this stuff. It helps. Very surprised as I am quite the skeptic.

    1. Adam

      So does it work?

      1. Andy Patterson


  7. Daria J

    I suffer from anxiety and social anxiety. Been using CBD for the last 4 months. At first I thought it was all a joke, but after 10 days, I started to see the difference. I feel much more calmer lately. Less stressed about situations that have always increased my anxiety levels.

  8. Jessica Dail

    I was hesitant to try, but it can help.

    1. Leon Smith

      I know it helps for PTSD and anxiety. My uncle uses it

      1. Andrew

        Me too!

  9. Anneon June 27 2018

    HOW DOES A FIBROMYALGI PATIENT DETERMINE WHAT DOSAGE OF CBD OIL TO TAKE? I have been on paxil for over 30 years after not being able to stand the side effects of all the others or they increased my depression, and the paxil does not stop the depression, it just keeps the depression from getting so bad that I start thinking suicidal thoughts. I have also had a migraine continuously for three years which was not alleved by botox injections, but does respond well to the narcotic tapentadol (also known as nucynta), but only for the migraine part, not the depression. Other symptoms I have is fatigue, sleep apnea, also tested that I never reach the deep sleep stage of sleep, also sleep walking, acid reflux and irritable bowl, slight brain fog, difficulty retreiver memory words, and lack of motivation so I am a constant procrastinator. Unlike most FM sufferers, the nucynta is very effective for all my pain in a relatively low dose that I have not needed to increase the dose in 4 years. I would really like to try CBD oil, but my doctor only follows the traditional treatment rules the Canadian Fibromyalgia society, so how do I determine oil dosage??

    1. Adam

      Hi Anneon – as we emphasize in most of our posts we are not doctors, and therefore we can’t recommend any specific CBD dosages outright. Your best bet is to either contact the company directly, or (preferably) get in touch with a doctor who specializes in medical cannabis and speak to them. There are many online resources for locating doctors that deal specifically with CBD and medical marijuana. Also, we recently published a post titled “How many milligrams of CBD oil should I take,” so that may be a great resource to get you going in the right direction. I hope this helps, and best of luck with your treatment. Here is the link to the article:

  10. Sam B

    I suffer from severe lower back pain. I had a surgery. Got pins and screws. While the pain i can deal with, it’s the depression that kills me. Will this help?

    1. Tate K

      No one can guarantee that it will help. Helps me though. Just get the good stuff

      1. Megan Hersom

        For me it helps. Not sure about other people here. I use a 600mg

  11. Holly Lee

    It is superb for depression, anxiety and acute pain. Helps in every aspect

    1. Patty

      Hi Holly
      Can you tell me what brand and how much you are taking please

  12. Kathryn Frere

    No one is mentioning a brand. Are posts being blocked? With a zillion manufactures of CBD oil it would be really nice to get the actual name of something quality that works. Is anyone willing to mention one?

    1. Adam

      Hi Kathryn, we hope that all is well. The reason for that is because we get a lot of spam from fake users who try to advertise their brands. We try to maintain a clean and respectable site that is objective.

  13. Rick J

    Answering the question in the title. I am not sure if it is the CURE but is damn right does help. I am living proof!

    1. Steph

      I agree with you Rick. Been using it for 3 months and I feel an enormous change. Can now get on with my daily things

  14. Dianne Lane

    At one point I was taking tons of pills for my depression. It just seemed to be getting worse. I took a different approach, changed my diet, took up yoga and use CBD. Feeling like a different person for the past 5 months.

    1. Adam

      Amazing to hear!

  15. Ellen K

    Answering the question in the title of this article – YES. It works!

    1. Alyson

      I second that. Don’t know what i would do without my miracle in a bottle

      1. Summer H

        After seeing this post I purchased a bottle. It arrived a few days later. My immediate reaction was – this won’t work, but I do feel less anxious and slightly more energetic. Will continue to post my results.

        1. Adam

          Great to hear summer. Let us know if you need any more information.

  16. Josh Tate

    Been using CBD for the past year. Much better than other medications I’ve used

  17. Laura

    I am considering CBD oil. I have mild to moderate Crohn’s disease with some arthritis but my major reason is chronic stress and anxiety. I have not had a full night sleep in over 19 years as I have a daughter with a rare genetic disorder who cries throughout the night. Thus lack of sleep which exasperates my anxiety and depression. My daughter has moved to a permanent residence but I still have anxiety attacks throughout the night. So my question is has CBD helped with your quality of sleep and has it helped with panic/anxiety attacks?

  18. Karen M

    I don’t know how I used to make it through the day. Since I’ve started with CBD I feel like a different person. I am not saying its a miracle cure but it has improved my outlook on life. I feel more energetic and focused. Plus I find that it’s easier for me to make decisions.

    1. Trish W

      Which oil have you been using. I am using purekana. It is working well, but I wanted to know if there are other oils that are a positive effect.

  19. Rita Kennedy

    Been using cbd for a while. At first i thought that it was a placebo effect. After my first month I felt a lot calmer and was less anxious. But then i had to see if it was the CBD. I didn’t take my CBD oil for a few days and ended up picking a fight with every person close to me. Also I felt like I started to fall back into my old mood. I think it is having a positive effect but I will keep you all posted.

  20. Josh H

    CBD is also perfect for inflammation. My doc swears by it.

  21. Anne J

    Helps with the anxiety that leads to my depression

  22. Alan Summers

    Been able to ween myself off Celexa. Still haven’t gotten off all my meds, but getting there.

    1. Adam

      Stay healthy Alan

  23. Jordan H

    Helps me for the most part with the anxiety related to my depression.

  24. Rhonda Copper

    Depression, anxiety and chronic insomnia. Been suffering for years. Actually since the age of 21. Tried Trazodone, Myoclonus and several anit-depressants. Some work, some don’t, others stop working after a while. And the side-effects are terrible. CBD has been working great lately. Still trying out different brands and bottles, but all seems to be going well.

  25. Natasha Pearson

    For years I’ve been suffering from depression and anxiety. Was taking pills. Lately I’ve switched to a healthy diet, CBD and I am practicing meditation. It helps. Significantly reduced the pills

    1. Tony Pierce

      How did you know which CBD to start with. From what I’ve read, it’s very individual. What works for one, may not necessarily work for another?

      1. Jeanne Perez

        Hi Tony, I know this question wasn’t directed at me but I cant tell you from my experience. It’s true each oil is different. I think it comes down to the extraction process. I tried a few. Lately been using purekana, but I’ve also used CW and elixinol. They all work well in their own way. The latest one seems to be having a positive impact on my anxiety. I use the 600mg. In regards to dosage, I started with what’s written on the label, but soon scaled up. I hope that helps

      2. Amanda

        From what I have learned so far, consifer the different strains. Sativa, hybrid, Indica. A professional (Dr/ Cannabis clinic counsellor) could help to clarify and make a choice.

  26. Belinda Harris

    I’ve always used weed as a treatment, but due to my age it started to have an effect on my lungs. Not sure why. Recently switched to CBD and it’s showing promising results. Love anything related to weed.

  27. Chris T

    Answering the title of this article; YES!

  28. Kathleen Casey

    Life is beautiful after depression. Thank you mary jane and you’re amazing extracts.

  29. Rebecca Deeds

    CBD is perfect for depression. I used to be on xanax. No more!

  30. Helen Zimmer

    So much happier lately. Been combining CBD with a healthy diet. Feel more energized!

  31. Sonja Tate

    Great read!

  32. Doris Gerhard

    I use these oils for anxiety. Pretty impressive medicine! No side-effects.

    1. George Tate

      Me too

  33. Sara C

    It helps with the anxiety. Some days it is more effective, some days less. Depends on my condition.

  34. Nancy Preuss

    Used to spark up joints, but lately my lungs can’t take it. Switched to CBD and I feel great. So much more positive

  35. Dave C

    I’m a believer!! This REALLY works!!

  36. Pat M

    It’s much better than the pills. Love this plant

  37. Kari Carpenter

    One word to answer the question in the title of this article; YES

  38. Dana

    CBD has decreased my baseline anxiety by 90-100%. ! By having less anxiety, I was able to stop drinking, after 20 years of drinking daily. And the CBD helped so much. I take pure CBD out of Oklahoma City. Very high quality and worth every penny. Daily drops under my tongue, a “sipper” for occasions when anxiety starts up a bit and I’m back to focus. It’s been amazing to me.

    1. Sonia Robinson

      I have a question to ask you I have post-traumatic stress and bipolar depression I don’t even want to get into the medicines that I wasn’t one or that I’m currently taking what CBD oil did you use to help with the depression and the post traumatic stress I see there’s so many ads and I’ve been looking into the everyday by the Stanley Brothers but I don’t know if that’s just for the seizures or did Charlotte’s oil or Hailey oil so what oil are you using?

  39. Christina Bright

    I haven’t found it to be a miracle cure, but it does help with the anxiety. Would recommend.

  40. Teri Boyd

    It’s cheaper and more effective than any other Med I’ve used. I actually call my little bottle my therapist.

  41. Jeane Noe

    Been suffering from chronic depression for years. CBD does help. At least I am off the meds

  42. Louise Grimes

    I discovered CBD oil through following a friend on Facebook. She would post all these amazing oils and how they helped her and her family. I honestly thought it was too good to be true and kept putting it off. It is extremely effective for depression and has improved my life.

  43. Sarah Yee

    Not sure if I suffer from depression, but I do get extremely tired and lack energy. Been using these oils lately and I have noticed a difference.

  44. Karen

    Yes. Cbd is very helpful for curing depression. I also use Cbd.

  45. Annette H

    It works. Been using pot for most of my life. I am such a reck without it. Lately been using the CBD stuff. It extremely helps

  46. Vickie Reeves

    I’ve been suffering from depression since my teens. I used to smoke pot, but lately due to age I’ve been using the oils. My lungs just can’t take it anymore

  47. Angela Roy

    Whether it is or it isn’t. It works for me!

  48. Jason H

    YES YES YES. Completely changed my life around from A to Z

  49. Adam Tatte

    I used to take Zoloft. No more! Hated that stuff. It used to make me so emotional.

  50. Veronica Smith

    No doubt, CBD is the right treatment for depression whether minor or major. I can notice huge difference in my stress levels when I take cbd

    1. Jude

      Which type or strain of CBD please

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