Should CBD Oil be Considered a Cure For Depression?

Nature works in mysterious ways
Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq. Medically reviewed by Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq.
Updated by MarijuanaBreak Staff / on July 15, 2019

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 U.S. 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, some are ruminating on CBD as a possible solution.

There is an increasing body of evidence which suggests that CBD may be 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 to discover whether CBD could be part of the solution for you.

What is Depression?

Although depression is a complex disorder, it can most simply be 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 that you once loved. If left untreated, depression can lead to an array of physical and emotional problems, as well as reduce your capacity to function at home and at work.

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

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

DID YOU KNOW: 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

Depression can manifest itself in various ways depending on the behavioral nature of each individual, but there are several medically-recognized forms of depression, which include the following:

  • 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. For example, it isn’t unusual for patients with depression to have physical symptoms such as back pain and joint pain. This is because the brain chemicals that influence mood, norepinephrine and serotonin, also affect our perception of pain.

DID YOU KNOW: People with depression are more likely to commit suicide? Anywhere between 30-70% of people who commit suicide have major depression or some form of 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. Also, when seeking treatment, don’t limit your options. There are an increasing number of ways to combat depression, and there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Traditional Depression Treatments (That Don’t Involve CBD)

Depression is no different from any other illness insofar as treatment should be tailored to an individual’s specific 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.

Psychotherapy as a treatment for depression

There are a variety of treatment techniques involved in psychotherapy for depression. Typically, patients speak to a licensed and trained therapist who helps them identify and work through the issues that are causing the depression.

The goal of psychotherapy 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.

prescription Medication as a treatment for depression

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.

DID YOU KNOW: Over 10% of Americans take antidepressants, which are the most commonly used medications among people aged 18 to 44?

Of course, we’ve mentioned in the past about the assortment of adverse (and potentially dangerous) side effects that can come along with taking these kinds of medications – especially on a frequent, day-to-day basis.

For example,  while SSRI’s are inarguably effective at increasing serotonin levels in the body, few people realize that too much serotonin can cause unwanted, potentially fatal side effects (a condition often referred to as (Serotonin Syndrome). If your serotonin levels get too high, for instance, you can experience symptoms like erratic body temperature, diarrhea, deliria, seizures, heart arrhytmia, and high blood pressure – just to name a few.

The same goes for SNRI’s, which are typically prescribed for shorter-term use given their potential for inducing manic episodes. While SNRI’s work similarly to SSRI’s in that they increase levels of serotonin in the blood, they too can result in a swarm of side effects. And indeed, some of the more “routine” side effects of reuptake inhibitors (things like anxiety, uncontrollable perspiration, and restlessness) are seen more commonly with SNRI’s than SSRI’s.

Furthermore, serious side effects such as liver failure and thoughts of suicide are not uncommon among long-term SNRI users. And of course, both SNRI’s and SSRI’s are capable of producing severe withdrawal symptoms after discontinuation. Among other things, SNRI withdrawal can include diarrhea, nausea, anxiety/paranoia, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue. As you’ll see shortly, these risks of side effects are just one of the reasons why more and more victims of depression are looking to CBD as a possible alternative.

CBD for Depression: How Does it Work?

As mentioned above, many 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. Moreover, the unpleasant side effects can make it hard to comply with medication regimens.

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 cannabis compound THC, which offers relaxation but with psychoactive effects, the CBD found in cannabis provides relief without any form of a debilitating ‘high.’

| Unlike THC, the cannabis compound CBD does not produce any psychoactive alterations in the brain.

CBD acts on the 5-HT1A receptor, the same receptor that binds serotonin, the neurochemical mentioned above that impacts mood. Research has found that in mice, CBD was able to decrease the depressive symptoms of anhedonia (lack of pleasure) and hyperactivity.

Another study from 2014 used animal models as a means of showing the potential for CBD to be used as an effective antidepressant. After the subjects in the study were treated with CBD, they were exposed to a variety of complex, stressful scenarios, and it was observed that the animals who consumed CBD had fewer cases of anxiety and depression-related symptoms.

Final Thoughts About CBD for Depression

Although there is still much research that needs to be completed, the early indications are that CBD may be helpful in combatting depression. And if CBD does in fact turn out to be an effective antidepressant that gains FDA-approval, this would be excellent news for patients looking for an alternative to traditional prescription antidepressants.

| Imagine a scenario where the world’s most effective antidepressant is growing naturally all around us!

While antidepressant drugs are effective in certain cases, their side effects can range from unpleasant to completely prohibitive. To date, there is no evidence that CBD is addictive or dangerous. A number of clinical trials are currently underway, and if the results are as positive as recent testing on animals has been, the era of relying on traditional antidepressant medications may be coming to an end.

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Article Sources

  1. Kathryn Dean
    Miracle Stuff

    The difference it’s made in my life is insane.

  2. Mark Gleason
    Full spectrum may not be full spectrum.

    I had to look high and low until I found a true full spectrum hemp oil. It included a normal amount of the and all of the other cbd compounds. Life is better no more anxiety and depression after I had open heart surgery. Pain was reduced and I was able to get off the opiates prescribed by my doctor. Thanks to this web site.

  3. James
    I purchased 3 bottles of CBD oil, in a short period, I felt reliefe from back pain. I ran out and it wasn't long till the pain came back!

    Yes, this has definitely worked for me. I had no idea of all the possibilities! 🙂

  4. Nick Mehta

    Oh yes! This is already working for me. What a great article 👌

  5. James
    Good read

    Good read.

  6. Richard Jeske
    Greatest natural anxiety relief there is!

    I totally believe this. I’m not what people would call a “pot head”, however some nights a few hits of indica (night time weed) gives me a good nights sleep. Its a genetic thing that many in my family dont sleep well. I personally would rather have a few hits of weed (totally natural) than take prescription drugs to get a good night of sleep. In addition, my 2 dogs are terrified of thunderstorms (which keeps me up even more). Our vet prescribed Xanax for them which had no effect whatsoever. A close friend of ours told us about CBD oil. Now, if a storm is approaching, my wife and I will give them the recommended dosage and they sleep right through it with no anxiety at all. THANK YOU CBD PEOPLE!!! :o)

  7. Rochelle
    Great article that any stoner would want to read.

    I was on anti-depressions for more than two years and when I started smoking, I felt like I didn’t need the medication anymore. It must be because marijuana has a soothing effect on a person.

  8. Thomas
    TRMD & GAD

    I have treatment-resistant major depression and Generalized Anxiety (often considered two sides of the same coin). Cannabis and THC help a lot, as does CBD/hemp. CBD induces a blissful, contented state in me and THC helps shuttle cannabinoids past the blood brain barrier, so win-win! I also always go for full-spectrum CBD products as that gives the best effect aside from THC.

  9. Joanie
    CBD helps depression.

    CBD helps depression. It has helped me, if I am not chosen, I will be depressed. Chose me please. Never depressed smoking a blunt to help my depression.

  10. Joanie
    CBD help depression.

    CBD helps depression. It has helped me, if I am not chosen, I will be depressed. Chose me please.

  11. Rebecca Miller
    Full spectrum CBD is a more likely candidate for depression

    I believe cbd can help some patients with depression, but to make a blank statement that it can cure depression is unlikely. Science may be able to determine the most productive use for cbd in time with much needed clinical studies. I personally believe full spectrum cbd will be the medication that will releave and even cure not only depression but a plethora of ailments.

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