Cannabinoids are substances that occur naturally in the cannabis plant – there are hundreds of different types, one of which is called CBD (also known as cannabidiol). CBD has gained recognition in recent years for its success in treating a variety of ailments, potentially including depression and anxiety. There are over 264 million people worldwide who suffer from depression. While there are several established treatments available, including herbal remedies and even hypnotherapy, antidepressants are the most widely used by far. The problem is that antidepressants can cause insomnia, nausea, headaches, and more (discussed later). Despite limited clinical testing, many medical professionals believe that CBD offers a more effective, natural treatment to depression and anxiety. However, it may not be right for everyone. If you or someone you love is considering the use of cannabidiol, check out the following points, which give a brief overview of the important pros and cons of how CBD can help combat depression and anxiety.
Differences Between CBD and THC
It is no secret that CBD comes from the same plant that is used to produce marijuana. However, the psychoactive response (otherwise known as feeling high) is caused primarily by THC, another prominent cannabinoid. As well as the psychoactive component, THC has been known to offset ailments such as nausea and chronic pain.
If you are concerned about the possibility that CBD will get you high, you have no need to worry. After extraction from the cannabis plant, CBD contains only trace amounts (less than 0.3%) of THC, which is far too little to induce a psychoactive response. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, contains much higher levels of THC and has different effects to CBD.
Benefits of CBD for Treating Depression
CBD has been shown to offer a number of benefits to people suffering from depression, including mood support, stress reduction, and help sleeping. Put simply, research has shown that CBD reacts positively with neuro-receptors in the brain, meaning they exhibit a better response to the serotonin in your system. Serotonin is an important hormone, which can have a positive influence on mood, creating feelings of happiness and well-being.
Studies show that as well as alleviating the symptoms of depression, CBD has clear anti-stress effects. In turn, this can reduce stress levels, which contribute to stress-related depression.
CBD is often compared to synthetic antidepressants because they work in slightly similar ways, and both have a positive effect on mood. However, there are a number of key differences. The main one is the reduction in potential side effects when using CBD (discussed in a separate point). Antidepressants have been linked to several issues, including erectile dysfunction, withdrawal symptoms, and a host of digestive problems.
Benefits of CBD for Treating Anxiety
Anxiety and panic disorders have different symptoms to depression, but cannabidiol has been shown to counteract them equally effectively. Studies conducted on rats revealed lower behavioural anxiety signs after CBD was applied. They also showed a reduction in heart rate and other tell-tale symptoms of anxiety.
Studies into other neurological disorders revealed that cannabidiol has shown a promising antipsychotic activity and could be used as a treatment for schizophrenia. Again, CBD products are relatively new, and clinical research is currently limited. Yet the results have been largely positive so far.
How to Use It
CBD products come in a variety of forms. It is most commonly bought as an oil for ingestion but can also be found as a capsule or edible spray. There are other products too, like topical creams and ointments. These are best for dealing with localised pain, and do not have a significant effect on mental health.
There are also different types of CBD oil, each containing slightly different cannabinoids. Remember, you should always conduct your own research before deciding on a product that is right for you. Be sure to buy from a reputable source, and check reviews from similar users to ensure you are getting what you paid for.
Potential Side Effects
One of the principal concerns that many users face when buying CBD products is a lack of consistent regulation. However, the World Health Organisation believes that they are relatively safe, based on the studies that have been conducted thus far. This does not mean that CBD use is without side effects. While most user reviews suggest it is reasonably well-tolerated, possible adverse effects can include:
- Fluctuations in mood, appetite, and continence.
Clearly, these are not as quite serious as the potential side effects associated with traditional antidepressants. However, there does need to be more research into the long-term effects of consistent CBD use.
So, there you have it. Despite limited research, experts are cautiously optimistic that CBD oil could prove to be an effective treatment for depression or anxiety. If you are thinking about trying cannabidiol, it’s important to do your own research beforehand. Make sure to consider the health benefits along with the potential side effects, as outlined above.
Header image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay
CBD image by Julia Teichmann from Pixabay