More than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression. In the USA, 6.7% of adults have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Fifteen percent of all adults will experience major depression within their lifetime.
That’s a lot of people. This extremely debilitating disorder can affect all aspects of a person’s life.
Living with depression is extremely difficult — especially because we really know very little about the root causes of this disorder. Each individual instance is unique and standardized treatments are not always effective in every case. The pharmaceuticals available for depression are often linked to a wide array of side effects nearly as debilitating as the disorder itself, and for many, finding the right medication can take months or even years.
This is the reason why many folks are starting to turn to CBD oil for depression. While there is still a lot of research that needs to be done, mounting evidence suggests that CBD may be a viable alternative that helps alleviate some of the symptoms associated with this disorder.*
In this article, we’ll go over the symptoms that characterize this condition, review the available treatments, and explore the option of using CBD for depression.
Symptoms and Causes of Depression
One of the reasons why depression is very dangerous is that scientists and psychologists don’t truly understand much about how or why it develops. A lot of people tend to simply categorize this disorder as a “chemical imbalance,” but that concept barely begins to grasp its complexity.
Major depressive disorder, also known as MDD or clinical depression, is a mental disorder that affects millions of people in the United States. The symptoms vary in severity and duration, and can affect a person’s general outlook on life, work habits, attitude, and other areas of their day to day lives.
In many instances, it can be difficult to identify the exact cause or causes of depression, although health professionals believe there are both genetic and environmental factors that may trigger the onset of this mood disorder. There are multiple symptoms associated with depression including but not limited to:
- Feeling worthless and hopeless
- Constant state of sadness and pessimism
- Loss of energy
- Change in appetite
- Anxiety and irritability
- Pains or aches across the body, including cramps, headaches, and stomachaches
- Difficulties concentrating and thinking
- Erratic decision-making
- Inconsistent sleep patterns
- Suicidal thoughts
Not all symptoms are necessarily present in every case. This can make depression hard to identify. In some cases, a depressive disorder can take years to be identified.
A Review of the Accepted Treatments
Like the majority of mood disorders, the treatment for depression relies on a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. In other words, a balanced mixture of medication and a psychological approach, monitoring and gradually lowering the pharmaceutical intake.
Healthcare professionals usually prescribe antidepressants to treat this mood disorder. The most common types are tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and selective serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
All of these medications attempt to treat depression from a chemical point of view. While it’s unclear if it’s actually caused by an imbalance, healthcare professionals believe that, in people with depression, medication can increase the brain’s ability to effectively use these chemicals. The goal is to create create a sustainable chemical balance that reduces depression symptoms.
Research shows that psychotherapy can be a very helpful form of treatment when used hand-in-hand with medication or individually. There are multiple approaches psychotherapists use to help identify the root of a person’s depression. This includes finding specific life-changing traumas (such as the sudden death of a loved one or a violent trauma), identifying distorted thinking patterns, and exposing behavior patterns that create negative thoughts.
Alternative Treatment Options: CBD for Depression
The biggest problem with currently accepted treatments is that they are not effective for all cases. Recent studies suggest that only about 20 out of 100 people that take antidepressants see improvement in their symptoms in the first six to eight weeks of treatment.
Some common side effects of antidepressant medications include:
- Lack of emotions or lack of caring in general
- Cloudy thinking or brain fog
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Loss of sexual drive
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
It’s no surprise that a lot of people are searching for alternative and natural remedies. And, given the fact that medicinal hemp extracts are going through a renaissance, many people are turning to CBD to help alleviate the symptoms associated with clinical depression.
Hold up – What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a natural compound found in the hemp plant. It’s a type of plant-produced cannabinoid, which are necessary chemicals for our bodies. Other examples of plants that produce cannabinoids include black pepper, echinacea, cacao, and black truffles.
Cannabinoids are part of the endocannabinoid system. Compounds like CBD help regulate basic functions such as sleeping, eating, and the perception of pain.
Does CBD Oil Make You ‘High’?
Unlike THC, the most infamous molecule found in cannabis plants, CBD is not a psychotropic compound. It cannot generate the euphoric feeling or ‘high’ associated with smoking marijuana. However, CBD users often report a soothing and relaxing effect, which is why it’s also used by people that suffer from anxiety.
CBD oil is made from hemp, an industrial type of cannabis that produces minuscule amounts of THC. For that reason, pure CBD oil from hemp may still contain up to 0.3% THC. This is 33 times less the amount required to produce any psychoactive effects. This has sparked major interest in cannabidiol, which has left many people wondering how to use CBD for depression.
Is CBD Oil Good for Depression?
CBD extract can be used to reduce chronic pain, insomnia, and other symptoms that characterize depression. Hemp and its derivatives have exhibited promising results when treating a variety of symptoms, including stress and chronic pain, which has encouraged those suffering from depression to turn to CBD oil for support.
It’s important to understand that CBD oil does not cure depression. Much research still needs to be carried out on CBD for depression and on how CBD interacts with Major Depressive Disorders, although its safety profile has been well-documented over the last few years.
Recent studies of animal models using CBD for depression have yielded promising results. The research found that cannabidiol is an effective anxiolytic and antidepressant in the given animal model. Studies also revealed good interactions between CBD and the neuroreceptor 5-HT1A, which is believed to play a key role in depression.
The primary reason CBD has become a popular support for those who have depression is due to its ability to improve symptoms related to depression. These include:
Pain Relief: Cannabis first gained prominence for its ability to treat severe and chronic pain. Many studies have demonstrated the analgesic capacities of CBD, which is one of the reasons cannabis and its extracts are often used to treat cancer-related pains.
Sleep Regulation: People that suffer from depression often experience lapses of insomnia. While other cannabinoids have not been as effective, CBD has shown the potential capacity to help regulate and establish normal sleep patterns.
Stabilizing Your Diet: There is an established link between our diets and depression. CBD interacts with neurotransmitters that play a role in central appetite control and helps to regulate the appetite.
Sadness: Serotonin and dopamine are two important neurotransmitters in the brain associated with the sensation of pleasure. People with depression tend to have low serotonin and dopamine levels. Researchers have observed that CBD encourage the release of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, helping to give the body a boost of happiness, calm, motivation, and pleasure.
Chronic Stress and Anxiety: Studies have also shown promising results at both behavioral and chemical levels for reducing stress and anxiety. Anecdotal evidence claims a reduction in stress and anxiety as one of the more common benefits of CBD extracts.
Addiction: The relationship between depression and addiction has been a big topic of conversation. It’s unclear whether people suffering from depression turn to substance abuse or if addiction actually induces MDD. Fortunately, there is preliminary evidence that proposes CBD may help people overcome nicotine additions. Results in animal models also suggest it may be suitable for opioid and psychostimulant addiction, giving grounds for further research.
Mood Regulation: Recent findings show that CBD may have powerful antidepressant properties. These suggest that CBD may be an effective treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and other mood disorders.
High-Quality CBD For Depression From The Healthy Place
People who have been diagnosed with depression may feel like they battling alone — but you don’t need to. Our team of Wellness Consultants are happy to come alongside you and any medical professionals to offer support. If you are interested in learning more about the best CBD oil for depression, come by our Madison store and our team will be happy to assist. If you’re curious, we also have a growing library of resources and research studies on CBD.
Let’s find your healthy place!
The Apple Wellness Team
*These statements have not been approved by the FDA. The information in this article and on our site should not be construed as medical advice. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or any form of psychiatric disorder, seek professional medical care. Never change, stop, or alter any medications you are currently taking before consulting with a medical care professional.
Check out our growing library of research studies on CBD oil’s benefits.
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