CBD Oil for Depression – Can It Help? A Complete Guide

Mental health is important for all of us. Disorders such as depression and anxiety can significantly impact your happiness, physical health, and even your ability to complete everyday tasks.

The good news is that CBD has shown great potential as a treatment option for various mental health disorders, including depression.

CBD oil and depression

CBD oil use has soared in popularity in recent years thanks to its improved availability, familiarity, and recent research, which has detailed CBD’s impressive health-boosting potential. But did you know that CBD’s health benefits can even extend to reducing the symptoms of depression?

CBD is quickly gaining a reputation for its antidepressant effects and helping people feel better and function at their best mentally. Here’s why CBD is so popular as an aid for depression.

Research

CBD’s reputation as an aid for depression isn’t based on random personal anecdotes; studies show us that the cannabinoid holds significant potential as an antidepressant.

A 2020 study, for example, found that CBD could be an effective treatment for depression, as well as anxiety and pain. The New Zealand-based study was undertaken by the University of Auckland and found that patients who received CBD treatment experienced significant improvements to their depression symptoms.

Animal studies also help us to understand the antidepressant-like effects of CBD. One mouse-model study found that CBD’s effects on depression-like symptoms in the animals were so impressive that they were comparable to an antidepressant medicine called imipramine.

Anxiety 

Anxiety is closely linked to depression. Both make up some of the most common mental health disorders that exist, and they are also highly comorbid with each other, meaning that patients often experience both anxiety and depression at the same time. Reducing the symptoms of anxiety could, therefore, go a long way towards helping patients improve their depressive symptoms.

CBD has shown a lot of promise as a treatment for anxiety, with CBD being found to reduce the symptoms of anxiety in humans in multiple studies. By reducing your anxiety levels, you’re ensuring that your mental health is functioning at its best, which can only have a positive impact on depression.

How does CBD help depression?

As we know from the research, CBD can have an impressive positive impact on depression and even help to improve other mental health disorders, like anxiety. But how exactly does CBD do all this?

CBD is a naturally occurring chemical, and it induces its effects on our bodies by binding to different receptors in a range of locations. This binding then causes the various health effects CBD is becoming known for, depending on which receptor is affected. Here is exactly how researchers think CBD is helping you to fight off depression.

Increases serotonin

Serotonin is key to a good mood. Sometimes referred to as the ‘happy hormone’, this neurotransmitter plays a key role in mental health. Serotonin supplementation is even regularly used in the treatment of mood disorders like depression.

CBD is able to activate specific serotonin receptors that lead to you experiencing more of the mood-boosting effects of the happy hormone. CBD and serotonin are the perfect match when it comes to keeping your mental health where it should be.

Reduces cortisol

While serotonin may be great for your mood, another hormone called cortisol is not. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that plays a key role in the development of stress and anxiety, both symptoms that can result in and negatively impact depression. Having higher levels of cortisol has been found to increase levels of anxiety symptoms.

Luckily, CBD can help you reduce the stress-inducing effects of cortisol. CBD has been found to decrease cortisol levels by interrupting its production. This leaves you without its mood-reducing effects and will hopefully help to improve your depression symptoms.

How to use CBD oil for depression

CBD oil can be used in a variety of different ways for depression; deciding which method to use will largely come down to your needs and preferences.

Whether it’s simply placing CBD oil under your tongue, adding CBD oil to your morning smoothie, or vaping CBD oil, there’s an option out there for you.

An important factor to consider when choosing your CBD consumption method is the strength of effect that is best for you. Vaping, for example, will give you instant and strong effects, while eating CBD in food will give you more long-lasting but milder effects.

An option you may want to try when starting out is placing CBD oil under your tongue. While not as effective as vaping, it will still deliver you effective results and be longer-lasting. Consuming CBD oil sublingually this way is also an easy and fuss-free method.

How much CBD you consume will depend on the symptoms you are treating and the intensity of those symptoms. It’s best to speak to your doctor to help you assess your needs and determine if CBD is the best choice for you and if so what dosage will work best.

CBD side effects

The good news about CBD is that it is generally well-tolerated. CBD has a high safety profile, even at very high doses. Some mild side effects can occur from CBD use, however. These can include dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhoea.

One side effect you don’t have to worry about with CBD is experiencing a ‘high’. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that you won’t experience any of the infamous effects of cannabis when taking CBD alone. THC, another cannabinoid, is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. So long as you ensure your CBD contains no THC, then you won’t experience a high.

One way that you can reduce your risk of experiencing the mild side effects of CBD is by purchasing quality CBD from a reputable source. Be sure to look for CBD products that are regularly tested, meet high standards, and come from companies that are transparent about their production processes.

The bottom line

CBD can be beneficial for your mental health, especially in reducing the symptoms of depression. By reducing comorbid symptoms like anxiety and acting on key mood hormones, CBD can have a significant effect on your mood.

Before using CBD for your depression, it’s important to source a high-quality product and talk to your doctor.

MBChB (Otago), BSc (Auckland) - As our tele-medicine doctor and author, Dr. Waseem keeps busy educating both patients and doctors about medicinal cannabis. He also consults with people from all over New Zealand, offering a listening ear and giving the most relevant advice.

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