Sadness and lows are a part of life, but we usually always end up finding the strength to process those feelings and recover. However, when that feeling of sadness takes over your life, it can turn into depression, a disorder that is detrimental to the body and mind. And it seems that one possible solution would be to use CBD for depression.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people worldwide are affected by depression. In the United States, the most common way to treat depression are drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotic and antidepressant medications, as well as medications that are also used to treat anxiety.
The problem with these medications is that they often lead to dependence, and usually the list of side effects outweighs the list of benefits. In fact, suicide is a possible consequence of depression medication use. The good news is that many recent studies have found that CBD has the potential to reduce symptoms of depression.
Read on to learn more about depression, how CBD can be a treatment option, what the studies say, and how CBD should be dosed for depression.
What is depression
Depression is a mental disorder that is associated with high mortality, substance abuse, impaired functioning, development of disease, and is a major risk factor for suicide. It is characterized by a loss of emotional expression, depressed mood, and slowed movement and thinking. People suffering from depression often feel depressed, lack energy, have trouble sleeping, lose interest in activities, and lose the ability to think clearly or concentrate.
Between 2009 and 2012, an estimated 7.6% of Americans over the age of 11 were diagnosed with depression. It was also found to be more common in women and people between the ages of 40 and 59. In 2015, approximately 16.1 million adults aged 18 and older had experienced at least one depressive episode in the past year.
Depression is often simplified as a neurochemical imbalance, and is usually treated as such. However, many scientists believe that, rather than being a cause of depression, neurochemical deficiencies are a symptom. As a result of this discovery, many researchers and clinicians have focused on prevention and minimizing possible causes. Hence, the use of CBD for depression is being investigated.
Depression is also believed to be related to problems such as inflammation and structural changes in the brain caused by chronic stress or trauma. But there are many causes that could contribute to an individual suffering from depression, including genetics, physical pain, past trauma, social isolation, physical illness, stressful situations and chronic stress, among other things.
How CBD might help depression
Although CBD does not cure depression, it has shown promise for its treatment. The human body produces its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids. Consuming fatty acids found in foods such as nuts, seeds and fish promote that production.
Many studies have shown that CBD can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of cellular molecules and receptors that help regulate body functions such as sleep, appetite and mood. By binding to certain receptors in the brain, endocannabinoids complement the action of serotonin, which is a neurochemical that relieves stress and improves mood.
CBD acts in the treatment of depression by enhancing the activity of the receptors to which serotonin connects. CBD’s effects on the SEC and its ability to release and optimize serotonin are responsible for producing the relaxing and calming effect often associated with CBD.
One of the main reasons CBD is believed to be effective in the treatment of depression is related to the 5-HT1A receptor, which releases serotonin. Thus, it is able to increase the production of serotonin and stabilize its presence in the body.
Serotonin affects motor skills and emotions. It is a natural mood stabilizer that helps with eating, digestion and sleep. Low serotonin levels could lead to depression. Using CBD for depression can increase serotonin production to aid in treatment.
CBD also affects the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that affects our limbic system. This is a system of networks and nerves in the brain that controls emotions such as anger, fear and pleasure. It is the same part of the brain that controls basic functions such as hunger, sex and childcare.
For more information about CBD, please visit Ecowatch CBD to learn more.