According to the SingleCare, over 264 million people suffer from depression, making depression one of the most common disabilities in the world. Many patients seeking treatment will resort to taking prescribed antidepressants, but some have begun to wonder, does CBD help with depression?
Depression is Serious
Depression can distort a person’s perception of the world without warning and often impact one’s quality of life. SingleCares states that depression is also known to be a silent killer as 1 percent of women and 7 percent of men diagnosed with depression end up committing suicide.
Scarily enough, suicide is also one of the leading causes of death in teenagers, so it’s justified to seek other treatment plans for something as impactful as depression. This iCBD blog has provided insight as to how CBD oil can alleviate anxiety symptoms which brings optimism as to whether or not CBD is an optimal choice for treating depression.
Similar to anxiety, there are several different types of depression with varying degrees of severity. In order to thoroughly determine whether or not CBD does help with depression, let’s recognize some types of depression and how some of the symptoms align with anxiety-related symptoms.
- Major depressive disorder: MDD is the most common form of depression. Some symptoms include decreased appetite, sadness, guilt, loss of concentration, helplessness, and suicidal ideation.
- Bipolar depression: bipolar depression is associated with extreme “high” and “low” moods. Manic episodes are coupled with high energy, overstimulation, racing thoughts, or euphoric behavior while depressive episodes include lack of energy, sadness, loss of concentration, and helplessness.
- Season affective disorder: depression that lingers during the colder months when sunlight is more scarce. Symptoms will usually dissipate after the winter months ends. People located in cooler climates also have a higher chance of developing SAD.
- Perinatal depression: depression that occurs after giving birth. According to Healthline, hormone irregularities from pregnancy impact your mood and end up being the culprit to shifting moods and depressive thoughts.
- Situational Depression: everyone can experience situational depression from significant events in one’s life. Specific situations that cause this type of depression can be shaky relationships, illnesses, problems at work or school, or environmental changes.
Does CBD Help With Depression?
While there have been a handful of studies conducted on whether or not CBD is good for treating depression, more preliminary studies are required in order to make a proper conclusion, but fear not, for CBD has still shown promise.
Depression and Studies
CBD oil has been proven to help people suffering from overexertion by providing pain relief, enabling better sleeping habits, and acting as a fast-acting antidepressant. The article introduces a rat study that determined that a dose (7-30mg/kg) dose of CBD produced antidepressant-like effects when rats were forced to do a swim test.
Because depression is often associated with feeling helpless, this study shows optimism that CBD may have therapeutic effects when treating people with depression. Though the study states that more clinical studies are needed to further support their findings, with more research, CBD could maybe become a suitable treatment for MDD.
Another study, released in 2020, revealed that medical cannabis users reported a 50 percent decrease in depression symptoms and a 58 percent decrease in anxiety and stress. The study reports that “high CBD (>9.5 percent) /low THC (<5.5 percent) cannabis was associated with the largest changes in depression ratings.”
According to Healthline, low levels of serotonin can lead to depressive thoughts, anxiety, and insomnia, which is why doctors may recommend selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help combat this imbalance.
A 2014 study performed forced swimming tests, elevated plus mazes, and Vogel conflict tests on animal subjects to observe the effects of CBD on the brain. The study concluded that most of these tests have shown promising results between CBD and the E-HT1A neuro-receptor - a subclass of serotonin receptors.
5-HT1A receptors are located in areas of the brain that control mood, which is no surprise since serotonin plays a big role in a person’s mood. The Psychopharmacology Insitute website reported that lower amounts of these receptors have been found in suicide victims.
Since a large number of suicide victims have an underlying mental illness, it makes sense why doctors may want to target these receptors when treating depression.
So, does CBD help with depression? Based on the trials conducted so far, it’s hard to give a definite “yes” answer as more research must be done, but as CBD gains more traction, more studies will be organized. If you’re a person seeking treatment for a mental disorder, please remember that there is no singular product that can cure depression.
While there are medications out there that have helped others, everyone’s body is different as one treatment regimen may not work for another person. If CBD does help a person with their depression, that doesn’t mean it will for sure help you. Not only does CBD - possibly - help with depression, but it also has been shown to subdue anxiety that is often intertwined with depression symptoms.
When seeking proper treatment, remember to be patient and transparent with your doctor in case any of your symptoms worsen. If you do want to incorporate CBD into your treatment plan, be sure to prioritize your health and ask a doctor for permission. If you’re interested in learning about CBD and its possible side effects, check out this iCBD blog.
If you're feeling upset with no warning and losing joy in things you used to love, talk to people you trust, whether that's family, friends, online support groups, or a therapist. Depression is serious, and it is never something you should feel guilty about addressing, whether that's with medication, rest, comfort, or maybe CBD.
Written by Brianna Borik