May is mental health awareness month and what better way to kick it off than discussing how to improve your mental health. As you know, CBD has many health benefits, including pain relief and acne reduction. But did you also know that CBD can help with mental health issues like anxiety and depression?
What is Mental Health Awareness Month?
Every year, millions of people suffer from mental illness. There is a lot of misinformation stigmatizing mental illness, so it’s important that we take time to really understand why mental health is so important. Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States, and was started by the organization Mental Health America, then known as the National Association of Mental Health.
Each year, the organization releases a tool kit for the upcoming activities, which are conducted in May under a different theme each year. 2021’s theme is Tools 2 Thrive, keeping the same theme as last year. The tool kit provides “practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation,” and provides information on the following topics:
- Adapting after trauma and stress
- Dealing with anger and frustration
- Getting out of thinking traps
- Processing big changes
- Taking time for yourself
- Radical acceptance
Why is Mental Health Awareness Month important?
With the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on everyone’s mental health, it is important now, more than ever, that we take care of ourselves. We must reduce the stigma around mental illness that prevents so many from seeking adequate help. Health starts from the inside out, and if you don’t take care of your mental health, you will not be able to take care of your physical health.
How can CBD help?
The cannabis plant has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It contains more than one hundred different compounds, the most popular being cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound that produces the psychoactive effects that the cannabis plant is known for, while CBD does not have any psychoactive effects, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful.
CBD oil is a growing healthcare trend. It can be used for anything from acne to pain relief, but it is also known to treat anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, and Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
CBD for Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety disorders are a common problem for thousands of people, affecting 19.1% of Americans every year. Some studies cite CBD as a great natural way to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. A 2015 study in the journal Neurotheraputics cited studies that found CBD as an effective treatment for a number of anxiety conditions, such as:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. There are many effective treatments for depression including pharmaceuticals and therapy, but interest in more natural alternatives has surged in recent years.
In most cases, depression is caused by low serotonin levels. Most antidepressants work by acting on the serotonin receptors in the brain. Animal studies suggest CBD may impact serotonin receptors and produce antidepressant-like effects.
Typically, anxiety and depression are treated with prescribed medications, many of which have undesirable side effects, such as agitation, insomnia, headaches, drowsiness, or even sexual dysfunction. CBD is a great natural alternative, with far less serious side effects. That being said, you should always check with a doctor before adding CBD to your routine, as it has the possibility to interact with certain medications.
How do I know which type of CBD is right for me?
This all depends on personal preference, although evidence suggests certain types of CBD are more effective than others. There are three types of CBD oil on the market:
- CBD isolate – This is pure, isolated CBD oil. It contains no other cannabinoids.
- Broad spectrum CBD – This does not contain any THC, but contains terpenes, which are other compounds found in the cannabis plant.
- Full spectrum CBD – A full spectrum product will contain CBD and terpenes, along with up to 0.3% THC, the legal limit.
As stated before, the cannabis plant has over one hundred different cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, affect your endocannabinoid system, which regulates everything from sleep to appetite. It works to keep your body in homeostasis. Most research suggests that the use of multiple different cannabinoids, such as CBD, THC, and terpenes, is more effective than using CBD alone. This is called the entourage effect.
Choosing which product is right for you means deciding how much of an effect you want it to have. If you go with a full spectrum CBD oil, you are guaranteed a more effective product; however, if you don’t want the THC, a broad spectrum product may be better for you. Overall, it depends on preference.