When anti-depressants haven’t been able to relieve the symptoms of depression, CBD oil may be able to help.
CBD has gained media attention for all of the benefits it provides to individuals suffering from a wide range of illnesses, and that includes mental illness. According to Medical News Today, a 2014 review found that “CBD appears to act as an antidepressant and antianxiety compound in animal models of depression.” In humans, a 2018 study found that “CBD has promise as a fast-acting antidepressant.”
How CBD Helps Depression
Researchers are still studying how CBD oil works in the body and mind. However, recent studies have found that it may affect how the brain’s chemical receptors respond to serotonin – through something called the endocannabinoid system. The compound doesn’t increase serotonin levels by stimulating production, but it instead makes the brain utilize the serotonin already produced more efficiently.
Research has also found that CBD can protect and stimulate neuron growth in the hippocampus – an area of the brain that atrophies in people with depression. The hippocampus governs mood and helps people experience happiness. As the hippocampus shrinks in people with depression, the more they feel sad and helpless. With CBD oil not only preventing the atrophy of the hippocampus but also stimulating neuron growth, it can recover, which can alleviate depression symptoms.
Effects on Anxiety with Depression
Nearly half of the people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety. Anxiety is a precursor to depression many times because of their negative thoughts. As people worry, they often think of the worst-case scenario, and as they experience that scenario, they not only feel nervous but sad as well. They may know their thoughts are not real, but the fear that they could become reality is devastating. Stopping the thoughts isn’t easy to do, especially for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. Often times, anti-anxiety medications are prescribed to calm the mind, which can slow down or stop the thoughts. This then helps relieve the symptoms of depression. Using CBD oil to help with anxiety is one of the ways people treat their depression.
Recent studies have been conducted that found CBD significantly lowered anxiety. One study, participants took 600 milligrams of CBD and experienced less social anxiety. In another study, half the dose was taken and that also reduced anxiety levels. What this suggests is that CBD can be effective in lowering anxiety even at small doses.
How does it lower anxiety levels? The same way it helps with depression. It affects the receptors in the brain that govern how serotonin is used, which causes the brain chemical to work more efficiently.
It also improves hippocampus functioning, which in turn, improves mood. Individuals with improved moods are more likely to be positive, which can curtail the generation of negative thoughts.
Increases in Anti-Depressant Effectiveness
CBD is metabolized in the liver, increasing the effectiveness of certain medications. This includes anti-depressants, such as Citalopram, also known as Celexa.
According to Peter Grinspoon, M.D., an instructor at Harvard Medical School, “Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in the body and play an important role in functions like digestion and respiration. They also help you metabolize antidepressants. One system is the same one that grapefruit inhibits – the technical name is the CYP34A enzyme system. So, just like grapefruit juice, CBD can cause your body to have higher doses of benzodiazepines [anti-anxiety medications] or certain antipsychotic medications.”
Individuals suffering from depression who take anti-depressants and haven’t seen much success with them may be interested in trying CBD oil to see if it increases their medications’ effectiveness. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s never a good idea to start taking a supplement without the permission of your treating physician or mental health professional. Discuss the possibility of using CBD oil with your anti-depressants to ensure there are no potential side effects you should be aware of beforehand.
Side Effects of CBD Oil When Used for Depression
CBD oil is regarded as safe, but some individuals experience mild side effects from its use. Some of these side effects are:
- Dry Mouth
- Sleeping Programs
- Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Those dealing with depression symptoms will realize that the possible side effects of CBD oil are also ones for depression. For instance, people with depression often feel fatigued, have dry mouth, sleeping programs, and gastrointestinal discomfort. The best way to know if the side effects are due to the CBD oil or the existing depression is to monitor any changes in their intensity and how it affects your quality of life. If there’s an increase in dry mouth but you have more energy, it may be a side effect you can live with since the increased energy levels cause you to feel less depressed since you’re being more productive.
CBD Oil Dosage for Depression
Speak to your doctor about the correct dosage for CBD oil for your individual needs. Studies have found that 300 milligrams were enough to produce some effects on people, but everyone is different. This is especially true when combining the CBD oil with anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications.
CBD Oil and Depression Takeaways
CBD oil may have a significant effect on depression symptoms. Researchers continue to conduct studies to identify how CBD oil works in the brain and how effective it can be in treating mental disorders. Those who are currently taking anti-depressant medication may experience an increase in effectiveness from them after adding CBD oil. Possible side effects may be similar to depression symptoms, so it’s important to pay attention to changes and speak to the doctor for guidance.