CBD for Mood
Cultivating Happy Thoughts: How CBD Might Help with Depression
Table of Content:
- What it's like to live with depression
- Enter CBD: what it is and how it works
- How to take CBD for depression
- Other natural ways to cope
- Key takeaways
SummaryRacing thoughts, uncontrollable emotions, and hopeless views in life— all these miserable symptoms can have a debilitating impact on a person’s quality of life. While depression is merely stereotyped as a moody state of mind, it is (in fact) a serious mental health condition acknowledged by WHO. As medical researchers continue to look for alternative solutions and complementary treatments, CBD has been positively reviewed as a potential supplement against the disturbing symptoms of depression. In this article, we’ll look into a variety of natural properties found in this newly-developed wellness ingredient and how they show promise in the management of mental illnesses, including depression.
What it’s like to live with depression
While every person may occasionally experience hopelessness, sadness, and other negative thoughts and emotions that sometimes disappear in a couple of days (provided there is enough strength to recover), others may find it most challenging to get away from such sentiments. When life seems to be bleak and boring for months, if not for years, one should become concerned about having developed a serious mental health illness called depression.
This diagnosable condition, initially classified as a mood disorder, affects approximately 300 million people of all ages worldwide, according to the latest report of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It poses negative impacts on human physical and mental activities, particularly impairing a person’s ability to function, concentrate, and maintain relationships at their highest level of wellness.
A depressed person feels completely disinterested in the previously enjoyed life activities and social bonds. Moreover, they might also experience permanent hatred, sadness, discouragement, low level of energy, and a complete lack of motivation. Other symptoms may include anxiety, disrupted sleep and appetite, and an increased feeling of guilt. In the worst case, a severe depression might lead to substance abuse and even suicide if left unchecked.
There is no single cause of depression. Typically, many groups of factors may play along, such as:
- Biological (genetics, brain chemistry, hormones)
- Psychological (traumas, stressful events, disturbing life experiences)
- Social (isolation, unemployment)
- Physical (a progressive health condition like cardiovascular disease or cancer)
In terms of strength, depression can be classified into mild, moderate, and severe. While a person typically continues fulfilling domestic and work duties during the mild depression, most social activities cease in a severe depressive state. Furthermore, when depression lasts for an extended period of time, it is called chronic. In case depressive episodes such as loss of enjoyment and energy repeat for at least every two weeks, it is called recurrent depressive disorder.
Despite being a widespread mental health illness, social stigma against depression remains among the most common reasons many people fail to seek professional help. In addition, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, to date, against depression. However, a combination of methods, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, may help overcome the disease.
Enter CBD: what it is and how it works
CBD, scientifically known as cannabidiol, is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant (the industrial hemp variety, to be precise). With its promising therapeutic potential, CBD has been gaining high momentum in the research field for various therapeutic purposes, including pain management and anxiety relief. While studies surrounding CBD’s potential benefits for depression remain limited (at least at the moment), some researchers believe that CBD might positively impact the brain’s “happiness hormones” known as serotonin receptors.
But first, one should break the stereotype of CBD making people “high”. Such confusion usually arises when CBD is mistaken with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid known for its intoxicating effects. Despite having similar atomic compounds, CBD and THC act differently in our brain and body. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause any intoxication- making this cannabinoid a natural alternative to THC and marijuana.
Back to the subject, it has been shown in a recent report that cannabinoids like CBD might have an intriguing relationship with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a specialised universe inside our body responsible for maintaining overall balance (known as homeostasis). It went on suggesting that when CBD reaches the ECS, it may potentially restore balance in the central nervous system by holding positive contact with the cannabinoid receptors (such as CB1 and CB2 receptors) as well as the serotonin receptors in the brain. Since serotonin affects the feeling of happiness among other moods and behaviours, keeping it at a stabilised and balanced level might be the key to managing depressive symptoms- which CBD could possibly do.
In fact, several studies in the past have already shown that CBD might have the ability to supplement stress, pain, and sleep (all of which may result in anxiety) and thereby touches on various symptoms of depression, according to an article published in the Permanente Journal.
How to take CBD for depression
CBD is available in countless formulations, including edibles (such as capsules, gummies, mints, etc), oils and tinctures, topicals (like creams, balms, salves, or lotions), and vapes. These products may vary when it comes to their primary ingredients, level of strengths, and dosages.
Oral ingestion, or simply taking CBD capsules for instance, is one of the most popular ways of consuming the potential nutrients of this cannabinoid among people with depression. By swallowing through the mouth, the active ingredients of CBD are thought to pass through a metabolic process in the digestive system, which may usually take a few hours and therefore allows CBD to stay in your body for a long time.
Another commonly used method of consuming CBD is called the sublingual administration, where a few drops of CBD tincture are placed under the tongue for a few seconds before swallowing, giving CBD enough time to reach the bloodstream through the essential glands located underneath the tongue. With a more direct pathway through the bloodstream, taking CBD sublingually is touted to have a higher bioavailability (the amount and rate of a substance to reach the bloodstream and deliver its potential benefits to its targeted areas) among others.
So far there are no universal guidelines to follow when it comes to proper CBD dosing. However, it is generally recommended to always start with a minimal dose and then gradually increase it, if necessary. Some anecdotal reviews suggest that promising results are often obtained with higher CBD dosage. You may refer from our main CBD dosage guide for further recommendations if you are suffering from serious health conditions, such as depression.
When taking CBD for a specific illness, it is important to note people may respond differently to various dosages. The right amount of CBD for your needs might vary, and so discussing your CBD intake with your physician is imperative.
Other natural ways to cope
If you are living with depression yet anxious about getting professional help or taking any related medications, there are many natural ways to counter some of the depressive symptoms you might be experiencing. Alongside CBD use, some of the following healthy lifestyle changes and other natural alternatives might make sense as well:
- Getting more sleep (fun fact: sleep and mood usually go hand in hand)
- Practising meditation to tap your spirituality
- Performing workout sessions and other physical activities
- Limiting caffeine or alcohol intake
- Seeking social support from trusted friends and family members
- Eating a well-balanced diet on time
- Recognising negative thoughts and working on healthier replacements
- Rewarding yourself for achieving your goals
CBD is becoming an increasingly popular wellness supplement that might help with a variety of health conditions. Nonetheless, it is very important to understand that CBD does not eliminate all the root causes of depression. While more clinical studies are still needed to confirm its potential benefits for mental health, CBD (in conjunction with mainstream treatments and healthy lifestyle habits) might just be the first step towards a better mental health.
Is it possible to take too much CBD for depression?
CBD oil is neither intoxicating nor causes dependence, provided that the right dosage is applied. While many preliminary studies have found that doses of up to 1,500 mg CBD per day are generally safe and well-tolerated, starting small and working your way up to your preferred amount may be the best way to avoid any cases of overdosing to CBD.
Can a depressive person cope with social isolation?
Living with depression often causes a person to withdraw from toxic positivity, which only further triggers feelings of emptiness and isolation. Try reaching out to your trusted loved ones in whatever manner is most comfortable for you, even when you’re not in the mood for any social activities. Doing the things you used to enjoy might not make you feel quite the same; however, getting a breather by spending time with people who care about you might help you fill that void and get a little better.
Can I replace my traditional antidepressants with CBD?
CBD is not intended to substitute any traditional medications for depression, including professional coaching, therapies, prescription medications, and social group sessions. However, incorporating CBD into your daily life routine, alongside mainstream medications and healthy lifestyle changes might just be a good place to start.
How long does it take for CBD to take effect?
Our bodies may vary in terms of chemical compositions, which explains why every person may have a different response or sensitivity to CBD- the same that goes with any other supplements. Some people may experience possible improvements in their symptoms after just a few hours of taking CBD while others may have to wait a few days to see any potential changes. It might be best to monitor your CBD intake to help you determine the appropriate CBD dosage that will work for your needs.
Can CBD interact with other mainstream medications?
Some experts believe that CBD might have the ability to alter the potential effects of other specific medications, causing an inefficiency of the drugs or an increased risk of their adverse effects. Hence, it is essential to always consult your physician first prior to taking CBD alongside other traditional medications, especially if you suffer from a serious health condition or experience any warning signs of depression. Your doctor might be able to create a plan that works for you by monitoring the levels of medication in your system. This way helps you find a safe and healthy way to use CBD as a complementary supplement to your prescription.