Over the last decade, an increasing number of people have started using CBD for depression. Why? Perhaps it’s due to a work-life imbalance and high stress with no signs of relief in sight….
Think we’re exaggerating?
We are a nation under stress. Consider the following:
- US life expectancy has fallen for 3 years in a row
- Over half of all Americans, or 55%, reported experiencing a lot of stress throughout their workday
- Nearly half of all employed North Americans, or 47%, reported not using all of their paid time-off
And unless you’re lucky enough to work at one of only a few select firms that’s encouraging their employees to use all of their holiday time and *GASP* not answer work-related emails or phone calls, then you’re likely to suffer from chronic stress and, possibly, depression.
Ah, yes. This work-life imbalance and increasing stress is slowly killing North Americans.
But you can’t just up and quit your 9-to-5 or go on holiday since you’ll still have bills and other stressors locking you down. As a solution, have you tried cannabis, or more specifically, CBD oil for depression?
After reading this comprehensive guide on CBD and depression, along with consulting your primary healthcare professional, you’ll likely be ready to take the first step in moving from SSRIs and adopting the extremely versatile cannabis compound in relieving your symptoms.
What’s Depression? 5 Common Questions Answered
Let’s first begin with a few quick facts about depression.
Depression, as defined by the APA’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), includes anyone who suffers from persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness or who is no longer interested in activities he or she once enjoyed.
Depression may also present as physical ailments to include, but not limited to fatigue, stomach issues, weight loss or gain, or an inability to concentrate.
Who is predisposed to feeling depression?
Scientists agree that there are numerous ‘risk’ factors that begin with genetic material, but can also include environmental factors (i.e., think PTSD here).
What are some of the environmental factors?
Besides work (see above) and school, some researchers believe that social media may play a factor as well as instability within the home.
This speaks nothing of the fact that an entire generation fought in two wars in the Middle East and a whole other generation grew up during the Great Recession. In short, take your pick of any number of potential environmental factors.
What age does depression occur?
Sadly, more and more Americans aged 12 and over are experiencing lasting depressive episodes with over 16 million citizens within the U.S. reporting at least one occurrence of feeling down per year since 2014. What’s more, approximately 7.5% of children under the age of 12 are experiencing varying degrees of lingering sadness.
How is depression normally treated?
Because there are currently five broad categories of depression – major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and depressive disorder – no two protocols are 100% alike.
That said, SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, alongside cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are normally recommended in varying proportions to patients based on their symptoms. However, there is currently no cure for depression,
SSRIs do exactly what their name suggests in that they prevent the brain from reabsorbing the neurotransmitter serotonin, which ferries happy and pleasant chemical messages between brain cells. The most common SSRIs on the market are Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Pexeva, Zoloft and Vibryd.
What alternative remedies are available for depression?
There are an increasing number of alternative ‘remedies’ one might consider in order to gradually shift away from feeling dependent on big pharma for depressive episodes. These include St. John’s wort, a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as folic acid, and SAM-e supplements.
But, one that’s becoming more talked about, researched and showing much potential is using CBD oil for depression.
Using CBD for Depression
CBD for depression — how does it work?
SSRIs block the reuptake of serotonin (the happy chemical) in one’s brain by acting in partnership with the body’s endocannabinoid system, making more serotonin available. Similarly, CBD does the same by modifying the actions of these naturally occurring receptors.
In other words, they bind the ‘output’ function and prevent serotonin from exiting the brain. In this way, therefore, they keep serotonin in one’s system longer for a boost in mood.
But don’t take our word for it, as modern-day science is finally starting to agree with what many have known for centuries.
What Does the Research Say About CBD for Depression?
Case study no. 1: As mentioned above, but demonstrated in this animal-based study from 2014, CDB prevented the activation of the neuroreceptors CB1 and CB2 as well as performed favorably in conjunction with the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.
Case study no. 2: This study from 2009 indicated that CBD dampened activity within the neuroendocrine stress axis, which is promising since, we are all under more and more stress (and with fewer and fewer options for holidays!). This is great news as it’s on the leading edge of preventing one from feeling depressed in the first place.
Case study no. 3: This last study from 2010 might be the most comprehensive and forward-leaning in that it considered the entourage effect with both THC and SSRIs joining the CBD party, with not only antidepressant action occurring within the brain, but also elevated mood!
5 Tips On Using CBD Oil for Depression
- Age: First off, consider the age of the individual experiencing a depressive episode as the causal effects of THC on long-term cognitive function are still not entirely clear, but are increasingly indicating that adolescent users may be at risk for schizophrenia or other mental health woes later on in life. An easy solution to this is to consume CBD in it’s extracted form.
- Avoid smoking or vaping: Consider how medicine interacts with the body, which is to say vis-à-vis the liver, therefore, ingesting CBD oil for depression in the form of tinctures and edibles is likely a more effective solution.
- SSRI pairings: No, this is not a joke. Just like SSRIs slow the reuptake of serotonin, CBD is showing promise in slowing SSRIs and enabling the prescribed medication to stay in one’s system for longer with a still greater impact on mood.
- Dosage: We say it time and again, but start low and go slow! This means consider just 5 to 10mg of CBD per day. Alternatively, you may even want to try a 25mg pill, but take care to watch for effects up to 24 hours.
- Don’t go it alone: Work with your primary care team and do not quit your SSRIs cold turkey as you may be left feeling worse and at risk of experiencing SSRI withdrawal symptoms such as sleep disturbances, flu-like symptoms, upset stomachs, and drowsiness.
Is CBD for Depression Right for You?
In an ideal world, quitting your 9-to-5 and jetting off to the Caribbean never to return to ‘the real world’ ever again might be the best therapy in treating depression.
But as that’s not entirely realistic, we strongly encourage anyone feeling more down than usual, on account of work, life troubles, stress from family, or a return from an overseas deployment, to consider, first, speaking with their primary physician, before using CBD oil for depression. That is, if SSRIs have been consumed for long periods of time.
Otherwise, given CBD’s minimal side effects and non addictive properties, using CBD for depression can be a low risk and potentially high reward solution.