If you or someone you love suffers from depression – you’re not alone. 1 in 12 Americans and more than 300 million people worldwide struggle with depression which can cause sufferers to experience changes in their sleep habits, energy levels, appetite, ability to concentrate, daily behavior, or their self-esteem. In the last several years, many people have begun to use CBD for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. But does it actually work?
Cannabidiol, (CBD) is derived from the cannabis plant – hemp and marijuana are two strains of the same plant, each containing different chemical compounds. However unlike marijuana, hemp does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for producing marijuana’s “high”. Hemp contains high levels of CBD, but little or no THC.
Many plants contain cannabinoids, and CBD is actually one of more than 120 naturally-occurring cannabinoids, including dark chocolate (cacao), cloves, echinacea, cinnamon, and lavender. These natural compounds have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments all over the world. If you’ve ever had your wisdom teeth pulled, you probably already know that dentists frequently use clove oil to relieve tooth pain. Echinacea, which can be found at almost any health food or grocery store, helps to boost our immune system, to fight off the cold or flu. And like CBD, dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao has been used as a mood elevator.
CBD For Depression
A new study published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology reported that CBD could be a faster-acting and more effective antidepressant than prescription medications currently used to treat depression. The researchers discovered that CBD had a long-lasting antidepressant-like quality.
Study author Samia Joca of the University of Sao Paulo said, “CBD emerges as an interesting compound, since it has shown large-spectrum therapeutic potential in preclinical models and clinical trials. Therefore, we became interested in evaluating CBD effects in different animal models of depression with the aim to better characterize its potential as an antidepressant drug, as well as study its underlying mechanisms.” Joca says CBD could provide the researchers with new insights on treatment for depression, “with easy translation to the clinical scenario, since CBD is used in humans for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as epilepsy.”
CBD for Anxiety and Mood Disorders
Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million adults (more than 18% of the population) in the U.S. alone, making them the most common mental illness in America. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.” Anxiety disorders give sufferers a diminished sense of well-being, a higher suicide rate, higher rates of unemployment, and increased relationship strife. Nearly one-half of people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
However researchers have found promising new evidence that CBD may be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A recent study also found that CBD may be an effective treatment for panic disorders as well, which are suffered by more than 5% of Americans. According to Brazilian researchers at University of Sao Paulo and Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, CBD contains “anti-panic properties”.
CBD has a GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”) rating by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although some users have reported experiencing minimal side effects including dry mouth, dizziness, stomach discomfort, sleeping difficulties, fatigue, or changes in mood. Your mileage may vary. While CBD is available in a variety of forms, a recent study conducted at the State University of New York, Albany found that vaping CBD oil is most effective. In June 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) concurred reporting that aerosolized CBD works faster and more effectively than oral CBD applications.
After the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, a slew of new studies began, in hopes of discovering whether or not CBD might be effective in treating a variety of ailments. While researchers continue to learn more, early study results on using CBD for depression, mood, and anxiety disorders appears extremely promising.