Did you know that CBD derived from hemp became legal in late 2018? Ever since its legalization, more people have been enjoying all of the benefits that come with using CBD. If you are battling depression and are wondering “does CBD help depression?” you are in the right place.
Keep reading to learn not only how does CBD help with depression but also other important questions.
Where Does Depression Come From?
Before diving into your question about CBD helping with depression, it’s important to understand where depression comes from. Depression is connected to inflammation and the changes the brain goes through after chronic stress or trauma. Inflammation and brain changes cause imbalances which can then lead to depression.
Other influences that contribute to depression include a person’s genetics, stressful life events, social isolation, physical illness, physical pain, plus a myriad of other emotional disorders.
Healing the Brain
What scientists have found is that when people suffer from depression the hippocampus area of the brain shrinks and wastes away. This is the area of the brain that is responsible for learning, memory, and emotion.
The good news is that the hippocampus has the ability to recover. It can grow new neurons and also form new connections. This process is called neural regeneration or neurogenesis.
Does CBD Help Depression?
Now for your initial question “does CBD help with depression?” The one-word answer is “yes.” Scientists believe that CBD is able to protect the hippocampus and also able to regenerate it through these pathways:
These are used throughout the body and the brain to help with inflammation, regulating memory, and appetite. CBD has been found to impact the endocannabinoid system and it has shown to also increase the brain’s natural endocannabinoid levels.
Through one study it was found that CBD increased levels of anandamide in the hippocampus. This increase then stimulated neuron growth.
CBD is able to activate a type of serotonin receptor known as 5-HT1A. This is similar to what the anti-anxiety drug called Buspirone does. 5-HT1A controls a wide variety of other neurotransmitters.
Because Buspirone increases neurogenesis in the opossum hippocampus, more than likely CBD also has the same or similar effects.
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
This is a protein that helps existing neurons survive. It also encourages new neurons to grow and encourages new connections known as synapses.
Scientists have done studies on mice where they have found that CBD increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the hippocampus while at the same time reducing depressive symptoms.
Studies have found that when CBD binds to this receptor, it tells the DNA to start making neuron-protecting compounds and anti-inflammatory compounds. PPARγ has also been discovered to help CBD stimulate hippocampal neurogenesis.
CBD for Anxiety and Panic
Anxiety and panic disorders are often associated with depression. CBD has shown to reduce anxiety. In a study done, scientists found that a single dose of 300 mg of CBD causes a decrease in anxiety levels after a public speaking test. Another study found that 600 mg of CBD caused a reduction of anxiety in people with a social anxiety disorder.
If you compare CBD to antidepressant medications it does have some benefits. Most antidepressant medications actually take a few weeks to start working and feeling a difference. CBD, on the other hand, has a fast antidepressant effect on people who have experienced PTSD, which means that you can start feeling better sooner.
Antidepressant medications also have common side effects like mood swings, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and agitation. CBD has yet to show these types of side effects.
Some people might be more sensitive to CBD and on rare occasions can notice changes in appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, or weight changes. As of right now, experts have not found any long term CBD risks because it has not been researched for very long.
Keep in mind that if you are already taking prescription medications, you do not want to stop taking them to replace them with CBD. First, you want to talk with your medical provider. Stopping medications can lead to serious side effects, you might have to wean off them little by little.
How to Use CBD?
There are different options when it comes to consuming CBD. You can opt for edibles, vape, topicals, or oral formulas.
If you prefer to eat and not taste CBD oils, you can opt for things such as gummies, drinks, or other CBD-infused foods. Vaping is another option if you prefer to quickly ingest the CBD compounds. Oral options include oils, sprays, tinctures, and capsules.
If you choose oral formulas you can use them in your smoothies or coffee if you would rather not taste it. Topical CBD products include creams, beauty products, and lotions. This type of formula is probably best for dealing with pain rather than depression or mental health uses.
Ready to Tackle Your Depression?
Now that you know more about CBD and depression and know the answer to the question “does CBD help depression?” are you ready to try CBD to see if it helps you with your needs? Please don’t forget that it takes time and patience to rewire a brain that is depressed.
Depending on how long you have been dealing with depression, will also affect how long before you see results. If you are in a crisis or are considering suicide please call a hotline or seek professional help.
Did you learn something new today? Please come back soon to always stay in the know.