Depression is a real and widespread condition affecting the population. One in six people seek treatment for depression every week, and its effects are deep and far-reaching. When one is depressed, they feel worthless, lose interest in activities and have low self-worth. To understand the relationship between CBD, and why it is effective in dealing with depression, one must first grasp the ways depression can physically affect the brain.
The information in this article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis and does not replace seeing a mental health professional. If you think you are suffering from this disease, consult with a health professional immediately. To find a health professional in the Highbrow network, click here.
Depression has the potential to affect the physical structures of the brain- from inflammation to oxygen restriction even actual shrinkage. Recent research from the Journal of Neural Transmission showed that specific parts of the brain—specifically in the limbic region -- can decrease in size in people afflicted with depression. Other parts of the brain can also be affected – such as the hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala as well as the frontal and pre frontal cortices. The amount of areas exhibiting shrinkage is directly related to the severity and length of the episode in the depressed person.
Brain inflammation is another issue seen in depressed persons. A recent study by The Lancet showed the relationship between brain inflammation and people with untreated major depressive disorder. In this cross-sectional study, participants ranging from 18-75 with major depressive episodes were studied. The results showed that people depressed for more than 10 years exhibited 30 percent more inflammation compared to people who were depressed for 9 years or less, drawing a direct correlation between the amount of inflammation in the brain and the duration or persistence of depression. Brain inflammation causes cells to die leading to a dysfunction in brain development as well as issues with learning, memory and mood.
In a study by Science Direct, depression was also linked to a reduction in oxygen in the brain. Breath is life and patients with depression seem to be short on oxygen, exhibiting something called hypoxia—a condition where not enough oxygen makes it to the cells. While it is unclear why this happens, or what exactly causes it, it is highly problematic. The brain is naturally very sensitive to oxygen restriction, so any reduction could cause cell injury, inflammation and even death.
The Role that the Endocannabinoid Signaling Plays in Depression
Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the limbic part of the brain. This is the part of the brain which processes emotions. Research shows that stimulation of these cannabinoid receptors plays a role in modulating anxiety and depression. The deletion of CB1 receptors in the brain creates anxiogenic properties, meaning that when the endocannabinoid system is interfered with, you are likely to develop anxiety and depression. At the same type, deletion and blockade of CB1 cells leads to the development of depressive phenotypes.
How CBD Helps Deal with Depression
Research has already established that CBD stimulates the same receptors that are affected by the ECS system. It simply means that when CBD is introduced to the brain of a person with anxiety and depression, it augments the ECS, which reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression. When you introduce CBD to your body, it helps you fight depression in the following ways:
It is important to note that while CBD is a great natural way to deal with depression, with fewer side effects, it does not serve as a replacement for medications offered by a doctor. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that if you are dealing with depression, you consult with your doctor before stopping a prescribed protocol or beginning a new on.
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