Latest News & Information on Medical Marijuana & CBD for Depression Treatment
- 4 min read
- Updated 534 days ago
Depression can be debilitating. Some depression patients may even reach the point of believing that their life is not worth living. But depression doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
More and more people are finding new hope for their depression, turning to cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana (MMJ) to treat the symptoms of their condition.
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.
WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) considers depression to be a serious mood disorder. It hammers you with persistent feelings of sadness and a general loss of interest—influencing how you feel, think, and act.
The disorder is not as uncommon as you might think. According to the APA, it strikes one in six people at some point throughout their lives. Scientists have not pegged the exact cause of depression, but Mayo Clinic suggests any of the following factors can contribute to its development:
- Physical changes in the brain
- Dysfunctional neurotransmitter-neurocircuit interactions
- Hormone imbalance
CBD AND MMJ FOR DEPRESSION TREATMENT?
Most likely, when you were diagnosed with depression, your doctor began treating you with some type of psychotherapy, as well as one or more antidepressants. The problem with antidepressants and other pharmaceutical drugs is that finding the right one can take several tries, and the “right one” can take weeks to register any positive effect.
You may have also experienced adverse side effects from these drugs, including weight gain, dry mouth, and maybe some sexual problems. Some of these drugs can even prompt thoughts of suicide. If the symptoms get to be too much, you may try to stop taking them, and the withdrawal can be nothing short of a nightmare.
These are the reasons so many depression patients have turned to CBD and MMJ as new, natural, and non-addictive ways to treat their symptoms.
CBD for depression shows merit. Its psychoactive but non-intoxicating properties are what make it useful as a treatment. The substance is found in cannabis, but it doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating ingredient that delivers the high most people associate with cannabis.
There are several ways to administer CBD. Patients who take it for depression report that vaping CBD oil works fastest, quickly getting into your bloodstream, with nearly immediate effects.
Other people who want to treat their depression in a more long-term, sustained way prefer to use the oral tincture every morning, much as you would a multi-vitamin, by placing a few drops under the tongue or adding them to a drink.
Once it’s in your system, CBD works with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is basically a communication network. The CBD interacts with this network to enhance the activity of receptors in your brain cells that bind with serotonin (your body’s “happy chemical”).
If you’re worried about CBD’s habit-forming tendencies, read the World Health Organization’s report on CBD (WHO) report on CBD, which confirms that CBD does not lend itself to abuse or dependence, nor does it present any type of public health problem.
"CBD interacts with this network to enhance the activity of receptor in your brain cell that bind with... your body's 'happy chemical' "
What the Scientists Say About CBD and MMJ for Depression
Some people might still have trouble getting past their preconceived ideas about CBD and MMJ to see it as a legitimate medical treatment for depression. For those doubters, a review of some scientific research in the area might help you reconsider. Consider the following studies:
- In 2018, the Journal of Affective Disorders reported that cannabis with high CBD and low THC was linked to the greatest perceived changes in symptoms of depression. The study reported research on medical marijuana patients, which found that a single puff of cannabis with high CBD and low THC was ideal for cutting depression; that two puffs of any variety of cannabis was enough to reduce anxiety; and that 10 or more puffs of high-CBD/high-THC cannabis produced the greatest stress reduction.
- CBD promotes a “rapid and sustained antidepressant effect,” according to the abstract of a 2019 paper published in the Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy.
- The WHO’s report on CBD lists depression as a disease for which CBD may have therapeutic benefits, basing this classification on the oil’s antidepressant effect evidenced in studies.
- According to CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, CBD exhibits “great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound.” (Anxiolytic drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders).
What Depression Patients Are Saying
Reading through current online activity, it looks like many CBD users are tapping it to treat depression connected to withdrawal from either antidepressants or prescription pain medicines. Others use CBD to treat depression stemming from either a genetic disposition or traumatic life experiences, like abusive childhoods.
One user talks about how CBD allowed her to change from a “secretly sad, lonely, depressed” individual and back to her former, extroverted self. “Life without CBD is no life for me,” she insists.
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