Anyone suffering from depression knows that it can impact almost every facet of life in negative ways. It can cause distancing from loved ones, lack of motivation, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, and basically just sucking enjoyment out of every aspect of life. This includes things you used to enjoy. This troublesome mental health condition affects millions worldwide and it remains a complex and multifaceted challenge. Traditional treatments like therapy and medication have proven effective in many cases, but researchers are always looking for innovative ways to support individuals battling this debilitating condition. CBD (cannabidiol), one of the non-psychoactive (non-intoxicating) compounds derived from the cannabis plant has shown some promise in the fight.
We want to caution that medical advice should always be sought by anyone suffering from extreme depression (resources are listed below). And you should always speak to your physician or psychiatrist before changing a medication regimen or adding to one. But there are some early studies that suggest CBD might offer a ray of hope as a complementary therapy for depression.
Understanding Depression and its Challenges
Everyone suffers from the occasional bad mood, spell of sadness or just a general lack of zest for life. But depression is more than just occasional feelings of sadness; it's a persistent state of abnormally poor mood. It interferes with daily life and can impact everything from work productivity to personal relationships. Science suggests that the exact causes of depression are complex and involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Traditional treatments, including psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, have proven effective for many individuals. However, a significant number of people either don't respond well to these treatments or experience undesirable side effects.
CBD: An Introduction
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its psychoactive counterpart, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not induce a "high." That is, it is not intoxicating. Instead, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a complex network of receptors in the body that helps regulate various physiological processes, including mood, sleep, appetite, and stress response. You can read more about the Endocannabinoid System and how it works in our blog or through a huge variety of sources.
Exploring the Link Between CBD and Depression
There is still only early-stage research into the potential benefits of CBD for depression, but several studies have shown intriguing results. CBD is believed to influence serotonin receptors in the brain. These are the same receptors which are targeted by traditional antidepressant medications. Serotonin is one of our neurotransmitters – a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, as well as between neurons and other cells in the body. Serotonin plays a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions. By modulating serotonin receptor activity, CBD may have an impact on mood regulation.
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2019 found that participants who used CBD reported a reduction in depressive symptoms. Again, it's important to note that this study was not a controlled double-blind trial, so the results should be interpreted cautiously.
The Need for Comprehensive Research
We would love to say definitively that CBD can help people with depression. This isn’t just because we are fans of CBD, it is because depression takes a huge toll on individuals and society. We are aware of many people that have found it beneficial as a part of their approach to dealing with depression, but even much of the credible research suggests that about 50%-60% of people find it helpful. This is far from a cure, but it is certainly worth exploring. More rigorous research is needed. We are often frustrated by the lack of larger scientific studies and the rigor of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials around all the cannabinoids. The decades long (and continued) prohibition around cannabis frustrate these efforts. And obviously, the variability in CBD products on the market further complicates matters, as the concentration and purity of CBD can vary widely between brands and products. We hope that as the market continues to mature, CBD and other cannabinoids will be better researched and may add to the accepted tools in the battle against depression and other conditions.
Seeking Professional Guidance
At the risk of sounding like a public service announcement - If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it's imperative to seek guidance from mental health professionals. While CBD may offer a supplementary avenue for managing depressive symptoms, it should never be a replacement for evidence-based treatments like therapy and prescribed medications. Individuals with severe depression or those taking psychiatric medications should consult their psychiatrist or doctor before incorporating CBD into their treatment plan. CBD has a strong safety profile and few side effects, but medication interactions are possible. Many times doctors will want the “one therapy at a time” approach in order to accurately track what is helping (or not).
Using CBD for Depression
If you choose to try CBD for depression or add CBD to existing therapies, here are a few fundamental steps:
If your condition is anything more than mild depression and / or you are under a doctor’s care for it, please talk to your doctor first.
Choose a full spectrum CBD option unless you are routinely drug screened.
We usually recommend starting with oil as you can vary the dose easily and adhere exactly to the “start low, go slow” method. See our dosing guidelines for details. Don’t worry, if you don’t love the taste or dealing with drops, you can switch to another method once you determine your ideal dose. If you can’t tolerate the taste, gummies can work, but you should start with partial gummies and work your way up.
Plan to stick with consistent dosing for 2-4 weeks. Just like many other supplements, there is a cumulative effect over time and it may take some incremental increases to arrive at an effective dose. Plan to dose 2x per day and adjust up or down as you progress.
Track your mood, sleep, appetite, or whatever else is impacted by your depression. Sometimes changes are subtle, and people don’t notice unless they pay close attention. Our dosing guidelines have a tracking sheet which may help.
Resources for Assistance
For those facing difficulty in managing depression, there are numerous resources available for support:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Crisis Text Line (US): Text "HOME" to 741741
Samaritans (UK): 116 123
Beyond Blue (Australia): 1300 22 4636
Befrienders Worldwide: Visit www.befrienders.org to find helplines in your country
Conclusion: A Step Toward Hope
In your (or your loved ones) journey to manage and overcome depression, we hope you will explore a holistic approach that includes a variety of evidence-based treatments, therapy, lifestyle modifications, and potential complementary therapies like CBD. Depression is a serious condition, but with the right support and resources, there is always hope for a brighter tomorrow.
We hope you will not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. We can not offer medical advice, but we can help guide you through the myriad CBD options that are available. Call us at 407-235-0653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org