CBD has become one of the most popular supplements on the market today. Indeed, the product is so popular that it is expected to more than double in sales every year for the next three years. This is an exceptionally high growth rate, one driven by CBD's purported ability to address many ills. Among those issues is depression, a mood disorder that strikes tens of millions of Americans every year.
If CBD can truly help reduce depression symptoms, it could be a game-changer within the world of mental health, and there is some evidence to show that this is the case. So, what is depression, and how can CBD help?
Read on for more.
What is CBD?
CBD is a type of cannabinoid that has become very popular since its federal legalization. It is extracted from the hemp plant and can be used in edibles, tinctures, creams, balms, and more. Contrary to popular belief, it is not anything like marijuana and cannot get you high. It works by altering the functioning of your body's Endocannabinoid System, which keeps your body in a state of homeostasis. This, in turn, can help people with a variety of emotional and physical problems - including depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is one of the more common mood disorders that many people face. It is responsible for a variety of other symptoms, including apathy, fatigue, weight gain, and more. The good news is that depression is often treatable with medication and therapy.
Furthermore, there is research that demonstrates CBD's ability to help treat depression. While that research has not hit the point that the drug is available for prescription, there does seem to be evidence to suggest that CBD can be helpful.
What Does the Research Show on CBD and Depression?
Research results thus far have been positive. It seems that CBD may be able to helpreduce the symptoms of depression.
One popular theory is that CBD interacts with either serotonin receptors in your brain, making your brain more likely to respond to this neurotransmitter. Serotonin is highly involved in mood regulation, and many antidepressants directly address your serotonin levels.
Studies have shown positive interaction between CBD and mood. One review examined the studies that had been conducted on CBD and animals, noting that available research demonstrated a positive connection between depression reduction and CBD use in the animals tested.
These findings were reconfirmed in a 2018 review on the same subject. Another study examined the effects of CBD use in animals and noted that the impacts of CBD reduced depression symptoms in a "fast and sustained" way.
Other Impacts of CBD on Depression
Depression, like every other physical and mental disorder, does not exist in isolation. It is impacted by a variety of other influences.
Depression and stress are unquestionably related, and available evidence indicates that CBD can reduce stress levels. A small study conducted in 2018 found that CBD was able to reduce stress levels among participants.
CBD may also have positive impacts on pain levels. Pain is a common cause of depression - particularly for people who suffer from some sort of chronic pain. There appears to be good news here, as well, as some evidence suggests that CBD can be useful at reducing certain types of pain. For example, a 2018 review examined available literature and found that the theoretical backing for CBD assisting with pain reduction was sound, and that the compound can be impactful at reducing pain.
CBD could reduce other types of pain as well. For example, a study in rats found that CBD can reduce arthritis pain and swelling. This study was so convincing that the Arthritis Foundation actually put together a page on best practices for CBD use on their website. Other studies have found that CBD may be able to reduce pain caused by other disorders, including Multiple Sclerosis spasticity and cancer treatments.
All of this - along with studies that show that CBD may be able to reduce anxiety - show that CBD has wider impacts than just directly reducing depression. CBD can help mitigate symptoms of depression and these broader impacts can have a positive effect on your mood.
What's the Best Way to Take CBD for Depression?
One of CBD's greatest benefits is its extreme level of versatility. CBD can be taken in a variety of ways, including balms, edibles, drinks, vaping, tinctures, and more. However, all of this variety can cause some confusion: What is the best way to take CBD when it comes to depression?
This is a difficult question to answer, because there is no one size fits all answer. It often comes down to preference. The way you take CBD can alter your experience. This is mainly because the way that you take CBD can alter the speed at which your body begins to feel its impacts.
Taking CBD oil sublingually - or under the tongue - is very fast, as this allows the CBD to be absorbed into your bloodstream quickly. Eating or drinking a CBD substance is the next fastest, but this can take more time, as the food or drink will have to travel through your stomach and be absorbed. Slowest is topical application, as the CBD has to travel through your skin and muscle before reaching your bloodstream.
CBD is not like taking an anti-depressant or a tranquilizer. If you take it to boost your mood, it will take time to work. Taking CBD topically is not a good way to treat a mood issue. Topical use of CBD is typically associated with muscle pain or skin problems, and is not usually used for mood enhancement.
CBD has shown tremendous promise as a supplemental treatment for depression. It has also been found to be very safe, with rare or mild side effects. Still, you should always speak with your doctor before taking CBD for depression, as there are some drugs that are known to have negative interactions with the compound. You should also make sure that any CBD you take has been tested by a third-party, thus verifying its ingredients, as there is evidence to suggest that some vendors do not accurately label their products. Find a vendor that you can trust, with a third party lab analysis and strong customer service.
These warnings aside, there appears to be good news. Evidence is promising about CBD use and treating depression, and while more evidence is likely in the future, the news thus far does show promise for CBD and depression.