We all know depression is a serious condition, which can lead to a series of emotional and physical problems for the individuals. It is actually more severe as compared to what most assume it to be.
What is Depression?
It is a disorder associated with an individual’s mood. You can consider it a mental illness, which can have a long-term impact on the way people think and behave in their normal life. People suffering from this disease often have negative thoughts and feelings. Such people may suffer from a loss of interest in life and their day-to-day activities. Severe forms of depression can even lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
What are some of the major symptoms of depression?
If you are not sure about the symptoms of depression, then here is the list of symptoms that you or your loved ones could be facing. Identify these symptoms and determine if you are suffering from depression.
- Loss of enjoyment,
- Excessive boredom
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite changes,
- Changes in sleep patterns,
- And thoughts of suicide
What is going in your body when you are depressed?
This is something that most of us should know but there is not much information available in the not so medical literature that we generally read. Most people believe that depression is the result of the chemical or hormonal imbalance in the body.
No doubt, hormones have their role but depression is not only about the imbalance only. There are various other factors involved as well, which can cause depression. These include inflammation in the brain or other structural changes. These conditions can arise as a result of chronic stress or trauma. Sometimes genetics also have an important role to play in it.
Specifically, shrinkage in the hippocampus part of the brain has been observed in individuals who are suffering from depression. This part of the brain is responsible for memory, emotion, and learning. So, depression is not anything made up; it actually can create a lot of damage to your physical and mental health.
The good thing is that Hippocampus has a tendency to repair itself and come back to the original position. The generation of new cells and forming new connections is the key and it is possible through neuro-generation.
Changes that you have to make to get out of depression:
As discussed in the last section, your brain undergoes structural changes while in the depression mode. So, to take it back to its original position, the generation of new cells is required. Most of the medicines and other treatments available for treating depression work on this aspect.
The compounds present in these remedies enhances the cell generation in the brain for improvement. CBD is one of the treatment mechanisms that can be used in cases of depression. A detailed discussion about CBD and its effectiveness in depression is discussed in the following sections of this article.
What is CBD?
I am sure that you already know about CBD but if you are just familiar with the name and aren’t sure what exactly it is, then let us share a brief overview of it. CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is one of the components of cannabinoid (which is found in cannabis plants).
Usually, the CBD that we are talking about is extracted from the hemp or marijuana plant. Although these plants are known for the “high” effects. It does not happen because of CBD rather another compound THC is the reason for building up that feeling. CBD is a calmer component and is responsible for treating multiple diseases.
Use of CBD for depression:
The use of CBD for depression actually impacts the brain through multiple dimensions. It helps in the stimulation of endocannabinoids, which in return stimulates the growth of neuron, thus increasing the prospects of making the necessary structural changes to cope up with the depression.
BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factor:
BDNF is a protein that is responsible for the sustenance of neurons and forming new neurons. Some of the studies conducted to test the level of this protein after the use of CBD have indicated a positive activity in the Hippocampus.
Increase in Serotonin:
Serotonin is responsible for handling a wide range of functions of the body. A surge in its level has been observed in the patients who take CBD. CBD triggers the serotonin receptors and the result can be seen in the form of positive activity in the brain.
This is another receptor in the body that helps in the proper functioning of the neurons. The C BD, when consumed, binds with this special receptor to signal DNA about the production of compounds that are anti-inflammatory and help in the protection of neurons. The results are a more neural activity in the brain, which improves depression.
Studies related to the use of CBD for depression:
With more and more studies being conducted on CBD and its benefits, the use of CBD has increased already. However, when it comes to research studies, most of them have been conducted on animals up till now.
One of the research studies conducted in 2014 showed that the intake of CBD in animals impacts the receptors in the brain and as a result, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety impact is created. Although, the results of this research are quite positive but the only concern here is that the entire study has been conducted on animals, so generalizing the results on humans at this stage would not be a good idea.
A review study of 2018 has reached to conclusion that CBD can generate an anti-stress impact in the animals because of which reduction in the depression level has been observed.
Additionally, some research studies have also indicated that lower serotonin levels can increase depression. However, the use of CBD can change the way in which the brain receptors perceive the existing serotonin in the body, making an individual feel better.
Which is better – CBD or antidepressants?
You could be wondering why anti-depressants aren’t a clear choice in case of depression? But the thing here is that most of the anti-depressants perform lower in case of depression or anxiety as compared to the CBD products. Additionally, they are known to have an addictive impact.
One of the recent studies conducted on animals highlight that CBD could have a fast impact on the mood. It is too early to assume that the same impact of CBD usage would be seen on humans as well but still you can see that it is impacting animals and is faster as compared to the normal antidepressants.
One thing to note here is that we are not encouraging you to leave your prescribed medicine and switch to CBD. You should take your doctor’s advice on it and make an informed decision depending on your condition.
Can there be any side effects of using CBD for treating depression?
Yes, CBD is not an “all good” thing. Just like any other drug it has its own side effects that can impact the consumers. Some of the most reported of these effects include
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
However, these side effects are not encountered by everyone. Even the World Health Organization review of 2017 has declared CBD as generally safe for use.
How to use CBD?
In order to reduce depression, CBD usage can be in any of the forms you like. It can be in the form of tincture, capsules, or vaping. Usually, a topical style of use won’t work as it is mostly for treating skin issues. So, you can decide for yourself and choose the one that it easier for you to buy.
Various research evidence has been found in favor of the use of CBD for depression. CBD stimulates multiple processes simultaneously to help the brain with the structural as well as the hormonal changes leading to depression. Most of the studies conducted on the brain have proven it already; however, limited research has been conducted on the use of CBD in humans and its impact.
But with the existing knowledge that we have about this compound it is highly effective in treating depression and other mental illnesses. It is better to consult your doctor before using it, as he/she will be in a better position to evaluate your condition and providing you with the best possible piece of advice.