cbd for depression

December 15, 2021 By admin Off

CBD, on the other hand, is purported to have a wide range of health benefits without these psychoactive effects. Some research suggests that CBD has antidepressant-like effects, which means it may hold promise in alleviating symptoms of depression.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional. Depression may worsen over time if left untreated, but there are effective treatments available including psychotherapy and medications.

It is also important to note that CBD is available in isolate (only CBD), broad-spectrum (contains other cannabinoids but not THC), and full-spectrum (contains other cannabinoids, including THC).


Most of the available research suggests that CBD is generally well-tolerated and produces few side effects. However, this does not mean that people may not experience any unwanted side effects, which may include:

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cannabis contains more than 80 compounds, known as cannabinoids. The main cannabinoid that most people are more familiar with is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive substance that produces the "high" characteristic of marijuana.

Other studies suggest that CBD may help alleviate symptoms of depression by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in a range of functions in the body including the regulation of mood. It may help contribute to feelings of happiness and well-being. It is also often implicated in the onset of depression and many types of antidepressant drugs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

However, one animal study suggests that CBD might have some possible benefits by comparison:

CBD vs. Antidepressants.

Research suggests that CBD has antidepressant effects, although it is important to note that many of these are animal studies.  

According to the World Health Organization, the available evidence suggests that CBD is relatively safe.   However, the long-term effects are not entirely clear.

CBD products are not subject to regulation because they are marketed as supplements, which means that you don’t know if you are really getting what is described on the label. Because these products are not regulated, you have no way of knowing for sure what you are getting in terms of purity, safety, and dosage.

One study published in 2018 suggested that cannabidiol does not increase serotonin levels; rather, it appears to work by influencing how the brain responds to serotonin that is already there.  

Possible Side Effects.

So how does CBD compare to traditional antidepressants? True comparisons of the effects are not yet possible simply because there is not enough research on CBD’s effects.

CBD holds promise, but that does not mean that you should turn to cannabidiol products over traditional treatments for depression.

CBD can also be used topically in creams, salves, lotions, and balms, although it is likely to only produce localized effects in this form. E-liquids that are inhaled via vaping are also available, though vaping comes with its own risks.

Cannabidiol is available in several different forms, although only those that are ingested are likely to produce any antidepressant-like effects or other mental health benefits. It may be taken orally as an oil, spray, or capsule. CBD may also be added to edible products including beverages, candies, or chewable gummies.

Interest in the potential mental health uses of cannabidiol (CBD) has grown tremendously in recent years, including the use of CBD for depression. CBD is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp.

Anxiety and depression are pathologies that affect human beings in many aspects of life, including social life, productivity and health. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a constituent non-psychotomimetic of Cannabis sativa with great psychiatric potential, including uses as an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound. The aim of this study is to review studies of animal models using CBD as an anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like compound. Studies involving animal models, performing a variety of experiments on the above-mentioned disorders, such as the forced swimming test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and Vogel conflict test (VCT), suggest that CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Experiments with CBD demonstrated non-activation of neuroreceptors CB1 and CB2. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.

Experts believe careful CBD dosing may help temper anxiety-induced racing thoughts that can cause disrupted sleep as well as panicked awakenings during the night. (In some people, though, too much can make anxiety worse, so be sure to dose slowly and carefully).

While the research and anecdotal evidence is promising, because CBD is unregulated, it’s difficult to study, and any given sample can differ from the next, which means it’s also tricky to determine just how effective it is. Factors like the severity of depression and anxiety, as well as genetics play a role. And the benefits aren’t universal either.

Dry-herb Vaporizing: For patients who are feeling all kinds of jittery and need more immediate relief, some experts recommend vaping CBD through a dry-herb vaporizer, which heats up dried CBD flowers (unlike traditional vape pens which require oil-based cartridges). These are relatively safe because they avoid the by-products produced from burning plant material and can be set to a desired temperature that allows you to get the most benefit from the CBD you are consuming.

The Society of Cannabis Clinicians has a provider finder on their website where you can look for health-care professionals in your area who are well-versed in CBD. The Association of Cannabis Specialists is another great resource for researching cannabis clinicians near you. Another option: Hit up your local CBD dispensary. Oftentimes, they may be able to tell you which physicians are sending their patients in to buy CBD.

Maybe you’re already an expert on CBD, so feel free to skip to the section below; if you need a crash course, follow right along. CBD is one of two primary chemical entities (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant (the other one is tetrahydrocannabinol, THC). Unlike THC, which is what causes you to get high, CBD has no psychoactive effects (one reason why so many people are trying it). CBD derived from hemp differs from marijuana by its THC content. Hemp has less than the legal limit of 0.3% THC, while marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC.

How Does CBD Impact the Brain?

Author of Medical Cannabis and CBD: A Physician’s Guide for Patients; Internal Medicine and Primary Care Doctor.

Found mostly in the brain, the CB1 receptor is thought to tame central nervous system inflammation and help modulate the effects of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that oversees mood. In fact, the way many antidepressants work is by increasing serotonin in the brain.

We went to some of the nation’s top experts in CBD to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

Oils or Tinctures: Keep in mind, not all CBD plant extracts and formulations are created equal (blame it on the wild west unregulated substances create). However, experts believe the most effective form of CBD is an oil or tincture (alcohol-based solution) that’s placed under the tongue. These sublingual preparations ensure the cannabinoids get distributed throughout the body. This method bypasses the gut, which is why experts often prefer it to edibles, most of which get destroyed by the gastrointestinal system. Every person will react a little differently due to their individual biology, metabolism, and DNA, natch.

Member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association; co-founder of Cannabis Care Team.

Understanding how CBD affects the brain starts with a lesson about the endocannabinoid system (ECS), basically the biggest system in the body that you’ve never heard of. It controls just about every internal function we have. Movement, pain sensation, immune responses, temperature, mental functioning like perception, mood, and memory—you name it.

Generally, it takes about 20 minutes for CBD to make its way to the bloodstream (though every person will react a little differently due to their individual biology, metabolism, and DNA, natch).

Experts believe the most effective form of CBD is an oil or tincture (alcohol-based solution) used sublingually (placed under the tongue). A sublingual preparation ensures the cannabinoids get distributed throughout the body. For patients who are feeling all kinds of jittery and need more immediate relief, some experts recommend vaping CBD through a dry-herb vaporizer, which heats up dried CBD flowers. These are relatively safe because they avoid the by-products produced from burning plant material and can be set to a desired temperature that allows you to get the most benefit from CBD you are consuming.

So, you’ll need to do a bit research. Look for integrative and holistic physicians who understand how to support and educate you in the use of phytomedicines.

Who Should Consider CBD for Anxiety & Depression (and Who Shouldn’t)?

changes in appetite.

CBD may also have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. In a study on mice published in CNS & Neurological Disorders , researchers found that when depressed rodents were given CBD, it impacted the way their brains’ chemical receptors responded to serotonin, producing an antidepressant effect.

The ECS is like Big Brother, constantly keeping an eye on things so when something’s not working right, it can take action. For example, let’s say your body generates a whole lot of heat after a workout. In this case, endocannabinoids bind to receptors, which then alert the ECS that it’s time to get your body to cool down by producing sweat.

In the world of herbal remedies CBD, short for cannabidiol, is like the second coming among enthusiasts. Praised for its healing prowess—for everything from pain and insomnia to gastrointestinal issues and inflammation—the cannabis-born compound is fast developing cult-like status. Not only are physical health benefits reported, but more and more people are turning to CBD to help with mental health conditions—particularly anxiety and depression. And the research is promising. A review in Frontiers in Immunology found that CBD creates a calm in the brain that’s visible on scans—doctors can actually see the angst dissipate. There’s still a lot to learn about CBD’s impact on mood, but we’ve got all the intel to help you weed through the field.

Also keep in mind, anxiety and depression have a complicated relationship. Both are conditions related to poor sleep, pain, and mood regulation. When we experience more anxiety, we experience more pain, and when we are feeling more depressed, we feel more anxious. It’s a chicken/ egg-like scenario. Here’s where CBD may fit in:

To complicate matters, CBD is only FDA-approved for use in one medication, Epidiolex, which is used to treats the seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy. Because it’s largely unregulated, navigating the world of CBD can feel like a long, strange trip. And since you can’t be sure exactly what you’re getting, word to the wise: Consume with caution and always consult with your doctor.

What Forms of CBD Are Most Effective?

CBD is thought to positively influence the processes that regulate our mood, sleep, and pain perception, among others. These processes need to function properly, so we feel better, sleep more soundly, and experience less pain. Anxiety and depression are conditions related to poor sleep, pain, and poor mood regulation because the endocannabinoid system isn’t working to the best of its ability.

CBD and cannabis-related curriculum is not (yet) taught in medical schools, so it can be a challenge to find a doctor who’s knowledgeable about the landscape. Most physicians don’t know much about the science behind medical cannabis and how to integrate it within a patient’s treatment plan.

What experts also agree on is that CBD works best when taken on a regular basis—daily, often two-to-three times a day—because the effects can take time to build—sometimes even months (though, some people report feeling less angsty right away).

Now, here’s how CBD comes into play. When you take CBD, you’re basically supporting the work the ECS is already doing to help your body function on the regular. Researchers believe CBD works to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression by binding to one of the main receptors within the ECS, the CB1 receptor.

While there’s a solid amount of scientific research that shows CBD can be effective for anxiety in animals, as well as anecdotal evidence and case reports that show it may be beneficial for alleviating anxiety in humans, there is less data on the effectiveness of CBD for depression, though there have been some promising animal studies. For example, a 2018 study on rats published in NeuroscienceNews showed that just a single dose of CBD helped to reduce symptoms of depression for up to one week. Researchers believe CBD helps repair neural circuitry in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which get damaged as a result of depression.

Sleep disruption and depression are also closely linked. More than 90% of depressed patients complain about difficulties falling asleep, sleep disruption, or early morning awakenings. CBD may improve their mood or their ability to manage the condition overall. CBD can also be used to treat parasomnias, sleep disorders like jaw grinding, sleepwalking, or nightmares, and it also cuts the time it takes to fall asleep.

That’s one of the great mysteries; the optimal CBD dose is not an exact science. And doctors agree there isn’t one universal dosage of CBD because different people (and different animals, for that matter) respond to different dosages of CBD.