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Many proven options are available now for treating anxiety and depression. Still, scientists are investigating new potential therapies that could be more effective and less harmful for people not feeling supported by their current medication. CBD can be one of these options.
CBD-based products have recently gained popularity as a cure for multiple medical issues. Studies show its potential health benefits, including treating anxiety and depression. The initial results of some studies look promising. In this post, learn more about the potential for CBD to help relieve the symptoms of these disorders.
What Is CBD?
Cannabis plants produce between 80 and 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Most people are familiar with 2 primary cannabinoids naturally occurring in this plant – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). As a psychoactive substance, THC is responsible for euphoric effects. Unlike many other cannabinoids, CBD features a different pharmacological profile. It doesn’t make consumers high or alter their consciousness. On the contrary, it is thought to produce anti-psychoactive effects that control or moderate the high caused by THC. CBD is derived from marijuana plants, but industrial hemp has high concentrations of this chemical.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only 1 CBD medication to treat 2 rare forms of epilepsy. However, scientific and medical research shows its effectiveness for other medical conditions. Many individuals claim it helps with pain, stress, sleep, and various mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
How Does It Work?
Researchers have discovered that CBD can affect the human endocannabinoid system, but they don’t explicitly state how it happens. Found in the brain and body, this unique communications system regulates circadian rhythms and maintains many important body functions and activities such as sleep, memory, appetite, and mood. In the central nervous system (CNS) and brain, there is a network of cannabinoid receptors. CBD can attach to the brain cells and interact with specific receptors located within different parts of the CNS in the human body. Simply put, these receptors can regulate how cells communicate – sending, receiving, and processing signals from different stimuli.
Low serotonin levels are associated with people diagnosed with depression. Not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety. Patients are prescribed to receive a treatment plan with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). SSRIs are broadly applied but tend to cause side effects, so more patients are now seeking a safer and natural strategy to manage these conditions. As an alternative to this medication, people can manage their conditions with CBD. Experts claim CBD features potential benefits for anxiety and depression due to its positive effects on serotonin receptors in the human brain. CBD can alter serotonin signals. It doesn’t necessarily increase serotonin levels but affects how the human brain’s receptors respond to the serotonin already in the system. Also, it has an anti-stress effect, which reduces stress levels that contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions, with almost 280 million people diagnosed worldwide. It is destructive and leaves people uninterested in things they once enjoyed (to put it simply.) Finding methods to cope with this issue with fewer adverse effects is of primary importance. CBD does appear to have benefits for depression when dealing with cognitive impairment and discomfort before public speaking. Also, it is helpful for conditions related to depression, such as chronic pain, and reduces depression associated with stress.
Anxiety is a disorder associated with panic attacks, chest pain, and excessive concern. Like any mental health disorder, it impacts physical health, social health, and overall well-being. CBD helps alleviate physiological symptoms caused by various anxiety conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (negative memories and nightmares), seasonal affective disorder, rapid heartbeat, and anxiety-associated insomnia.
How to Use CBD?
CBD comes in various forms suitable for different preferences and purposes. The modern market is flooded with products that can be grouped into 4 categories:
• Edible (CBD-infused drinks and foods, such as cookies, gummies, etc.);
• Oral (capsules, pills, tinctures, oils, and other products that are consumed by mouth);
• Vaping (by heating CBD oils and inhaling vapor);
• Topical (CBD-infused lotions, creams, sprays, and other beauty products for localized treatment).
Vaping with CBD oil is the fastest way to ingest it when it comes to bloodstream absorption. But there is some debate over the long-term safety of this method. Also, it comes with increased respiratory risks.
Since topicals are applied directly to the skin, this formulation is best for alleviating pain, which can cause anxiety and depression.
Dried cannabis flowers should be mentioned separately. They are typically ignited and then smoked. There are dozens of cannabis strains with a myriad of smells and tastes, so it can be hard to choose the best weed for depression and anxiety. Strains like the Martian Candy strain can offer a sweet and spicy aroma and are suitable for entry-level smokers due to their moderate potency.
Without clear FDA guidance, optimal CBD use varies from person to person. The amount of CBD to take depends on many factors, such as the severity of symptoms, physiology, personal tolerance, etc. Regarding dosage, experts suggest starting small and working your way depending on your body reactions. CBD for depression and anxiety may be effective when a person uses it regularly. In some cases, it may not show an immediate relief but requires some time until there are noticeable differences in one’s health condition. People interested in this therapy are recommended to talk to their therapist or a certified doctor specializing in cannabis administration. These experts can determine if CBD treatment is safe for you and help figure out a starting dosage.
Cannabidiol is considered a safe and generally well-tolerated substance, with few to no reported side effects. It allows people to enjoy the world of natural healing; however, taking CBD while on other medications or dietary supplements may pose a risk since these substances may interact and cause unwanted effects. Single consumers report:
• Appetite changes
• Mood changes
• Upset stomach
Most users don’t experience adverse effects, but some may be sensitive to the substance. Patients with liver issues should be especially careful.
Another concern is that not much research suggests that CBD is completely safe. Its long-term effects on mental health are not entirely clear.
Since it can be unsafe to purchase CBD products because they lack FDA regulation, opt for reputable suppliers. Check for third-party lab tests that indicate the CBD level in any given product.
It is important to understand that the research on CBD use is still limited. In the last decade, several studies have been done, but they have limitations, and most experiments were done using animals. So, further investigation is required to understand the full therapeutic potential of cannabidiol and to draw a clear picture of the underlying processes. It doesn’t work in no way as a replacement for anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. This area is actively studied, with new scientific reviews published yearly.