CBD and Depression
CBD and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder in this blog we will look at how CBD can be used for depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. By looking at how CBD can help you deal with disorders that affect your emotions and disrupt your ability to function, you can decide for yourself if you want to use CBD for depression or PDD.
This blog is just a small section from our book Living with Mental Health, Can CBD Help?
With all the hype the past couple of years have brought, many have this question: Could CBD be the Cure for Depression?
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently estimated that in 2012 alone, a whopping total of 16 million American adults (this is not including teenagers) had what was determined to be a ‘depressive episode’.
This is the data for only one country, in one year. Worldwide, the estimate is that approximately 350 million people are suffering from depression.
There are pharmaceutical medications that many people rely on to help with the debilitating symptoms. However, many are seeking alternative medication options. While there still needs to be more extensive research performed, the body of evidence supporting CBD as a treatment for depression is growing. And the side effects? While traditional pharmaceuticals have a history of challenging side effects, CBD has yet to display severe adverse effects.
Let’s dig in to learn more about depression and find out whether or not CBD could be a sustainable treatment for depression.
What is Depression?
As you may have already noticed in this book, we like to start at the beginning. And so it is with depression. Because only after we understand the way depression interacts with the brain and body, will we be able to follow the link between depression and the potential treatment benefits of cannabidiol.
Depression is a complex disorder. It can be described as a medical condition that impacts every aspect of your life; the way you think, feel and act. Depression has a profound effect on emotions and can stimulate deep feelings of hopelessness and apathy. As depression progresses, it can lead to a myriad of physical health problems as well.
There are several different kinds of depression:
– Postnatal depression
– Psychotic depression
– Chronic depression
– Seasonal Affective Disorder
– Substance-Induced mood disorder
– ‘Major’ depression
– Bipolar depression
While the symptoms vary in severity and variety across the different types of depression, there are symptoms that are experienced across the board; panic attacks, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Phobias, and Eating Disorders.
The list of physical symptoms that could develop is varied but generally include the following; joint pain, back pain, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal issues. And these physical problems usually arise from imbalances in brain chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine- both known to regulate pain sensitivity and mood.
How Does CBD for Depression Work?
We don’t need to bash traditional (pharmaceutical) drugs in order to tout CBD. If you are looking at alternative treatment options, then the chances are pretty high that you are part the 33% of sufferers who experience little to none benefits from prescribed depression meds.
Before we continue, it is vital to differentiate CBD from THC. CBD has no ‘high’ effect, unlike THC. Furthermore, many studies and cases are indicating that THC can have adverse consequences for those with depression. So, just so that we are clear; we are talking about CBD in this book.
In the previous chapter, we briefly covered the endocannabinoid system. And in the first book, we covered this ECS system in detail. It comes as no surprise that the ECS is connected to depression.
Over the course of many years, bodies of research point to this fact: depression is related to a chemical imbalance in the brain and nervous system.
The ECS’s CB1 receptor is located throughout the nervous system. Here we have our first clue as to the link between depression and CBD.
If you think that using cannabis to treat depression is a new idea, then think again. Some records place cannabis as a treatment option for depression as far back as 1621 in the book by Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy. Further afield, in India, the plant was prescribed to treat depression.
The cannabis plant works swiftly to stimulate the ECS system. And what happens after this stimulation? Nervous tissue development and growth is increased with almost zero adverse side effects.
What does the Research Say?
Yes, more research is needed. However, let’s take a look at what the research is saying so far…
In 2010, a study was conducted using mice. The mice were administered with CBD, and the results recorded that just 30 minutes after administration, the symptoms linked to depression dissipated.
In 2006, a study at McGill University determined that cannabis users displayed decreased amounts of depression symptoms in comparison to non-cannabis consumers.
Further studies indicate how CBD is linked to an improvement in cognitive function as well.
In 2014, another animal study was conducted which successfully exhibited the possible effects of CBD on depression symptoms. The animal models were administered CBD and were then exposed to several situations designed to induce stress. The result indicated that the subjects who had been administered CBD showed less anxiety and such symptoms.
There are many more small scale clinical trials which have taken place to study the connection between CBD and its use as a treatment method for depression and depression-related symptoms. You will be able to find a list of reading material at the end of this book.
Yes, a wealth of research is still needed to adequately understand depression and the use of CBD as a treatment. However, the preliminary research, case studies, and anecdotal evidence is promising. In a world where the most effective antidepressant is growing in the natural environment, perhaps more people could be exposed to effective and safe treatment.
CBD for premenstrual dysphoric disorder
PMDD usually results in severe period cramps, mood swings, and extreme fatigue. This disorder is quite common, and up to 40% of women may experience this disorder; either once or recurring.
While it is unclear what causes PMDD, evidence points towards a lack of serotonin being the culprit. If you have been paying attention throughout the previous chapters, you would know that there are lies at least one link between CBD and PMDD treatment. This lack of serotonin is believed to result from the hormonal changes occurring during the menstrual cycle.
Using CBD for Symptomatic Relief
Painful cramps is a severe and debilitating symptom of PMDD. Because of CBD’s regulation of the neurological functions, pain sensitivity can be lowered therefore rendering CBD a natural alternative for pain relief.
For many women on their period, an unbalanced hormonal system can result in severe mood swings. Because CBD regulates, the release of specific and essential endocannabinoids (such as serotonin and anandamide) mood can be regulated through the binding of these endocannabinoids to the CB1 receptor.
The onset of chronic fatigue is one of the most debilitating factors of PMDD. In small doses, CBD is a cannabinoid that can assist in “wake promotion” and is what is known as a “wake promotion agent.” Additionally, CBD could assist in balancing your sleeping rhythms, providing you with a more profound REM slumber; which should leave you feeling more rested and ready for the day when you wake up.
It is critical to always bear in mind that if you are currently on the medication, you should consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil or other CBD products.