23 Feb Depression, How Can CBD Help You?
Depression is a powerful force that can ultimately be responsible for a lot of things in life. When it comes to depression, it disappointingly hasn’t become a prominent topic until recently. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of acknowledging depression and having adequate national resources to battle it, but it is also worth talking about as a topic.
What we thought we would do is discuss some of what depression is, and how it can affect people in such a significant way. After all, there should be no stigma – and needs to be freely talked about as much as possible.
What is Depression?
The NHS characterises depression as being “a low mood that lasts for weeks or months and affects your daily life.”
It also goes on to say that “symptoms of depression include feeling unhappy or hopeless, low self-esteem and finding no pleasure in things you usually enjoy.”
Now, depression is that for some people, but it is also other things too. What you have to try and remember about depression is that it can be a very powerful force. However, everybody has a different experience with depression which is unique to them. The way that you perceive depression will make a massive difference to how you experience it, how you encounter it in others, and the way you acknowledge it as a phenomenon. Some people don’t even realise they are depressed.
Many people have often said that their experience with depression can be a very serious thing. It becomes all-encompassing and highly damaging to their everyday lives. Some people find simple tasks such as getting out of bed to be beyond what they can bring themselves to do. The NHS description is a basic one at best and a lacking one at worst. The truth is so much more than that.
Depression can often feel like a wall. It’s a giant hurdle that you can’t hope to overcome. A lot of people find depression consumes their entire life. They struggle with all elements of it, and it routinely manages to take away the things that they hold most precious. It’s a powerful, destructive and all-encompassing force that is responsible for so much harm.
Life with depression can be incredibly polarised. Sometimes you experience periods where everything is okay. You’re on top of it all and there’s nothing you can’t do. But other times you’re struggling to find your way back. Even the smallest tasks seem impossible and you just want to sleep until you feel anything. Depression can be an incredibly debilitating condition and that’s what so many people don’t seem to grasp. It’s so damaging and consuming that it requires you to wait for it to pass.
As a recent 2020 study described “One in three patients diagnosed with MDD (major depressive disorder) develops resistance to antidepressant drugs. More importantly, current pharmacological treatments do not improve the cognitive dysfunctions associated with this mental disorder, even when combined with psychotherapy. Conversely, the side effects of these medications, such as weight gain, loss of sexual desire and others, affect the risk-benefit ratio. Therefore, it is necessary to find new pharmacological alternatives to improve treatment outcomes for such psychiatric disorders without the burden of disabling side effects. In this respect, published animal and clinical studies, whose main results are detailed below, provide information supporting the anxiolytic and antidepressant properties of CBD.”
CBD and Depression
Living with depression can be incredibly challenging, and as much as we want to try and seek professional help, it’s not always possible or as available as we would like. That’s why taking CBD can be a useful force used alongside other lifestyle changes (nutrition, limiting inflammatory foods, regular sleep cycle, exercise, socialising etc) can have significant impact.
Studies have shown that CBD could prove to be an effective tool in helping deal with depression and anxiety – which often go hand in hand. See our previous blog Anxiety, How Can CBD Help You?
A 2009 study showed that CBD had positive antidepressant effects in animal models “CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine (drug used to treat depression, anxiety and panic disorder). These effects of CBD were probably mediated by activation of 5-HT(1A) receptors.”
But what is the 5HT(1A) receptor?
5HT (5-hydroxytryptamine) or Serotonin as you may have heard it called, is a series of receptors, responsible for many complex and multifaceted functions of the body including, modulating mood, cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes such as vomiting and vasoconstriction
Specifically the 5HT(1A) receptor is responsible for “the mechanism of action of anxiolytic, antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.”
Multiple studies have shown positive effects of CBD used on patients with depression and anxiety.
One 2014 study found “Preclinical and clinical studies show that cannabis modulates mood and possesses antidepressant-like properties, mediated by the agonistic activity of cannabinoids on central CB1 receptors (CB1Rs).
A further 2014 study stated “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.”
So if you are looking for a natural solution to help you with depression CBD may be worth checking out.
How do I Take CBD?
CBD can be taken in numerous ways. Our customers have found that using our 5% Full Spectrum sublingual spray regularly, following the dosage information on the packaging, can be very effective in improving mood, anxiety and sleep quality. It is very important to use a high quality CBD, free from pesticides, herbicides and heavy metals that is full spectrum (like ours) to ensure that you get the full benefit (entourage effect) from the hemp plant. Check out our blog Full Spectrum CBD, what does it mean?, for more info.
In addition to the sublingual spray, some of our customers (and myself) use the vape e-liquid before bed. This can provide an instant feeling of calm and helps tame the racing mind that often keeps you awake. It is important that you do not overdo the vape prior to bed, as it can have the opposite effect and stimulate you. Normally 3 or 4 puffs is sufficient – especially for a new user.
For new users, there can often be a period where the ECS is ‘waking up’ and it’s important to start with the low dosage and work up. It may take several weeks before you feel the benefits or therapeutic effect.
Important note: If you are taking antidepressants you should not commence taking CBD without speaking to your doctor. You should leave at least 20 days between finishing antidepressant and to starting CBD as there is a potential for drug interactions.
We’ve all known that depression can be a dangerous force for a long time now. With nearly 20% of the population suffering from depression and anxiety, it has likely affected your or someone close to you.
Ultimately, it is all about making sure that there is a bigger emphasis on proper communication when it comes to talking about the subject. We all know that depression exists, and is a powerful force, but for some reason, there’s a real hesitation to talk about it in the media. It’s strange, but it does directly tie into the number of people who seek help.
If you or someone you love has been affected by depression during the lockdown period, please seek professional help, it’s no laughing matter and should be handled by professionals. Using CBD could be the solution for some, but it’s an aid and not a miracle cure, it can help especially used in tandem with lifestyle changes discussed earlier.
- García-Gutiérrez MS, Navarrete F, Gasparyan A, Austrich-Olivares A, Sala F, Manzanares J. Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders. Biomolecules. 2020 Nov 19;10(11):1575. doi: 10.3390/biom10111575. PMID: 33228239; PMCID: PMC7699613.
- Yohn, C.N., Gergues, M.M. & Samuels, B.A. The role of 5-HT receptors in depression. Mol Brain 10, 28 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13041-017-0306-y
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