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CBD for Depression: What we know

CBD for Depression

Getting a Handle on Depression 

Depression isn’t just a case of “feeling sad” or “down in the dumps,” our modern understanding of depression has evolved to include persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness. Now add to this irritability, emotional outbursts, and fatigue or lack of energy. How about we add a little more to this, like being unable to enjoy formerly enjoyable activities, sleep disturbances like sleeping too much or too little, guilt, feelings of worthlessness and anxiety, coupled with unexplained physical symptoms like recurring headaches or persistent pain, and we’re only about halfway through the list. Depression is a complex and multifaceted condition that is related to around 9% of all doctor visits in the US. Can we use CBD for depression or as an adjunct to current psychiatric therapies? Our CBD101 guide digs in to bring you a better understanding of the current state of research into using CBD for depression.

Research findings of using CBD for Depression

CBD has been studied in mental health disorders like anxiety and depression since the 1970s. We already know some things about its anxiolytic effects as well as its effects on depression. 

From the current body of research, it does seem that the human endocannabinoid system may have a direct role to play in the pathophysiology of depression. There also appears to be some evidence that indicates that many CB1 receptors (which cannabinoids bind to) of the endocannabinoid system are found in areas of the brain we normally associate with affective disorders like depression. We also know that these CB1 receptors can have their expression regulated with antidepressant drugs. So where’s the beef? This all sounds really promising for using CBD for depression, right? Not so fast. With the rare exception, almost all these studies have been on rats or mice, and the rodent brain (although mammalian too) is a lot different from a human brain. The current state of CBD research (as of this writing) is usually summed up in the academic literature with the phrase, “more research is needed on this subject.” Although the early gains with rodents show promise, we need extensive human clinical research before we can shout “Use CBD for depression!” from the rooftops.

However, some patients have reported cannabis having a positive impact on their depressive symptoms, and there does seem to be an agonistic link between CBDs effects on the human brain and the 5-HT1A receptors, which are often associated with the action of antidepressant drugs. We definitely don’t know enough yet, and although “more research is needed on this subject” (yawn), the lab mice and rats have given some positive indications that cannabis and CBD may yet have a role to play in the management of these challenging conditions.

CBD and Depression: The future

One thing which keeps coming up in the research is the treatment with-, and the use of CBD for many of the symptoms associated with depression. This includes the internet’s favorite symptoms that many internet users typically use CBD for sleep disturbance, appetite loss, and anxiety. In some ways, you might say that CBD is already being used to treat some of the symptoms of depression in a large-scale, unofficial human clinical trial; we’re just not calling it that yet. We know that both the anecdotal evidence and the clinical trials are starting to expand our understanding of the possibility of using CBD for depression in a meaningful and helpful way to people who are struggling with affective disorders like depression. 

With many patients already reporting that they use CBD to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety and depression, it seems likely that research into CBD for affective disorders should continue in this positive direction. Whatever the findings Soulsome’s cold-pressed, raw hemp flower CBD oil will continue to affirm the research findings as well as the individuals struggling with the complexities of depression and the associated affective disorders.

Further reading

  1. Hill MN, Gorzalka BB (2005). Is there a role for the endocannabinoid system in the etiology and treatment of melancholic depression? Behav Pharmacol 16 (5–6): 333– 352. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16148438/ on 07/26/2021.
  2. ​​Devane WA, Dysarz FA 3rd, Johnson MR, Melvin LS, Howlett AC. (1988). Determination and characterization of a cannabinoid receptor in rat brain. Mol Pharmacol 34: 605– 613. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2848184/ on 07/26/2021.
  3. Hill MN, Carrier EJ, McLaughlin RJ, Morrish AC, Meier SE, Hillard CJ et al. (2008). Regional alterations in the endocannabinoid system in an animal model of depression: effects of concurrent antidepressant treatment. J Neurochem 106 (6): 2322– 2336. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05567.x on 07/26/2021.
  4. Gruber AJ, Pope HG Jr, Brown ME (1996). Do patients use marijuana as an antidepressant? Depression 4: 77– 80. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9160645/ on 07/26/2021.

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