With over 264 million people suffering from depression worldwide it has become a topic that has increased in relevance and importance. It has been recognised that depression has become the world’s leading cause of disability across the world and is one of the biggest contributors of global ‘burden of disease’. Prolonged exposure to depression can cause physical and psychological damage and in severe cases lead to suicide.
Depression is identified in many different ways but most suffers experience different usual mood changes paired with short lived emotional responses to everyday challenges. Once these feelings sustain themselves through a longer period of time the sufferer can become at risk for serious health conditions which as a result can begin to start ruling their lives. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds.
Although they are early studies and it cannot be deemed conclusive yet, some studies have found a positive link between the use of CBD on depression. For this reason, in this blog post we’ll examine whether CBD could be used to replace antidepressants.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 different cannabinoids usually derived from the cannabis and hemp plants. People will be familiar with cannabis as an illegal drug, however CBD is 100% legal due to its low THC content. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant and is responsible for the high feeling experienced by recreational users.
CBD has as little as 0.2% THC which makes it perfectly legal under UK laws. This extremely low trace is nowhere near enough for someone to feel the effects of THC. CBD has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years as the list of potential health benefits grows and expands.
How Can CBD Help Depression?
Although the research into CBD is still very limited, it’s not hard to find a plethora of anecdotal reports littered around forums and websites backing CBD as one of the best natural remedies in supporting someone living with anxiety and depression.
So far, most of the existing research has been carried out on rodents rather than humans. This means that the possible benefits of CBD for depression in humans is mainly speculative, but we would leave you to make your own mind up. Scientific studies can currently be found to show that CBD can be effective for:
- Discomfort before public speaking
- Cognitive impairment
What Does The Research Say?
The research brought together has pointed towards positive effects on serotonin receptors within the brain. Depression has a direct relation to low serotonin level within the body and although CBD does not boost these levels it’s been observed that it may affect how your brain’s receptors respond to the serotonin already within the brain.
A 2014 animal study found that CBD’s effect on these receptors in the brain produced both antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. While a more recent 2018 review of existing studies displayed that CBD has anti-stress effects, which may reduce depression related to stress. As previously mentioned, the research into CBD is not extensive and its full benefits are still not fully understood.
CBD vs Antidepressants
We must start by making you aware that CBD is in no way shape or form a replacement for anti depressants and you should not stop or replace your medication unless instructed to do so by a GP or a healthcare professional. The CBD Planet UK does not claim to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition and you should always consult your GP or a healthcare professional before undertaking any dietary changes.
CBD however can boast some benefits over antidepressants according to studies. Typically antidepressants can take weeks to enter your system and begin to produce positive effects while CBD has been seen to have fast and sustained antidepressant effects. Due to CBD being a naturally occurring product, people are often more keen to take it rather than a prescription drug. Due to it being natural, it also comes with fewer side effects compared to some antidepressant medication from GPs. Some side effects typical with antidepressants include sexual dysfunction, mood swings, agitation, and insomnia. None of which have been observed in CBD.
What Are The Side Effects of CBD?
CBD does not appear to have regular side effects but we understand everyone’s bodies are different and people react to things differently. Some people may experience:
- Change in appetite
It’s hard to fully understand side effects from longer periods of time due to the lack of research, but experts are yet to identify any major long term risks. The World Health Organization recently published that CBD is generally safe but have noted that adverse effects can be encountered when CBD is mixed with some medications. To reduce the chances of these side effects with any existing medications, we’d recommend that you consult your GP or a healthcare professional.
As more and more people discover the effectiveness of CBD it would be safe to assume the amount of people looking to choose CBD to assist with depression and anxiety will increase. We always recommend you talk to your GP or a healthcare professional before taking CBD for depression as it can have side effects when mixed with other antidepressants. CBD is not a replacement for antidepressants and we’d never recommend you stop taking medication unless directed to do so by a doctor.