CBD for Depression: How it works and the best products to try

CBD for Depression

CBD short for cannabidiol is a compound that is found in the cannabis and hemp plant which has become popular in recent years because of the health benefits it has to offer, which includes treating depression. 

However, CBD is still a new compound that offers many benefits to its users, many are still skeptical about its effects especially in the case of managing depression. 

While CBD is not a proven treatment for depression, we can’t ignore the fact that many people using CBD report positive results for depression.

Since CBD products are legal in the US if it is hemp-derived and contains less than 0.3% of THC, we have to understand whether it can truly be safe and effective for depression or not.

In this article, we are going to talk about everything you need to know about CBD and depression. does it work, how does it work, What research says, the benefits and side effects of using CBD for depression. 

What is depression and how does CBD help with it?

Depression is a serious condition that can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and hinder a person’s ability to function. It’s symptoms include: fatigue, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, loss of energy and enjoyment,  trouble getting motivated, social withdrawal,  negative thinking spirals, appetite changes, and insomnia.

When used properly, CBD can help with multiple aspects of depression, including low energy, stress and anxiety, and sleep.

Bear in mind that, CBD is not a cure for depression but a tool that should be used in the context of a wider holistic approach alongside lifestyle changes to be effective against it. 

However, a number of preliminary studies are beginning to uncover the mystery of how CBD helps the depressed brain regain balance and become more flexible.

What does the research say about CBD and depression?

CBD is still a new compound that became popular after hemp and hemp-extracted CBD were legalized in 2018. Till now, there is not a lot of detailed research available, but a 2019 Study, supports the efficacy of CBD as an antidepressant without the potential for becoming a drug of Abuse. 

Few animal studies 1, 2 also found that CBD induces antidepressant effects and acts as an effective treatment for depressed animals. In addition to working on depression, CBD also reduces aggressive behavior in mice.

A detailed study was about to be conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham in July 2021 regarding CBD’s effects on depression in humans but it got withdrawn (probably due to Covid). 

Many studies have suggested that CBD has been associated with relieving depression symptoms and improving your mood.

How does CBD help with depression?

According to a study, When a person is depressed, their brain starts to make less of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The BDNF is the superhero chemical that promotes new brain cells and new learning in the brain – this is also called neurogenesis. It’s like a brain anti-aging chemical. However, when BDNF levels fall, the brain becomes less flexible in adapting to change, which means depression can become entrenched and harder to break out.

A study also indicates that BDNF release is connected to healthy endocannabinoid system(ECS) function, which means that when the ECS becomes dysfunctional, this may be a factor that messes with BDNF, and vice versa.

Endocannabinoid system is a complex cell signaling system scattered throughout our body that is responsible for managing activities that affect our moods and emotions, including feelings of anxiety and depression.

A study by Ethan Russo suggested that depression might be a product of endocannabinoid deficiency, meaning low levels of these important mood regulators could lead to depression.

When we intake CBD, it interacts with the ESC within our body and makes it more active and healthy, which includes promoting the growth of BDNF that promotes healthy brain function and minimizes depression.

The connection between the ECS and mood is undeniable. Supporting the endocannabinoid system is one way that CBD may help alleviate or prevent depression. 

CBD is also neuroprotective, and it promotes the development of new brain cells, specifically in the hippocampus, a process that has an antidepressant effect. Moreover, CBD also helps manage stress and inflammation, which also wreaks havoc on the body and can increase the risk for depression or make it worse.


CBD vs traditional antidepressants (benefits and side effects)

Traditional antidepressants are designed to balance the neurotransmitters in your brain which helps improve mood, sleep, appetite, and concentration. 

The traditional antidepressants work temporarily when they’re in your system but have no sustained effect after they’ve worn off, so they carry a risk of dependency and absolutely no guarantee or even likelihood of a cure.

Dependency isn’t the only possible side effect. Other common complaints include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction 

On the other hand, CBD doesn’t create any kind of dependency and offers much more benefit to a person with depression including ease from anxiety and stress. You can use CBD everyday without any issue.

CBD does have side effects like dry mouth, dehydration, drowsiness, they are pretty rare and well-tolerated. While CBD is safe for consumption, it can has a certain risk of interacting with other antidepressant medications that can cause more harm than good.

Note: If you have depression or using antidepressants, don’t abruptly make a decision to replace it with CBD. While CBD has shown much promise, it is not fully researched yet to make any claim over traditional antidepressants. Talk to your healthcare provider first before making any decision.

Looking at a non-drug approach to depression

When it comes to using other non-drug approaches in mental health, and especially in depression, it is not always down to a patient’s mental discipline or a need for them to just try harder. 

If you suffer from a mix of anxiety and depression or other mental health challenges, even if you want to meditate, exercise, or engage in therapy, it’s as if there’s a brain roadblock in the way.

It’s with these roadblocks CBD is found to be very useful in providing a way to get that initial momentum for change that may have eluded patients for their entire lives.

Many of my friends have suffered from depression, so I know how debilitating it can be and how often well-meaning advice can do more harm than good. 

It is always recommended to talk to relevant Healthcare professionals before using CBD for Depression.

How to use CBD for depression?

CBD can be consumed in many forms: 

  • Orally: In the form of CBD oils, CBD capsules, and softgels. Using CBD orally is the most effective way to consume CBD for depression.
  • Edibles: In the form of gummies, chocolates, mints, honey, and more. Using CBD edibles can also help manage depression.

Using CBD orally either in forms of oils or edibles is the most direct and efficient form of CBD consumption because it has the highest and fastest absorption rate of cannabidiol into the bloodstream.

  • CBD can also be consumed via smoking or vaping CBD flowers or concentrates. It is also an efficient way that provides relief in mental health much faster than other forms of consumption but this might not be for everybody.
  • Tropicals: CBD can also be used in the form of  CBD roll-ons, creams, balms, lotions, and more that can be directly applied to your skin. Using CBD tropicals for depression won’t be effective because CBD will not reach the effective area to provide any kind of psychological relief.

Best CBD products for depression

You can’t find a CBD product that claims to provide relief from depression. Since CBD is a new compound that has been legalized recently, yet no CBD product that you see has been tested yet for depression.

Additionally, no CBD company is going to specifically come out and say that it offers relief from depression, or any condition because it’s not allowed by the FDA. In a roundabout way, it’ll find an opportunity to suggest that may be a possibility.

With this information, we can point to certain CBD products that have more chances to be effective against depression than others. 

full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products that are full of a wide range of Cannabinoids and mood-balancing terpenes can be more effective in balancing ECS than CBD isolate products (that contain CBD only). 

Keeping this in mind, We have come up with a list of products that may be more effective than the others:

CBD products are currently not being regulated by the FDA, so make sure whatever CBD products you purchase come from an authentic, reputable, and trustworthy brand that also does third-party testing. 

Avoid purchasing CBD products from your local shop. For a safe and effective experience, buy CBD products online, and before buying check the user reviews and certificate of analysis and make sure it’s satisfactory.   

Final thoughts

CBD is a safe and effective compound that offers many health benefits to the user, and evidence suggests that it also provides relief in depression. While we need more research to say anything for certain, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before trying CBD.


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