Anxiety & Depression. Does CBD help?

More than 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety is the sixth leading cause of disability globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, many other mental health conditions are related to anxiety.

Currently, only about 36% of those in the United States with anxiety disorders are receiving treatment. Many people struggle with feelings of shame, fear of being judged, a lack of knowledge of treatments available, and the cost of treatment. Some people are concerned about the risk of dependency or addiction to medications to treat anxiety.

In 2018, the United States government legalized the use of CBD. CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant's flower. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains little or no THC. The ingredient in marijuana produces the feeling of being high. CDB contains less than 0.3% THC, which is under the legal limit.

CBD is commonly used to reduce and control symptoms in many people who suffer from various conditions. Researchers are exploring the potential of CBD in lowering anxiety in their studies.


Animal Studies

CBD has been studied in more than 30 animal studies worldwide to understand how it works and whether it can reduce anxiety. Scientists can determine, using animal models, which parts of the brain and body CBD affects. They can then correlate this with reduced anxiety. 

In the brain, CBD has been shown to affect serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a chemical neuroreceptor that regulates mood, anxiety, and depression. The endocannabinoid system helps maintain the chemical balance of basic processes like sleep, mood, appetite, immunity, and metabolism in humans. CBD affects receptors in the endocannabinoid system that signal the nervous system to maintain these processes in balance.

Human Studies

Scientists are now attempting to test the effects of CBD on humans after obtaining positive results from animal model studies. According to research, CBD helps with a wide range of feelings, including reducing fear, reducing panic, reducing compulsive behavior, and helping to erase persistent fear memories. While more studies are needed, the current results are promising.

One study in Brazil used CBD or a placebo to reduce participant anxiety before performing public speaking, an activity that causes anxiety for many people. The CBD-treated participants showed a significant decrease in anxiety, discomfort during speech, and impaired cognitive performance compared to the placebo-treated participants. 

A recent case study looked at the effect of CBD on anxiety and sleep. After one and two months of treatment, more than 80% of participants reported a decrease in their anxiety. The study showed that CBD for PTSD reduced insomnia and improved fear modulation. During this study, it was concluded that CBD serves as an effective antidepressant and anti-anxiety treatment.

CBD has also been reported to benefit people with anxiety in multiple scientific studies. In fact, CBD has become widely available in the United States since it became legal. According to the New York Times, about 60% of people who responded to the survey said that CBD helps them cope with anxiety.

Side Effects

A benefit of CBD is its limited side effects compared to those of other medical drugs. Some of the most common side effects reported include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth

Studies suggest there may be a risk of liver toxicity when CBD is used for some medication conditions. It is also essential to consider how CBD affects how other medications are metabolized. Many drugs carry a "grapefruit warning," which warns users not to consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking those medications.

Grapefruit blocks an enzyme that helps the body metabolize particular medications, raising the level of the medicine in the blood and body above the recommended levels. CBD is thought to have a similar effect. People who want to use CBD should consult with their doctor to discuss these risks.

CBD has been shown to help alleviate anxiety in both animals and humans. Further research is needed to understand all the benefits and side effects.

Can CBD Help Depression?

Have you ever felt depressed? A question often posed by friends, family, and doctors, this one encompasses a wide range of emotions, reasons, and treatments. Understanding depression, why it happens, and what treatments are available may cause you to wonder if CBD can help. Multiple studies show that CBD can positively impact people with depression. Understanding why you might benefit from CBD as a depression treatment helps to know why CBD might help.

What is Depression?

Depression is an umbrella term that commonly refers to everything from feeling sad and irritable to major depressive episodes characterized by an inability to function. Medically, the diagnosis of depression requires meeting a threshold of distress and loss of daily functioning. Doctors categorize depression into the following types:

• Major Depressive Disorder

• Persistent Depressive Disorder

• Bipolar Disorder

• Post-Partum Depression

• Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder

• Seasonal Affective Disorder

• Atypical Depression

Each of these disorders results in severe distress and an inability to function daily. Some people may experience short-term improvement without treatment, but these disorders often require treatments, including therapy and medications. If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide.

Treatments for Depression

In the United States, depression is a very serious problem. Research indicates that over 17 million people, or 7% of the polluted population, have suffered from one major depressive episode. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. spends over $200 billion a year treating depression and related illnesses, losing productivity and leading to suicide.

Multiple methods of treating depression are available to doctors, including the following:

• Antidepressant Medications

• Therapy

• Electroconvulsive Therapy

• Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation


However, many of these treatments are time and cost-intensive and may result in serious side effects. CBD is a promising treatment without the potential side effects of other forms of treatment.

Physical Effects of CBD to Help Depression

CBD affects serotonin, a neurochemical in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate a wide range of functions in the body, including emotional state and feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Low serotonin levels can cause depression. CBD helps improve the ability of receptors in the brain to increase and balance serotonin levels. Animal studies show that CBD affects brain receptors and has an antidepressant effect.

Antidepressant medications also help maintain serotonin levels, but they often have negative side effects. Some patients using these medications report insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhea. While these side effects are often mild or temporary, more severe side effects have been reported.

• Reduced Blood Clotting Capabilities

• Sexual Disfunction or Loss of Desire

• Loss of Long-term Effectiveness

• Potential Fetal Risk During Pregnancy and Breast Feeding

• Withdrawal Symptoms if Stopped

• Risk of Suicide in Children and Young Adults

CBD does not exhibit any of these side effects. While more study is needed, research does not indicate that these are issues associated with CBD use. Symptoms and risks reported with CBD use include:

• Dry Mouth

• Fatigue

• Changes in Appetite and Weight

• Diarrhea

• Risk for Liver Toxicity, Especially When Used with Certain Medications

Use of CBD to Help Depression

CBD has been shown to treat depression in animals through studies. While human studies are ongoing, there is documented research on how CBD affects anxiety and depression in humans. Depressive disorders are often linked to anxiety disorders. In several studies, CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety, including for people who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Recent studies found CBD to have neuroprotective and antipsychotic properties, and it was mentioned that CBD could be used to treat depression and bipolar disorder. According to another study, CBD could regulate depression symptoms like prescribed antidepressants.

As CBD is legal and widely available in the United States, many people who suffer from depression have turned to CBD as a remedy. According to surveys, people use CBD for anxiety, depression, and pain. In studies on animals and humans, CBD has shown promise in treating depression without the severe side effects associated with many antidepressants.

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