Depression is a prevalent mental health condition that affects many individuals and can have a detrimental effect on their social interactions, work performance, and overall daily life. The National Health Service acknowledges depression as a genuine illness with real symptoms that can significantly impact an individual’s well-being.
How could CBD help with depression?
Studies on the effects of CBD on depression are relatively limited as research has only begun in the last decade. However, animal studies conducted over the past decade have provided good evidence that CBD could be a potential treatment for people with depression.
For instance, a 2014 study investigated the effects of CBD on animal models of both depression and anxiety and found that it acted in an antidepressant manner in many of the experiments. Another study from 2018 found that CBD has antidepressant effects and investigated its effects on increasing neuroplasticity and mood stabilization.
One important finding from the latter study was that CBD has anti-stress effects, which can cause or worsen depression. Thus, CBD’s positive effect on stress could also lead to a positive effect on depression.
Benefits of CBD compared to medications
CBD may offer several benefits in comparison to other medications available for depression. One significant advantage is that while antidepressants can take days or weeks to work, a 2019 study suggested that CBD can produce a rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effect. This means that CBD could potentially be used as a medication for depression with more immediate effects.
Moreover, many antidepressants often have side effects, including agitation, insomnia, mood swings, and sexual dysfunction, which CBD has yet to demonstrate. Therefore, CBD could be considered as a less-invasive treatment for depression in the future.
However, while CBD has shown positive impacts in research, it is not an official replacement for prescribed medication. Patients should discuss any desire to decrease the dose of prescribed medication with their doctor as suddenly stopping medications can cause serious side effects. Furthermore, it is essential to note that CBD might have unknown effects when taken with other medications, so it is highly recommended to consult with a doctor before taking CBD, especially those with a “grapefruit warning.”
CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects may help with depression as chronic inflammation can worsen depression. Additionally, CBD can also help with anxiety, which is another common mental illness that often accompanies depression. By treating anxiety as well, CBD could provide further assistance in managing depression.