CBD is not getting out of the news any time soon. For makers of CBD products and regular users, it is the best treatment for many diseases and conditions. Using CBD for anxiety and depression is one such benefit, according to several claims.
Anxiety and depression are alarming mental health issues, especially in modern-day fast-paced life. For proponents of CBD, the compound offers a viable alternative to most conventional medications. Its main attractions are having no heavy side effects like most medications, becoming more accessible.
What Is CBD & What Does It Stands For?
CBD is one of the over 200 compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a cannabinoid, and it stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the most researched compounds in the plant. CBD has potent pharmacological effects and works on the body’s endocannabinoid system causing several therapeutic effects. It also contains beneficial anti-inflammatory properties, and further research is uncovering its many benefits.
How Good Is CBD For Anxiety & Depression?
Currently, most of the evidence is preclinical and clinical. This evidence shows CBD can be a potent treatment of anxiety and depression. Patients who have taken CBD show remarkable improvement, especially in the quality of life. CBD allows them to overcome the symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can, therefore, lead their normal lives and achieve calmness and relaxation. It also improves the quality of sleep and helps maintain blood pressure at healthy levels.
What Does The Research Suggest?
Several studies have found that the ones on the use of CBD for anxiety and depression are few. There are also a couple of limitations in terms of the sample size and the studies’ length. However, the different studies and reviews suggest CBD could have a considerable effect on depression and anxiety.
In a 2015 study, researchers found that CBD interacts and impacts several receptors in the brain. These receptors control anxiety and fear-induced behaviors. In the same study, preclinical and clinical evidence showed that CBD could help treat various anxiety disorders, including PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
In another study which scientist conducted in 2020, CBD was effective in treating anxiety and depression symptoms. Participants recorded significant improvement in the quality of life within three weeks, rating CBD treatment from good to excellent.
Finally, another 2020 reviewed eight studies investigating the use of CBD for anxiety and depression treatment. The study found that CBD is effective on its own or along with other therapies to treat;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- General anxiety disorder
Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Endocannabinoid System, and CBD
Life has plenty of stressors, whether it is work-related, trauma, financial stress, and much more. All these are sources of depression and various anxiety disorders. Fortunately, we have the endocannabinoid system (ECS), whose function is to buffer between the stressors and our organs. Through its action, it helps the body cope with stress by regulating fear and anxiety.
Endocannabinoids are fatty ligands that bind on a wide network of cannabinoid receptors like CB1 and CB2. The network spreads across the brain, central nervous system, organs, and immune system. They help keep physiological systems in balance. However, chronic stress or prolonged exposure to stress factors can weaken the ECS. It downregulates CB1 signaling, especially in the brain regions responsible for emotional processing. It also increases fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) levels, an enzyme that breaks down anandamide in the body. As a result, the endocannabinoids become less concentrated, affecting their function.
On the other hand, CBD activates CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system, calming anxiety feelings. It also inhibits the reuptake of anandamide and delays the breakdown of FAAH, and prevents a decrease in endocannabinoids’ concentration.
Research also shows that CBD actions go beyond just activating CB1 receptors. CBD also acts on serotonin 5-HT1A receptors in the brain, which are proven targets of anti-anxiety medication. Finally, neuroimaging on CBD research subjects shows that it also acts on the paralimbic and limbic system. These are areas of the brain responsible for emotional, cognitive, and memory processes.
How Is CBD Generally Consumed?
Fortunately, for patients suffering from anxiety and depression disorders, there are different ways to use CBD. The various methods offer different conveniences and limitations. Here is an overview of four different ways you can consume CBD for anxiety and depression.
Use CBD Oil And Tinctures
This option is a straightforward way to consume your CBD, even if it is not very discreet. It is also an easier way to measure your dosage. You consume tinctures and oils sublingually, which offers several advantages. First, it allows for the effect of CBD to kick in very fast. In about 10 minutes, you will be feeling the effects, which can last up to four hours.
Another advantage is the high amount that eventually gets into your bloodstream. By skipping the digestive process, you increase the bioavailability of the CBD you are taking, which can be as high as 35 percent. The effectiveness further increases by finding the best CBD oil, which has a higher compound concentration.
Vaping also skips the digestive tract, and the route of delivery is the lungs, which increases the amount of CBD that gets in your bloodstream. It has an absorption rate of about 56 percent, almost double the average rate for sublingual absorption. The effect is also felt faster in under five minutes and lasts for about 3-4 hours.
Most vaping products are also discreet and offer greater convenience for use anywhere. The only challenge with vaping is the associated risk of lung inflammation and the risk of using products that have vitamin E inside. Products available in the illicit market may also contain other harmful compounds that can harm your lungs.
Like CBD Vaping, the absorption of CBD ingested through smoking is fast and ensures plenty of the content is absorbed. Smoking sends CBD directly to the lung’s alveoli from where it gets into the bloodstream. You can smoke CBD for anxiety and depression using either CBD flowers, CBD pre-rolls, or CBD cigarettes.
There are two shortcomings to the use of smoking. Firstly, it is much harder to measure dosage compared to vaping or tinctures. Secondly, you also run the same risk of lung inflammation.
CBD edibles are available in many forms. They include CBD gummies for anxiety, cookies, capsules, teas, candies, and more. While it offers flexibility in terms of discreetness and convenience, you need to consume a lot. The bioavailability of CBD from the digestive process is very low. It also takes a long time for digestion to happen and the effects to kick in.
Should You Buy CBD For Anxiety & Depression?
As the research suggests, there is credible evidence that CBD can positively affect anxiety and depression. Its action on the neural pathways and effect on the endocannabinoid system helps combat anxiety and reduces stress in the body.
It treats the symptoms of stress, preventing it from hindering your daily routine and chores. CBD’s calming effect allows you to mitigate the symptoms of depression and address the real issues behind your condition.
The other advantage of using CBD is its lack of adverse side effects compared to other depression medications. There is also no risk of addiction to CBD. Finally, CBD products are readily available at dispensaries, and you can also buy CBD online.
However, before using CBD for treating anxiety and depression, consult your doctor to determine whether it is suitable for you. It would help if you also took precautions in the choice of CBD products. Pick products that come with reliable positive reviews and follow health regulations. You should be able to ascertain the kind and quality of ingredients used.
The Risk Involved With CBD Products
As already noted above, one of the advantages of CBD as a treatment is its lack of adverse side effects. One study in 2019 found that people can tolerate high doses of CBD as high as 1500 mg/day. At most, the following are the likely side effects of CBD:
- Decreased appetite
- Changes in body weight either gains or loss
- Dry mouth
CBD may also have drug contraindications, especially on drugs that have a grapefruit warning. Just like grapefruit, CBD can interfere with enzymes responsible for drug metabolism.
Another potential risk is liver toxicity if you take CBD in high doses. A study on mice showed such a result after the mice force-fed on high doses of CBD extract.
There is considerable evidence that using CBD for anxiety and depression is effective. However, the subject needs more research to establish the exact working of CBD and the appropriate dosage. Because the compound is generally safe, you can consult your doctor to establish if you should use it. Even so, it would help if you were careful with the hundreds of products in the market. Work only with reputable brands and use a delivery method that allows you to get the most of the compound.