Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. It is also referred to simply as seasonal depression. Symptoms of SAD usually occur in the fall and winter, as a deep inner sadness that is difficult to explain.
This description may sound mild to skeptics who may think it is just a temporary “blues”, but this disorder is real and diagnosed by doctors. This depression is linked to the change of seasons and affects more and more people each year.
Today, treatments for this disorder are few and do not replace therapy or recent techniques such as light therapy. Their effectiveness is nevertheless uncertain and they have difficulty acting on symptoms such as sleep disorders or anxiety. However, a product that is gaining in popularity has proven to be effective in relieving these symptoms: Cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD is a very effective product to fight against the disturbing symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) such as anxiety, irritability, appetite or sleep disorders. It also has a little-studied but proven impact on the serotonin production system, which improves the overall mood quality of an individual.
Let’s look in detail at how CBD can help with seasonal affective disorder. But first, let’s review our definitions.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Definition of Seasonal Affective Disorder
As stated earlier, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that is related to the seasons. It is different from “classic” depression, has different causes and is not treated in the same way.
The causes related to this disorder are designated as the result of a lack of light during the fall and winter months. Indeed, the days being shorter and greyer during this period, individuals are less exposed to sunlight, they have a deficiency in vitamin D. They experience a disruption of their internal biological clock and are affected in their mental health, particularly in their production of serotonin and dopamine.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder are quite similar to the symptoms of “normal” depression. Here is a comprehensive list of the symptoms of SAD:
- Depression, irritability or unusual bad moods
- Lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed
- Prolonged loss of energy
- Recurrent sleep problems
- heightened sensitivity
- Isolation and escape from social situations
- Unusual inertia or agitation
- Changes in weight or appetite (including unusual weight gain)
- Problems concentrating
- Unexplained feelings of hopelessness or guilt
- Suicidal thoughts (in severe cases)
Symptoms usually begin with mild intensity and become more pronounced and uncomfortable as the season progresses. These symptoms can persist throughout the winter until the arrival of warm weather.
More than 500,000 people may suffer from seasonal affective disorder each year, most often women. Each case is different, the intensity of the symptoms can vary according to the person in whom the disorder occurs.
Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder
There are few treatments for seasonal affective disorder. The one that is most promoted is light therapy.
Light therapy is the use of a lamp equipped with a UV filter (ultraviolet light) that allows exposure to an artificial white light intense enough to replicate the effects of the sun.
It is recommended to do a short treatment of 2 weeks, with 30 minutes of daily exposure. The light intensity must be greater than 2,000 lux (lux: unit of measurement of light intensity) in order to act effectively. The clinical standard is estimated at 10,000 lux to have an effective effect on the seasonal affective disorder.
Light therapy for the treatment of the seasonal affective disorder is often treated with complementary therapy and antidepressant medication.
It is often recommended to combine these treatments for the best results. On the other hand, if you prefer a more natural and alternative approach to treating your symptoms, you may want to consider using CBD oil as a supplement to your doctor’s advice. But then what effect does CBD have on seasonal affective disorder symptoms?
CBD to fight against seasonal affective disorder
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the cannabinoids identified in cannabis. Once consumed, it acts on the body’s receptors just like another better-known cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Unlike THC, CBD produces a relaxing effect but has no psychoactive effects.
CBD offers many medicinal virtues that are not negligible. It is considered to have anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidepressant effects. It is notably known to have very encouraging effects on certain severe forms of epilepsy and on diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or fibromyalgia.
What are the effects of Cannabidiol on seasonal affective disorder?
As you know, two neurotransmitters in your brain, dopamine and serotonin, play an essential role in regulating your mood and happiness on a daily basis.
Active compounds in cannabis, such as CBD, have been shown to actively boost levels of the serotonin and dopamine production systems by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. CBD is therefore very effective in relieving symptoms such as anxiety and depression but also seasonal affective disorder.
Numerous studies conducted by scientists have revealed that patients with anxiety disorder experience significant relief after receiving doses of CBD. The science is very definitive on this topic, but studies continue to learn even more about the benefits of CBD as a whole.
When it comes to managing depression, many studies have reported that CBD also has antidepressant qualities. In fact, it seems to affect serotonin receptors by increasing their levels, just as antidepressants do.
If you are on an antidepressant, you are urged to consult your doctor before consuming CBD, in order to get the right medical advice for your situation.
How to use Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD is available in many forms to suit the preferences and lifestyle of each consumer. CBD-rich cannabis flowers can be used by those who prefer to smoke and vaporize the product to provide large amounts of CBD.
CBD oils are the most popular products of all lines. They are administered sublingually, and can be added to many foods and drinks or even on the skin directly.
The capsules are also an easy option to incorporate into an existing diet.