If you’re one of our loyal readers, then you’ve noticed that lately, we’ve been all about the therapeutic potential of CBD. We wrote a post about CBD as a natural sleeping pill, about CBD as a natural painkiller and today we’re back with a special CBD and depression article.
Yes, we love our little molecule! And even if its health benefits are still not legally recognized, we believe in it!
Depression, a common disease
According to WHO figures, depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. It affects more than 300 million people of all ages and social classes.
Be careful, one should not confuse “coup de blues” with depression. If the symptoms can be similar (feeling of sadness, devaluation, sleep, and appetite disorders), one lasts only a few days maximum, while the other is a chronic and prolonged state.
This psychiatric illness has been recognized since the dawn of time and multiple treatments have been developed. In particular, since the 1950s, depression has been treated in the West with psychotropic drugs, i.e., drugs that act on brain chemistry.
In addition to having many annoying side effects, such as sexual problems, dependency or sleep disorders, antidepressants are not always effective. In fact, for 40% of patients, this type of treatment does not bring any improvement.
The use of cannabinoids, and more particularly CBD, to formulate a natural treatment against depression is therefore of indisputable interest!
CBD and depression: scientific research
Serotonin and endocannabinoid system
Numerous studies conducted on animals have highlighted the potential of CBD as an antidepressant and anti stress. In this respect, it would seem that CBD owes these properties to its action on the 1A serotonin receptors.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter of the nervous system that manages moods among other things. It is also called the happiness hormone.
More and more research is postulating that a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could induce a depressive state. Studies have shown that cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) could be an excellent starting point for pharmacological research into a treatment for anxiety and mood disorders.
THC as well as CBD, cannabinoids that react with CB1, could therefore regulate the production of serotonin, and therefore, improve the emotional state of people who suffer from depression.
CBD and nervous system: the first studies
A study shows that current antidepressants have a very long response time. And sometimes – often even – this type of treatment proves ineffective. Knowing this, many researchers set out to study CBD to see if the molecule could be a fast and effective treatment for depression.
The results are without appeal. Indeed, 30 minutes after having administered a dose of CBD, patients reported a significant antidepressant effect. The researchers observed an increase in the production of neurotrophic factor from the brain (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, BDNF).
Since BDNF is a protein that plays a key role in mood regulation, the researchers concluded that CBD could indeed be an excellent antidepressant.
Cannabis natural antidepressant
Another study, this time conducted on rats – observed the mechanisms of CBD as an antidepressant. In particular, they looked at its role and influence on the production of serotonin and noradrenaline.
The data showed that CBD significantly improves the symptoms of depression via the regulation of serotonin production. And when CBD is administered with a serotonin agonist, or any other agent capable of influencing its production, a rather remarkable synergy is observed.
CBD as a natural antidepressant? Experts talk about it
Technically, CBD is an excellent natural antidepressant.
In view of these few studies, the link between CBD and depression seems obvious.
There are many cases of people who say they can cure their depression with CBD. “Animal studies show that CBD has antidepressant effects. And there are many testimonies of patients who use CBD to cure their depression.
Testimonial CBD depression
There are many scientific studies that suggest the effectiveness of CBD in treating depression.
“From a neurophysiological perspective, the endocannabinoid system is known to regulate cognition, mood, sleep, pain and motivation. Furthermore a decrease in ECS activity is thought to be one of the symptoms of depression, along with a loss of interest, increased anxiety levels and decreased pain resistance.”
“We must admit that the formal evidence of the antidepressant effect of CBD on human beings is not sufficient. Plus, the testimonials are usually about patients who have used CBD alongside another treatment for depression.”
Finally, Dr. Yoon explains, “In other studies, the antidepressant effect of cannabis is attributed to THC. For example, it has been reported that THC, synthetic or not, is effective in improving mood, decreasing chronic pain and treating bipolar.”
Regardless, all experts agree that many more studies are needed to understand the mood regulation benefits of CBD. However, preliminary studies show that therapeutic cannabis is safe, which lends legitimacy to CBD as a treatment for depression.
However, the interactions between drugs and CBD, as well as their long-term effects, are not yet fully understood.
Before considering CBD as a treatment for depression, it is best to consult your doctor, especially if you are undergoing other treatments.
The last word is on CBD and depression.
To conclude, we will simply say that despite the lack of studies, the number of patients for whom CBD has proven effective against depression is constantly increasing. Just like the number of stores specializing in CBD products.