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Can CBD Help Depression?

For sufferers of depression, life can be difficult and at times challenging. Many of those who’ve been diagnosed with depression or mental illness find that traditional medications come with a range of side-effects, and are looking for alternatives. They’re asking the question, can CBD help depression?

While we don’t have all of the answers, we’d like to take the opportunity to look into this question for you, and see what we can find.

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

Depression symptoms can be complex and vary differently from person to person. Which is one of the reasons that it’s so difficult for researchers to say whether CBD can treat depression or not. But for most sufferers, the following symptoms may appear at one stage or another:

  • Continuous low moods and sadness
  • A helpless, hopeless feeling
  • Low self-esteem
  • Guilt, irritability and difficulty making decisions
  • A lack of enjoyment
  • A constant feeling of anxiety or worry
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm

IMPORTANT – If you suffer from suicidal thoughts, please seek immediate help. The Samaritans can be called 24/7 on 116 123.

Sufferers may also experience physical symptoms, such as aches and pains, disturbed sleep, a lack of energy and a lower than normal sex drive.

What do the Experts Say?

As with most research into CBD as a medicinal treatment, research is in its early stages. However, two investigations suggest that cannabidiol could help to treat the symptoms of depression:

Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Cannabidiol: A Chemical Compound of Cannabis sativa (Published 2014)

Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age (Published 2018)     

Now you can read through these articles yourself, for free, but we’ve pulled out a number of key claims from each one. Please bear in mind that these are not proven medicinal conclusions. They’re the findings from preliminary research, which has prompted further research to see whether CBD really can treat the symptoms of depression.

  • Tests suggest that CBD creates “antidepressant-like actions” in the brains of rats
  • Animals treated with CBD appeared calmer, and less stressed and threatened
  • In tests, CBD lifted the mood of subject animals
  • CBD also helps limit compulsive behaviours and depressive tendencies in human subjects
  • In human subjects, CBD acts more quickly than other anti-depressant medications.

Of course, successful tests on rats and a few positive human results might be a coincidence, and it’ll be a while before medical researchers can say for sure, but these results have given hope to many depression sufferers.

What do CBD Advocates Say?

While medical researchers can take years, or even decades to come to a conclusion on whether a certain supplement can treat or lessen the symptoms of depression (read our deep dive into medicinal CBD post for an explanation why), those who suffer with depression have been testing CBD products for themselves.

And their feedback, while still anecdotal, has been very positive indeed.

"I've been using CBD drops for 6 weeks and [I'm at] the point where I’m ready to come off anti-depressants."

John - a CBD.co.uk Customer

“Studies have shown that CBD may have therapeutic benefits for brain disorders such as psychosis, depression, and multiple sclerosis.

CBD oil helps to significantly improve depressive symptoms and the individual’s quality of life.

Depression Alliance

CBD doesn’t necessarily boost serotonin levels, but it may affect how your brain’s chemical receptors respond to the serotonin that’s already in your system.

CBD may also result in fewer side effects than antidepressant medication.”

Kimberly Holland & Zara Risoldi Cochrane, Healthline

Many blog posts written by advocates seem to back up the initial findings of the researchers we’ve mentioned earlier in this post, and in fact, some quote those same findings themselves.

So as far as CBD advocates, and those living with depression are concerned, cannabidiol supplements certainly seem to help a number of individuals.

Can CBD Help Depression or the Symptoms of Depression?

Here’s the thing. We aren’t scientists. We’re not medical researchers. And we’re not doctors. We can’t definitively say one way or the other. All we can do is share the information that both experts and the people looking for alternative treatments have put out into the world.

So until the research is in, and the medical community either proves or disproves the evidence put forward by the CBD advocates who’ve claimed tongue drops and CBD vapes leave them calmer and less depressed, we can’t say for sure. But there does seem to be growing body of people who’ve tried cannabidiol supplements and are certain that CBD helps their depression.

Please note: If you are being treated for depression, please talk to your GP before taking new supplements or reducing your existing medication.

What do you think? Can CBD help depression? Share your experiences with us either in the comments section, or via social media.
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