Depression is typically characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, fatigue, low motivation and loss of interest in things usually enjoyed. Anxiety is often described as the experience of persistent unease, worry or fear about something where the source of concern is not easily identified or resolved. Both anxiety and depression can be treated using CBD.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in cannabis that has medicinal effects but does not make people feel “stoned” and counteracts some of the impact tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) creates. Many studies suggest that CBD oil has therapeutic effects in treating many health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression and acne.
How Does CBD Oil Work to Treat Anxiety & Depression?
CBD oil affects the endocannabinoid system in various ways. One of its most significant impacts on mood disorders is by promoting an increase in the extracellular levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood and appetite. CBD oil also increases “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” levels, which enhances the growth of neurons and prevents brain cells from degenerating.
CBD for Anxiety
It’s unclear how CBD oil helps with anxiety, but it is thought to work through the CB1 receptor in the brain. The interactions between CBD oil and CB1 receptors are believed to alter serotonin messages. Low serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter linked to mood and well-being, is at the core of anxiety disorders.
CBD for Depression
The cause of depression is not well understood, but several hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain have been implicated. One of the most consistent findings reported has been low serotonin levels in people with major depression.
CBD oil is thought to intervene with serotonin regulation in several ways: It activates 5-HT1A receptors, inhibiting serotonin reuptake. It influences the number of binding sites for serotonin in the brain by increasing the availability of 5-HT1A and decreasing the availability of 5-HT2A or SERT (related to serotonin reuptake). CBD oil also reduces levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO), an enzyme that breaks down serotonin.
How to Use CBD Oil to Treat Anxiety and Depression
CBD oil is available in various forms, including capsules, tinctures, sublingual drops, oral applicators, creams and gums. The most common form of CBD oil is a concentrated solution that comes in either a spray or dropper bottle. Concentrated solutions are the simplest and easiest way to take CBD oil because you don’t need a vaporizer or special equipment.
Tinctures and sprays both use droppers to deliver the solution containing CBD directly under your tongue, where it gets absorbed in the bloodstream. Sublingual solutions and oral applicators function similarly: they are administered through absorption via the mucosal membranes in the oral cavity. The difference is how long they last before being absorbed into your body.
A sublingual solution typically starts working in 30-60 minutes, while an applicator takes 1-2 hours. Sublingual drops are also available that take effect within 5 minutes. CBD oil capsules are taken 1-3 hours before they start working.
Disadvantages of Using CBD Oil to Treat Anxiety & Depression
CBD is not psychoactive, so it doesn’t get you high. However, this is also a benefit because there are fewer unpleasant side effects. Side effects of CBD oil are rare but can include tiredness or diarrhea if the dosage is too high.
Also, CBD products are not available widely and can be pretty expensive. CBD is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug; thus, there are legal restrictions on producing and using CBD oil. Some states have not legalized CBD products making it very hard to use these products. Also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any CBD-infused drug for the use of anxiety and depression.
Some CBD products sold in the market often advertise some false medical claims since these products are not FDA regulated. Many of these products are not tested for quality and may have some harmful chemicals that could cause harm. Also, some have more than 0.3% THC concentration and may cause psychoactive effects for the users.
Furthermore, CBD can interfere with the body’s ability to process certain types of medication. This includes anticoagulants, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and birth control pills. Not enough is known about the interactions between CBD oil and other psychiatric drugs.
People with liver or kidney disorders are at risk of developing complications because both organs are needed to metabolize CBD. There are currently no controlled studies on how CBD oil interacts with other psychiatric medications, but there are concerns that it may exacerbate psychosis in people who have schizophrenia.
CBD can also increase the effect of drugs that cause drowsiness, like antidepressants and alcohol. It will not interact with other herbs or supplements you may be taking. CBD may also interact with anti-epileptic medications, antianxiety drugs and some antidepressants.
How to Safely Buy CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression
If you decide that CBD is suitable for you, several things should guide your purchase. First of all, it’s important to note that the FDA does not regulate CBD oil for sale. CBD oil is considered a dietary supplement by the FDA, so it’s not subject to rigorous testing. Buy only from reputable retailers who clearly state that their products are made with pure CBD extract in controlled conditions. Look for manufacturers that offer full-spectrum extracts instead of isolates for the best quality. CBD oil contains all of the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant, not just CBD itself.
What are the Common Side effects of CBD Oil?
CBD oil is not known to cause side effects when used by healthy adults in any amount or form. People with chronic pain should consult a doctor before using CBD oil because it can interact with drugs they are already taking and affect their condition.
CBD may also interfere with the activity of other medications, including those for seizures, blood thinning and cholesterol management. It can also raise the risk of liver damage if you have a history of alcoholism or take medications to treat alcoholic hepatitis.
Ongoing research looks into more potential side effects with antipsychotic medications for people with schizophrenia and epilepsy. However, CBD oil is widely considered safe when taken in the recommended amounts. CBD oil has even been studied for its anti-cancer properties.