Struggling with Depression? Here’s How CBD Can Help
Depression is perhaps one of the most difficult inner struggles to overcome. Although depression doesn’t affect everyone, in the same way, it does make life difficult on a daily basis for 1 in 3 Americans during at least one point in their life. For some people, it can last for seemingly forever while for others it affects them in waves, perhaps for a few days or a few months at a time. There are also many kinds of depression, each with their own series of complex symptoms. For example, clinical depression is the appearance of at least five of the ten symptoms listed here (as experienced during the course of two weeks):
- Experiencing a depressed mood (can also be expressed as irritability)
- Disinterest in daily activities and events
- Dramatic change in weight and appetite (increased or decreased)
- Change in sleeping patterns (insomnia or an urge to sleep constantly)
- Observable restlessness, or alternately a slowing down
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of shame, guilt, and/or worthlessness
- Difficulty making decisions
- Thoughts about suicide and death
Based on the increased demand, the pharmaceutical industry is developing, marketing and selling antidepressants more than ever before. There are expectations that the depression medicine industry will generate $16.8 billion USD worldwide by the end of 2020, and that the number of depressed people in the United States alone will surpass 30 million. But despite the push for increased use of antidepressants, many people suffering from depression are not finding relief. Pharmaceuticals only benefit about 1 in 3 people with depression, and more often than not cause unwanted side effects... so what options are left for everyone else?
CBD Oil as an Effective All Natural Alternative
There is increasing evidence that a natural phytocannabinoid found within the cannabis plant can have potentially powerful results for people who suffer from depression. This is on top of the mountain of anecdotal evidence from people already self-medicating with CBD oil. Cannabidiol, also called CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which provides long sought after relief for people suffering from mental illness. As a phytocannabinoid, it easily interacts with the body’s own endocannabinoid system. This system is also responsible for our own mood regulation, and when unbalanced can lead to bouts of depression.
Without causing any known side effects (besides a feeling of relaxation), CBD oil can effectively and naturally treat depression. This makes it much friendlier than common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) medications. These common pharmaceuticals can lead to increased depression, mood swings, decreased sexual desire, insomnia, and increased suicidal thoughts. On the other end of the spectrum, CBD does not cause any of these side effects. It has also been shown to work more effectively and much more quickly than traditional medications. For example, mice were found to have reduced anxiety and restlessness (indicators, researchers link to mood and depressive tendencies in mice), within 30 minutes of a CBD injection. Compared to SSRIs, which could take over a week to affect mood, and months to level out, CBD provides immediate relief. Cannabidiol is thought to do this because it interacts directly and indirectly, with the endocannabinoid system. Although not entirely understood, it seems to affect a variety of serotonin receptors in the brain.
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Because CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory, and new studies are emerging linking depression to brain inflammation, this could also be another reason why CBD works so powerfully for treatment of mood disorders. This relatively new theory in depression studies is called ”Immune Cytokine Model of Depression”, whereby brain inflammation has been found to increase during times of depression. When the brain is inflamed, it can then trigger an autoimmune response from the immune system. If you follow this theory, then depression is not actually a chemical imbalance as other theories hypothesize. Instead, depression is caused by chronic over activation of the immune system.
On top of its quick ability to balance mood and reduce inflammation, CBD also targets many other symptoms of depression. For example, CBD is a natural way to treat insomnia due to fostering a feeling of relaxation. It can also manage changes in appetite levels, and although it doesn’t cause the munchies like marijuana can, it is actually prescribed to people undergoing chemotherapy to maintain healthy appetite levels.
Most importantly, for anyone experiencing depression, CBD offers the immediate relief required to take the next steps towards recovery. This means it can make it easier to manage day to day experiences. It allows people to overcome some of the most destructive symptoms of depression in order to work on life changes that can solve depression for the long term. Because, although some people respond immediately to SSRI medications, the vast majority of people require a complex combination of solutions that treat their individual experience. Cannabidiol oil successfully treats many of the symptoms, including brain inflammation; this makes it easier to tackle lifestyle changes such as exercise, diet, therapy, and meditation. In combination, with CBD managing daily symptoms and lifestyle adjustments targeting the underlying problems, depression can seem like a much easier beast to tame.
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