Anxiety, Depression and CBD – Everything You Need to Know

A difinitive guide to treat depression and anxiety with CBD

Image Credit: By mimagephotography on shutterstock.

Did you know that anxiety is the primary mental illness in the United States? Studies show that almost 40 million adults, more than 18% of the population, are suffering from anxiety. It is common for people suffering from anxiety to have depression as well. The numbers of suicide attempts because of anxiety and depression are alarming.

What Are Anxiety and Depression?

Anxiety and depression are two different mental illnesses. Sadness and fear are a regular part of our lives. People with depression, however, have an intense feeling of sadness and emptiness. People with anxiety are overwhelmed with irrational fear. Both illnesses can affect school or work performance and relationships.

What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is our normal reaction to life-threatening situations. However, people with anxiety disorders experience this existential dread without a truly life-threatening situation. Types of anxiety disorders include:

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
    This disorder is defined as overall intense worry (about money, school, job, health, etc.). People with GAD may experience symptoms of anxiety such as:
    • Extreme fear
    • Fatigue
    • Restlessness
    • Body weakness
    • Tremors
  2. Panic Disorder:
    This disorder leads to sudden and regular panic attacks. People with panic disorders worry that something terrible will happen when there is no clear danger. They may experience symptoms such as:
    • Palpitations
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea or dizziness
    • Numbness
    • Fear of being out of control
    • Detached feeling of dissociation
  3. Phobias:
    Phobias are defined as intense or unreasonable fear of specific objects, places or situations even though there’s no real harm. For those with anxiety, these irrational fears are totally uncontrollable.
  4. Social Anxiety Disorder:
    People with social anxiety are uncomfortable with socialization. They get particularly anxious around public speaking, meeting new people, and crowds. They have an intense fear of interacting with others.
  5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
    OCD is considered a destructive type of disorder. Sufferers experience obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are irrational thoughts that can cause distress and anxiety. Compulsions are based on behavior, with a strong desire to perform specific actions or activities that often seem totally illogical to others.
  6. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
    PTSD is a possible response to life trauma and actual life-threatening experiences.

What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood or state of gloom that affects the person’s behavior, thoughts, and a sense of wellbeing. Subtypes include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Depression not otherwise specified (DNOS)
  1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD):
    This is a severe feeling of sadness or emptiness that is persistent for more than two weeks. MDD can last a lifetime for some patients. To be diagnosed with MDD, you must experience some of the following depressive symptoms:
    • Everyday sense of sadness
    • Irritability
    • Less interested in normal activities
    • Changes in appetite and energy level
    • Low self-esteem
    • Poor concentration
    • Suicidal thoughts
  2. Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia):
    Dysthymia is less severe and typically lasts for only two years. Symptoms include:
    • Loss of interest in your daily activities
    • Hopelessness
    • Low self-esteem
    • Indecisive
  3. Depression Not Otherwise Specified (DNOS):

    DNOs lasts from two days to 2 weeks. It is 311 in the DSM-IV for depressive disorders. It includes any person with unipolar depression that does not meet the criteria of major depressive disorder or dysthymia.

Depression may often be confused with bipolar disorder. This is because bipolar includes depressive episodes. The difference between the two is that depression has consistent lows, whereas bipolar has shifts between extreme highs (mania) and extreme lows (depression).

CBD Oil & How It Works

CBD (cannabinol) is a compound that is derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike it’s cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is  non-psychoactive so it will not make you high. CBD has recently become a focus of medical study. It could serve as a low side effect alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals. This has led to a huge amount of speculation on its potential uses, especially for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors(SNRIs) are the commonly prescribed antidepressants and anxiolytics (anti-anxiety medication). Based on a review, published in 2013 by the  British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD Oil is beneficial for treating anxiety and depression. A 2015 analysis concluded that CBD oil can be used as to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other forms of anxiety.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the key systems that act in maintaining human health. This system and its receptors are found throughout the body including in the brain, organs, and immune cells. The endocannabinoid system is made up of 2 main receptors. These are CB1, located in your central nervous system, and CB2 receptors, found in your immune cells and peripheral nervous system. These two receptors are responsible for regulating bodily functions, including:

  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Motor control
  • Immune function
  • Memory

Depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders seem to be connected to two particular neurotransmitters: serotonin and dopamine. CBD is able to increase these neurotransmitters. However, CBD oil is still not legal in some places so be mindful when purchasing it. Although there are a lot of anecdotal reviews from individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression, you should consult your doctor or a mental health professional before using it to treat any disorder.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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