Before knowing how CBD can help with depression and anxiety let us first understand these illnesses at close quarters. These are medical conditions or pathologies which affect a person’s thinking, behavior and the way he/she performs day to day tasks and generally lives their lives. These twin illnesses reduce productivity, lower mental and physical health quotient and the concerned person typically becomes a social recluse. Moreover, people with depression and anxiety reflect different sets of symptoms. These indications are distinct to every individual.
Some of the common symptoms of depression include:
Read about the causes of depression here.
To be diagnosed as someone suffering from depression, these symptoms should be present for at least two weeks. However, depression and anxiety look and feel different for each person so they may experience just some or all of the symptoms listed above, with the possible addition of many others. When symptoms manifest even daily chores and routines are left neglected. Depression and anxiety can be utterly debilitating and really ruin a person’s life.
Mental health professionals categorize depression based on causes and symptoms. Mentioned below are some of the common types of depressions.
Major depression Disorder or MDD
There is another term for MDD called clinical depression. The concerned person suffers from major mood swings and may also show signs of weight gain or loss, fatigue, loss of interest in normal routines and activities and may remain in a perpetual state of brooding/sadness. A combination of stress and genetic disorder can lead to MDD. It typically reduces the ability of the person to maintain mood stability.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder, also known as Dysthymia, is generally the result of traumatic or stressful life events. Loss of close family members/partners or financial issues can trigger this kind of depression. It tends to last for a longer time and is typically classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Anger, general discontent, guilt and hopelessness are some of the mood related symptoms. The concerned individual may also suffer from insomnia or excessive sleep and also experience extreme eating habits which can lead to weight gain or loss.
Postpartum depression is triggered during pregnancy. Women experience a drastic hormonal shift from conception to the birth of a child. This can cause them to develop depression. The onset of depression starts as soon the woman conceives and may last till the child is born or even for several months into motherhood.
Often termed as “Baby Blues” by many, it is not to be neglected or simply brushed off as it needs the same kind of attention and medication as any other type of depression. Some of the common symptoms associated with postpartum depression include – persistent lethargy, sadness, confusion, a lack of connection to the baby, unwillingness to care for the baby, hallucinations and even delusions.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder occurs when there is less sunlight. A typical example would be winter. This form of disorder shows up every year around the same time ( month ) and more often than not envelopes the concerned individual with the same set of symptoms that include fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal. Treatment includes light therapy (phototherapy), talk therapy and medication. One of the major causes for SAD is believed to be triggered by disturbance in the normal bio-clock of the body.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
As the name suggests, this form of disorder is triggered by each menstrual cycle. The hormonal changes which take place can cause a temporary deficiency in serotonin, a chemical ingredient found in the brain and intestines which is responsible for feeling happy.
Some of the symptoms include:
On the other hand anxiety is a different ball game altogether. People typically get confused between anxiety and depression. While the former simply forces a person to worry or brood about something which has not yet happened the latter pushes the same individual into a state of panic.
There are several types of anxiety disorder:
Social Anxiety Disorder
Almost 6.8% of Americans suffer from this disorder. Interestingly, 15 million residents, both men and women experience social anxiety disorder for a long time before eventually seeking medical help. Although this survey was conducted years ago, the current figures are even more disturbing.
Social Anxiety Disorder is a condition where the concerned individual is self conscious of everyday situations. It is a fear of being assessed, being looked down upon, laughed at or even ridiculed. This self consciousness can have huge implications as the illness grows which can eventually lead to complete social apathy.
Around 2.7% (or 6 million people) of the population in the U.S are affected by this disorder. Panic disorder typically builds up fear of the unknown. Some of the key symptoms include palpitations, uncontrollable sweating, fear, and chest pains which are similar to those felt during a heart attack. Moreover, women are twice more likely to suffer from this pathological condition than men. Panic disorder can strike at any time without warning.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD affects 8.7% of American population which translates into 19 million folks, and the numbers are increasing by the year. So what is generalized anxiety disorder? Well, it is a constant fear of the worst even when things or situations are normal. People with GAD typically rush through the day’s events and routines in the bid to bypass their “Imagined” fears or worries. They are totally pessimistic. Even though people with GAD realize that some of their anxiousness is baseless they still continue to nurture and thrive on it. They cannot help it. Once again, women are twice more likely to suffer from this disorder than men.
This is a category of people suffering from specific phobias such as water, small spaces, height or flying in an airplane. A large number of U.S residents suffer from specific phobias.
Other common anxiety disorders include Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are prescribed for people suffering from anxiety and depression as these easily and quickly react with serotonin receptors of human body. Most of these medicines simply calm the body both physically and mentally.
However, long term use of antidepressants may actually aggravate the illness further because of conflicting reactions. On the other hand electroconvulsive therapy or ECT can provide immediate relief to patients suffering from mental disorders, especially when antidepressants fail. Concerned individuals are treated with shock therapy. It is a psychiatric treatment which induces electrical shocks in patients to restore the chemical balance of brain.
Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy heal the mind and offer mental peace and equilibrium with zero possibility of side effects. These are mental exercises which allow a person to focus on positive energies and thereby get rid of negative thoughts. These therapies allow patients to take control of their thoughts once and for all.
In spite of the availability of various medications and therapies, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety continue to haunt people through frequent relapses. At times, these options fail to treat the person completely. This simply aggravates the illness further. The concerned person feels even more depressed and sad. This is where CBD oil can make a big difference.
CBD Oil for Depression and Anxiety
CBD oil is a plant extract which it is considered a potential alternative medicine for scores of illnesses including mental disorders. It is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, a type of cannabis. However, it does not cause the addictive ‘high’ associated with other forms of cannabis. CBD oil can be consumed orally or topically.
Our bodies produce chemicals called endocannabinoids which latch on to the receptors scattered throughout our bodies. Once connected to the receptors, they produce different reactions. In particular they are known to regulate mood and minimise pain. CBD oil contains high levels of cannabinoids, so acts in much the same way as other supplements do. It helps to support our endocannabinoid system.
A 2015 study hails CBD oil as an alternate medicine for treating numerous forms of anxieties including many of those mentioned above. This study also warned that due to lack of data on its long term use, its potential side effects remain a mystery. However, the study claims that the short term benefits of CBD oil are impeccable and show no adverse side effects.
Other studies into the use of CBD oil for chronic pain conditions and many other illnesses and diseases suggest that there are zero negative side effects for short or long term use. All in all, it seems an extremely safe option to those seeking an alternative treatment to depression and/or anxiety.
As always though, it’s important to speak to your family doctor before making any changes to the treatment of your illness.