Depression isn’t just being sad, it’s a mental illness and it can be fatal. There are available medications, therapies, and treatments for its symptoms. CBD for depression is one of the latest developments in managing depression, and we can’t deny the fact that it’s gaining significant traction. Still, the question lies — is there light at the end of the tunnel?
What is Depression?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the handbook used by professionals as a guide in diagnosing mental disorders, outlines 5 criteria in order to diagnose depression. An individual should experience 5 or more symptoms during the same 2-week period. At least 1 of the symptoms should either be (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
- Depressed mood mostly all day and nearly every day.
- Diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day, nearly every day.
- Significant weight loss even when not dieting or weight gain, or increase or decrease in appetite nearly every day.
- Slowing down of thought and reduction of physical movements observable by others.
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
- Indecisiveness or diminished ability to think or concentrate nearly every day.
- Recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide, recurrent thoughts of death.
In order to receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in occupational, social, or other areas of daily functioning. In addition, the symptoms must not be due to the presence of an underlying medical condition or substance abuse.
Anti-depressants have been around for some time, and in fact, they are considered as first-line treatment options for several mental health problems. On the other hand, CBD oil as an alternative treatment for depression started to gain popularity just in recent years.
Depression (Major Depressive Disorder) is treated effectively for most people with a combination of anti-depressive drugs and psychotherapy. There are several anti-depressive drugs, as such, it is best to consult the doctor to find out which one works best for one’s situation.
Although anti-depressive drugs can effectively treat the symptoms of depression, they don’t do so in a snap of a finger. During the course of treatment, one may feel some side effects from the drug such as dry mouth, weight gain, blurred vision, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, irritability, and anxiety. For pregnant and nursing mothers, there are also certain anti-depressive drugs that may pose an increased risk to their unborn child or nursing child.
Moreover, though most anti-depressants are generally safe, some may increase the presence of suicidal thoughts during the first few weeks of treatment or when the dose is changed. In addition, there are also the dangers of experiencing withdrawal-like symptoms (flu-like symptoms) if one decides to go cold turkey or to abruptly stop taking their anti-depressants. Discontinuing the drugs abruptly may also worsen the symptoms of depression.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of the compounds (cannabinoids) that are unique to the cannabis plants. However, unlike another cannabinoid called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD is not psychoactive or it doesn’t give a “high.”
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CBD for Depression: What does it do if it does anything at all?
CBD oil has been increasing its popularity over the past few months as laws continue to increase its access and as new uses are discovered through several studies and research. One of the many promising wonders of CBD oil is its role in treating depression.
The findings of the research in 2014 may help explain as to why CBD may be helpful in treating depression and other mental illness. The research pays special attention to what other studies have found out, and that is CBD may have a positive interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain.
Serotonin is being coined as the “happy hormone,” because of its important role in maintaining mood balance. Low serotonin levels in the system have been linked to depression. Aside from regulating mood and social behavior, serotonin is also believed to regulate appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, sexual desire, and function.
Furthermore, studies also indicated that CBD works without affecting the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) directly. This may indicate that there is a lesser risk of CBD becoming addictive or habit-forming. This finding is important since a lot of people are concerned about the habit-forming potential of anti-depressants.
Mixing CBD Oil with Anti-depressants
Anti-depressants interact with several drugs, and CBD oil is not excluded in the list. SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are considered as the first-line medications for depression. As such, it’s not a surprise that there is a significant interest regarding its combination with CBD oil in treating depression. Although there are people who reported that their symptoms improved upon taking CBD oil and SSRI together, it may not be applicable for all.
CBD has the potential to interact with SSRIs and other anti-depressants, which can lead to an increase in the concentration of anti-depressants in the body and higher side effects.
CBD or Anti-depressants: Which is better?
Considering the effects to one’s body if anti-depressants are taken with CBD oil, it may be better to just choose one. So, you are left with the predicament of choosing between CBD and anti-depressants. This is an important health concern; as such it would be best to seek the expert advice of your physician. It would also help to ask around the community. Some people might have been ahead of you in this quest and has been effectively using CBD oil in treating depression.