How CBD Works - How does CBD work for depression
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We've covered anxiety in-depth already.
Let's talk about the twin terror of depression and CBD.
"Hit" is the operative word. It's a brick wall!
For anyone who has suffered or known someone close who has, it's a tremendous level of suffering.
People still feel a tremendous amount of shame and stigma from depression which doesn't make sense!
It's just chemistry.
I know first hand as I've seen the most upbeat person for 20 years get hit with a bout during perimenopause.
Like fighting the tide.
And we tried everything!!
I mean everything!
Our pantry is a killing field of supplement and medication bottles.
None of that really touched it.
But here we are...feeling 95% there.
And oh yes...CBD.
Just yesterday, she was laughing about the few sessions with the therapists.
You can read more about her story here (especially if you're nearing or in perimenopause) but we're here to look at CBD.
If you're grasping for relief like we were, you can jump right to the CBD shopping guide (look at depression heading) here:
Otherwise, let's get into CBD and depression with a current research to back it up:
We saw the effect first hand but we want research!
First, let's look at the enemy....depression itself.
It's amazing that we work at all.
Just in your brain!
Now, we need to look at actors involved in the dance of feeling all right.
Depression doesn't mean anything's wrong with you.
It just means that chemistry isn't happening in body and brain at the ideal level.
We're not talking about the occasional "feeling down" periods which we all get.
This is more oppressive.
Something just isn't flowing correctly.
Before we get into CBD, we'll look at what's going on with depression.
Healthy mental functioning is a result of a careful dance between two and maybe even three sub systems:
Those are big systems with different actors that are in a constant dance or...battle!
The body and brain work this way.
There some actors that will boost a given effect while others will reduce it.
Too much can be bad (mania for example) while too little can be bad (depression).
It's constant tug of war and various tripwires and checks/balances.
We win when the two sides of a given partnered pair are in balance.
Remember those words...they're really important for CBD and depression.
So who are the actors?
A quick (very) synopsis of the most critical actors for depression.
All of these chemicals (and many others) have to balance out to feel "right".
The neurotransmitters are operating on a timescale of 1000's of a second.
The hormones are operating longer term and even cyclically (day/night, monthly, etc).
Again...it's a miracle we can even get up in the morning.
Let's address why sometimes we can't. Depression.
All of these chemicals have to be in a certain balance. Homeostatis.
There are mechanisms in the body to adjust when there's an outside influence (a tuba in the audience starts playing).
This could be a million things:
Those are the basics we should interact with. Our bodies have had a few million years to adjust to those.
Let's fast forward to the last 50 years.
Here's the issue.
Let's now throw this chemical symphony into a sea of new chemistry:
We all have this in our bodies now.
In fact, a study of umbilical cord blood found 287 chemicals present:
Of the 231,000 chemical legal to use in food and products, most of them are not tested for effects on hormones and neurotransmitters.
It's too complicated!
Most importantly, don't look for something bad if you think you might find it!
Our poor poor nervous and endocrine system.
It was designed for walking eight hours a day in the sun with an occasional lion scare.
Apple cart DOWN!
So we set the stage for depression.
Of course there are genetic differences that might make some people for susceptible.
If you have a faulty version, you don't break that down as well.
You can't get rid of adrenaline basically!
This is probably just a function of a much more complicated symphony (more hormones that need to come out just perfect).
In today's modern world of chemistry, this is EVEN trickier to pull off.
So...where does CBD come into play?
There's another system we need to talk about (the last one...I promise).
The endocannabinoid system.
That's a mouthful.
Hey flute, a little less of you!
Here's a quick graphic of this system:
The current thought is that this system helps to maintain homeostatis on these systems (at least):
As well as a few others.
In fact, it may be system-wide.
It's job appears to be the balance of the other systems.
It might be the one point in the body that's just...getting...beat...up by our modern chemistry.
It's overworked, understaffed, and falling behind.
So why does CBD have such an effect across so many seemingly different areas of the body (depression and arthritis???)
CBD exerts an influence on this endocannabinoid system which is sorely losing its battle for balance.
It appears to interact with our own natural endocannabinoids like anandamide.
The effects are pretty clear and it's nothing short of amazing.
There are over 150 research projects in the works now due to this seemingly powerful effect with such a high safety profile.
Let's look specifically at what research is showing for CBD and depression.
Lots to cover here and a slew of new experiments are on the way.
First, some hints on how CBD is influencing depression.
Some hints point to it's interaction with 5HTP, an important intermediary for serotonin.
What about pleasure seeking and pain avoidance, given the fancy name, prohedonic:
Depression is often exhibited as a lack of "lust for life" so this small slice of behavior speaks positively for CBD. The non-CBD subjects showed no change in behavior.
That's a good start!
How fast does CBD work on depression...we need help now!
Good news there:
Okay...so it worked very quickly on the 5HTP system and serotonin and glutamate are both in play
(remember those names from our explanation above??)
What about the endocannabinoid system itself which we naturally have in our body?
It must be at play if CBD is showing anti-depressive effects.
Let's boil this one down since it's interesting.
They basically gave standard anti-depressants to see if it measured levels of natural endocannabinoids in different regions of the brain.
This means that the root (or a root) of depression resides in the endocannabinoid system and we've been impacting it in a round-about way with antidepressants (albeit with many side effects).
CBD impacts it directly with few if any side effects!
It's not just about balancing chemicals.
Human brains are much more complicated than that.
There's stress, traumatic events....we all have a past!
CBD appears to help grow new neurons and nueronal connections and even help us forget bad ones!
This goes to HEALING...our minds!
This is why CBD has much interest in dealing with PTSD and other trauma related issues.
What about other aspects of health that correlate with depression...like blood pressure.
CBD also exerts an effect on blood pressure which correlates with depression in women.
One more chip away at the mystery that is (not for long) depression...especially for women who are hit at twice the rate as men.
So why do some people feel depression, especially as a result of stress?
Studies point back to the endocannabinoid system:
It might not only be CBD. There's tantalizing info on it's cousin CBC:
That's a plus for full spectrum CBD oil!
There's even evidence that our traditional line of anti-depressants (with terrible side effects) are ultimately trying to correct activity in the endocannabinoid.
Again, there are dozens of big studies in the works for CBD and depression.
The good news is this...you can quickly see if it works for you with very little downside.
Speaking of which, what are the side effects of CBD?
The most common side effects from CBD tested with pretty high dosages:
The safety profile is very strong.
Compare that to the most common and heavily prescribed anti depression medications...
You're likely to find a whole list including:
Really? Isn't that what we're trying to help?
If you're reading this (especially this far), we don't need to tell YOU about antidepressant side effects.
You know all too well.
You can learn about CBD and safety here.
Looking at the research up above, CBD's effects can be very fast!
It partially depends on delivery type:
The CBD oils can take 20-30 minutes to start their effects but they're longer lasting.
The vapes can be almost instantaneous.
Let us know your CBD results here to help others!
There are a few considerations here:
We'll discuss the type of CBD delivery below.
What about full spectrum versus CBD Isolate?
Full Spectrum versus Isolate for depression is interesting.
As we mentioned above, some of the other cannabinoids might also have anti-depressant effects..
CBC for example is showing promise.
There's also the theory that cannabinoids work together synergistically.
Nature does have this basic blueprint for other aspects of health and nutrients.
We expect much more research on the other cannabinoids shortly.
There are other substances (which can be good for you) in hemp oil such as terpenes, flavanoids, and more.
If you have a sensitive system, these may not make you feel well.
We would hate for people to miss out on the benefits of CBD due to an allergic reaction to other substances in the plant.
Maybe start with isolate and go forward from there!
Check our page where we screened the major CBD brands for safety, cost, and quality of product here:
You can also see the comparison of CBD brands here.
We're creating a massive repository of individual reviews for CBD brands, dosages, results, and types of products.
It will be added here when we reach a threshold of data.
PLEASE submit your results to add to the list (can be anonymously).
Let's help each other as CBD helps us!
This is a common question...how much CBD should I take for depression.
Here's the basic guideline:
25-30mg is generally thought of as the baseline for ongoing therapeutic results with depression.
There's even studies up to 1500mg (mainly to test safety).
If 600mg was used for addressing psychosis, depression should fall within or below that range.
Again, let us know your results based on dosage here.
There are alot of bad brands out there.
Just trying to cash in on the CBD craze.
That's partially why we built this site...to weed (sorry) out the bad CBD.
Check out our screen list of CBD brands and products here:
You can even shop by CBD for depression.
We are SO excited after hearing feedback from people with depression.
That can bring a smile to all our faces!
Email us your CBD story for others to learn
"I was lost...there's so many CBD products out there. Thank you for making this all make sense!"
"I literally lay down and I'm out. I wake one to use the bathroom and them I'm out again til morning. I almost NEVER am able to sleep like that! It's pretty awesome"
"I feel like my body is oddly more flexible in the gym if that makes sense. I do notice that I sleep deeper."
"CBD is the only way I get through the night. It's been a life-saver for me. Thank you for the research!"
SEE Statement at bottom regarding FDA notification and legal statement on claims
"I love the comparison! It's impossible to figure out what's being offered and for how much. Thank you so much! I'll make sure to send my CBD story to you!"
"I had no idea how important the lab results were with CBD. I won't touch it without first seeing what's in there now."
"I was spending sooo much energy fighting off negative thoughts before CBD. I have so much more energy now."
"Thank you so much for your marvelous work. I've told all my family members to check out the how it works page. Simple enough for even me to understand!"