By Brian Heineman
Mental health is an important and serious topic. If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others, please call the national suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255 Or chat with someone on their website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The World Health Organization estimates that 300 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety disorders and about 245 million suffer from depression.
Among the most popular uses for CBD is in relieving the effects of anxiety and depression. In an attempt to give current or potential users information to aid their decisions, we will be discussing the use of CBD products with regard to anxiety and depression.
The World Health Organization estimates that 300 million people suffer from anxiety disorders and about 245 million suffer from depression.
The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines anxiety as:
“medical : an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.”
Anxiety itself is not a single disorder, it is a category of disorders. There are five main types of anxiety disorders with their own potential causes and symptoms. They also require their own treatments.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) – The symptoms of SAD range from fear of public speaking, to the inability to socially interact with nearly anyone.
(Digital Communications Division 2015)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – PTSD usually develops after a person experiences a traumatic or terrifying event. Public awareness of PTSD is quite high after a high number of military servicemen and women have been diagnosed following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But military combat is not the only cause of PTSD, other potential causes include car accidents, disasters and personal attacks.
Panic Disorder – Panic disorder involves episodes of intense fear that have physical symptoms that often include heart palpitations, chest pain, and trouble breathing.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – This is a form of chronic anxiety, sufferers usually experience anxiety symptoms even when nothing provokes them.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – OCD is characterized by obsessive thoughts or compulsive activities such as hand washing, counting, organizing, etc. People with OCD are compelled to act on these repetitive behaviors with the hope of eliminating the obsessive thoughts.
CBD and Anxiety Disorders
Evidence from preclinical trials has suggested CBD can have a great effect on the symptoms of all the above forms of anxiety disorders when taken orally and acutely. (Blessing, Steenkamp, Manzanares, & Marmar 2015).
This means that when a person is experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorders, taking CBD orally may help eliminate or reduce the symptoms and allow the person to function at a higher level. Edibles, and tinctures are the prefered methods of taking CBD for anxiety.
While CBD has shown potential to positively affect anxiety, however THC can actually increase anxiety. This is why it is important to understand what levels of CBD and THC (if any) are in the product you are intending to use.
One thing that users and preclinical studies seem to agree on is that if CBD is to have an effect on anxiety symptoms, it should be taken orally. This is because of how the endocannabinoid system behaves. Topical treatments will only affect the endocannabinoid receptors in the epidermis and cannot enter the bloodstream.
The available anecdotal evidence shows potential for CBD products to greatly improve the quality of life for those suffering with anxiety disorders. There seems to be a focused effort to study the effects in treating PTSD particularly. However, that may be due to current levels of public awareness on the issue.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary Defines Depression as:
“a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.”
Like anxiety disorders, there are a multitude of depression disorders, however there does not seem to be such a specific list. The symptoms and causes are very similar and therefore the classification of depression disorders are based more on severity.
Symptoms of depression can depending on the person and the severity of the disorder, but common symptoms of depression are:
- Weight gain or loss
- Tired or lacking energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Disinterest is normal activities
- Thoughts of suicide
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
There are a host of depression disorders, but most are forms of one of two main categories:
Major Depression – Someone is classified as having major depression when they feel depressed most of the time and have multiple depression symptoms several times in two weeks.
Mild, Chronic Depression – Usually chronic depression comes with less severe depression symptoms, but they usually seem to last longer. This could be characterized as generally ‘feeling down’. Those with mild chronic depression usually experience symptoms of feeling tired and run down or disinterested in activities that would otherwise be enjoyable.
CBD for Depression
Studies with regard to the effect of CBD on depression have shown positive results in animal testing. CBD was shown to activate the 5-HT1A neuro-receptors in the body. (Schier, et al. 2014) These receptors are known to affect the production of dopamine, the chemical often referred to as the “happy hormone”. This interaction suggests great potential for CBD in treating depression disorders.
A Caution on Self Treatment of Anxiety and Depression
While many of the symptoms of anxiety and depression can be relatively mild, some of these symptoms can be quite severe. CBD might help with combating many of the symptoms of these disorders but mental health is a complex issue and should be addressed by a competent mental health professional. Also, if you currently take medications for anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues; testing and study of CBD and it’s interactions with such medications has not been completed. It is important that you speak with your physician and mental health professional before using CBD products.
We hope we have given you useful information on the types of CBD products and their uses and limitations with respect to users suffering from anxiety and depression. Please note that, other than for Epilepsy, no medical claims can be given here; only information covering CBD, its reported usage, and its anecdotal support.
Blessing, Esther M., et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics, vol. 12, no. 4, Apr. 2015, pp. 825–836., doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1.
Digital Communications Division. “What Are the Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders?” HHS.gov, 21 Aug. 2015, https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html.
Goldberg, Joseph. “Types of Depression: Major, Chronic, Manic, and More Types.” WebMD, WebMD, 16 Oct. 2018, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types#1.
Schier, Alexandre, et al. “Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Cannabidiol: A Chemical Compound of Cannabis Sativa.” CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, vol. 13, no. 6, Dec. 2014, pp. 953–960., doi:10.2174/1871527313666140612114838.
Tambaro, Simone, and Marco Bortolato. “Cannabinoid-Related Agents in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: Current Knowledge and Future Perspectives.” Recent Patents on CNS Drug Discovery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Apr. 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3691841/