Can CBD oil treat depression?
What is depression?
The ancient Greeks, who were aware of the need to treat melancholy, already knew what depression was. This term comes from the Latin word “depressio”, which translates as depression. What is depression according to a more professional view? It is a long-lasting and severe psychiatric disorder that manifests itself in a reduced or the lack of ability to experience pleasure. In addition, pathological sadness or downward moods accompany the condition. However, we cannot say for sure what causes it exactly. Heredity must be taken into account, external factors such as stress, upbringing, hormonal changes, weather or unpleasant life situations are also important.
Biological reasons for depression
But there are also biological reasons for what depression represents. There is a kind of mood centre in our brain where the balance of neurotransmitters is worked out. These are substances that serve to shift excitations between different cells in the brain. These are noradreanalin, dopamine and serotonin. These can be negatively affected by stress, exposure to light, fluctuations in hormone levels, various congenital indispositions or the use of harmful and addictive substances that damage the brain. Depression is not only described as a separate disease, it is also often described as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease (the patient develops deeper and more prolonged depression) or Addison’s disease (excessive irritability alternates with depression).
What to do when depressed
This is an extremely frequently asked question. We know two ways of getting rid of this illness or alleviating its symptoms – psychotherapy and a biological form of treatment. Drugs are used in biological treatment. Pharmacotherapy increases the turnover and availability of neurotransmitters in synaptic connections. They have the most important role in influencing mood. In acute treatment, we want to achieve the fastest possible resolution of illness’ symptoms and the maximum restoration of proper functional abilities (full remission). Emotional support is important here, and psychoeducation of loved ones also applies. The mainstay of maintenance treatment is constant state of remission. This lasts from four to six months until acute symptoms subside. Taking antidepressants even after symptoms have subsided is a necessity. With preventive treatment, we prevent the disease from returning. This treatment is used with at-risk patients and this treatment can be lifelong.
Antidepressants or CBD oil
Antidepressants are also very often used to act on a pathologically bad mood or other depressive symptoms. However, these are associated with various side effects. For example, erectile dysfunction, mood changes or insomnia should be taken into account. A great way is to choose natural products. These include CBD and its oils, which are the most commonly used form of the drug. The experience of using the oil for depression has shown positive effects on serotonin receptors in the brain. CBD doesn’t necessarily increase their levels, but it does have a positive chemical response to serotonin. A scientific review in 2018 on studies concluded that cannabidiols have anti-stress effects, allowing them to reduce depression. Compared to antidepressants, where the patient waits several weeks for effects, in this case it is an extremely quick and permanent onset. This was also addressed, for example, in a study from 2019.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of depression differ from classic unpleasant emotional feelings. It is a disease of the entire body accompanied by many symptoms, which may include pain. Physical symptoms of depression include, for example, consistently lower energy levels and fatigue (especially in the morning), muscle or back pain (a Canadian 2017 study found that more than a thousand students with depression were suffering from these problems), reduced pain tolerance (a 2015 study demonstrated conditions in depressed people where they felt more severe pain), headaches (tugging, slight throbbing sensations around the eyebrows), visual disturbances, digestive problems (a 2011 study demonstrating the correlation between depression, anxiety and gastrointestinal pain) or abdominal pain.
Chronic depression (dysthymia) is a depressed mood lasting at least two years, but not accompanied by very severe symptoms. If the patient has at least two years of persistent mood instability and manic-depressive symptoms, it may be cyclothymia. But in between there can also be phases with undisturbed moods.
The physical symptoms of anxiety-depressive disorder are not so intense psychologically to define the anxiety disorder itself; instead, they are dysphoric states. But we are talking about chronic and long-standing problems that are difficult to define. Psychosomatic problems, sleep disturbances, lowered immunity and immune disorders occur. Patients are often able to carry out family chores or employment, but experience persistent exhaustion, reduced self-esteem or an inability to experience joy (ahedonia). A person’s symptoms of depression accompanied by pain are the way our brain communicates with us.
Symptoms of depression in women
Symptoms of depression in women appear in a different way than in men. While they are more likely to fall prey to addictions, women are more likely to suffer from anxiety. The often unfavourable cultural environment, but also hormonal factors still play a role. The most common symptoms of depression in the fairer sex include disturbances in concentration, excessive sleepiness or, conversely, sleep disturbances, a depressed mood, prolonged fatigue, loss of energy, loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, feelings of inferiority, guilt or hopelessness, changes in weight, changes in appetite or even thoughts of death.
Depression at older age
Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder at older age. As Lovestone and Howaard report, up to 15% of these individuals will experience clinically significant depression. Symptoms of depression in old age are presented as fatigue, sadness, somatic illness or lack of energy. Algesic symptoms occur in up to 75% of patients over the age of 68. Hypochondriac controlled thoughts are common, rarely even delusions. Older people are more likely to complain of pessimism and sadness than younger people. With increasing age, we are discovering an increasing prevalence of anxiety symptoms. Serious symptoms include suicidal tendencies. Geriatric depression is also accompanied by special psychopathological symptoms – disturbances of executive functions (initiation, planning and execution of multi-step procedures appearing in 40% of cases) and of cognitive functions (reversible dementia and depressive pseudodementia).
Types of depression
Now let’s ask the question: what types of depression are there? The first breakdown concerns seven depressive episodes. Mild depression is treated on an outpatient basis. Symptoms of mild depression are associated with forcing oneself to engage in most activities, but usually the person is able to carry out household or employment duties. A moderate depressive episode is accompanied by the inability to work. A person is unhappy and nothing amuses him/her. He/she is treated as an outpatient or by hospitalization. Severe depression can occur without or with psychotic symptoms. Symptoms of severe depression without them are deep depression, the feeling of being unable to take care of oneself, dark thoughts, severe fatigue and apathy or disorganized behaviour. In addition, hallucinations or delusions also accompany psychotic symptoms. In recurrent depressive disorder, periods of remission alternate with depressive episodes (with brief recurrent depressive disorder lasting less than two weeks). Dysthymia is a chronic depression with milder symptoms. It lasts for at least two years and the patient is unable to feel joy, experiences fatigue and sleep disturbances; moroseness and despondency appear, and the patient often dwells on his/her own unhappy situations and thoughts. Approximately 4% of people suffer from it around the world.
Other types of depression
Other types of depression (unofficial division) are endogenous depression, exogenous depression, masked depression, and psychogenic depression. Symptoms of endogenous depression are the most readable, which is why it is also called major depression. This is the most common form, which comes on suddenly without cause. It is caused by internal factors associated with an imbalanced chemical environment in the brain. It must be treated with medication. This is where CBD for depression can help, replacing antidepressants associated with side effects. Exogenous depression is triggered by an external trauma such as an illness or death in the family. The physical symptoms come to the fore and mask the psychological nature of the disorder. It is accompanied by back and chest or head pain, digestive problems, dizziness or sleeping problems. Psychogenic depression is referred to as a pathological reaction to a loss that the patient does not want to come to terms with. There is no ordinary sadness, but rather anger or affect.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is also a common problem. The symptoms of this fatigue depression are not just fatigue or exhaustion alone. There are also various other neurological or psychological symptoms. It mainly affects middle-aged people and women. Patients complain of physical and mental exhaustion or severe fatigue. In addition, they experience joint and muscle pain, general loss of energy, problems concentrating and sleeping, headaches and memory problems. In order for this particular syndrome to manifest itself, at least four of the symptoms mentioned above must appear at the same time and persist for at least 6 months. It is advisable to calm one’s hectic life so far, avoid stressful situations and excessive exertion, or reduce daily activities.
Causes of depression
The causes of depression can substantially vary. Precisely according to how the disease arises, this disease is divided into four types: reactive, endogenous, pharmacological and organic. In the first case, it is a reaction to a certain stressful event, an organic predisposition is also assumed. Endogenous lies in the cause of the disturbance of chemical processes in the brain (most often in the neurotransmitter dopamine). Pharmacological depression is caused by certain drugs or preparations. For women, it is often about contraception. Organic causes are associated with haemorrhage, organic brain damage (tumour, severe trauma), diabetes, liver or endocrine disorders.
Most frequent questions about CBD
Congenital are among the common factors that can cause depression. There are also psychosocial factors, psychological factors or social factors. Depression can also be triggered by stressful situations. In this case, however, it is not the only cause, it must be preceded by some acquired or congenital predisposition. However, it is the most common trigger. At first, this leads to mild mood swings, followed by sensitization to stress, and in the future the person reacts with greater depression even towards minor stressful situations. All this leads to the appearance of depression even due to quite banal factors such as a change of season, and we can talk about depression without reason. Stressful situations can more often cause depression in women. These conditions can be effectively suppressed by CBD oil thanks to the active ingredient cannabidiols.
Depression in childhood
Depression in childhood is often linked to behavioural problems or aggression against others and against oneself. A child reacts inappropriately, hyperactively, agitated or irritable, and may hurt others or destroy things. The opposite can also occur, where the child withdraws from social situations. In some cases, auditory commands on how to behave, hallucinations, phobias or anxieties appear. Some children will display similar symptoms towards adults – guilt, self-esteem issues, sadness, loss of the ability to feel joy or hypersensitivity. A trigger for depression can also be a bad relationship with the child’s mother, even in the first months of life. This often occurs with exposure to severe stress while still in the womb or with initial negative experiences after birth. Causes of depression at a younger age can also be hereditary. The risk is about seven times higher in children with at least one parent suffering from mental health problems. Also in this case, do not be afraid to reach for preparations containing cannabidiol. CBD oils are best suited for children due to their ease of use, easy dosage and very quick effects.
Treatment for depression
What to do in the case of depression is still being scientifically researched. Today, the treatment of depression is mainly based on the use of antidepressants. Most often, when asked what to do about depression, we get answers revolving around lifestyle adjustments. This is how you can treat depression yourself. Self-healing is built on minimizing stress. You should achieve rhythm in daily activities, good relationships in the family and workplace, take care to work calmly or family rituals such as trips or eating together, regular and healthy sleep or rest, maintaining enough friends, having enough regular exercise and positive experiences, planning your activities, finding time for hobbies, not forgetting to get up regularly in the morning with a short warm-up and, on the contrary, avoid rushing, alcohol and smoking.
What to do for severe depression? This is the time for specific psychotherapy, for example, which usually lasts more than 12 weeks and must be under the control of a GP, psychiatrist or psychologist. Brief dynamic psychotherapy, impressionistic psychotherapy or congruent-behavioural psychotherapy is often used. Acute treatment is used if the goal is to eliminate symptoms of depression as quickly as possible and fully restore the patient’s functional ability. Psychoeducation of family, friends and the patient is established.
Seasonal depressions, which disappear as the weather improves and spring arrives, are a special case. What to do in the case of winter depression? In this case, melatonin plays an important role, which is not produced efficiently enough in the absence of light. Melatonin is responsible for the body’s alternation of night and day rhythms, thus affecting the ability to adapt sleep to the changing times of day. Its increased production forces a person to sleep and thus feel excessive fatigue; especially in the winter months when there is a lack of light. In this case we can apply phototherapy.
Depression therapies often rely on antidepressants. However, these are often accompanied by unpleasant side effects. You can replace antidepressants with the active cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBD for depression is useful in many ways. It has excellent effects in reducing anxiety or stress, all with minimal side effects. The advantage is immediate relief. CBD oil for depression works with a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which affects our motor skills and emotions. This substance acts as a stabilizer of internal processes in the body. Its low levels often lead precisely to depressive states. But the active ingredient in the oil acts on the 5-HT1A receptor, which can increase the release of serotonin into the body. In addition, it stimulates the formation of new neurons and improves the condition of a shrunken hippocampus.
Products with CBD have very few proven side effects, the most of them are only minor. These may include:
- dry mouth
- low blood pressure
- light headedness