Can CBD Help People with Anxiety & Depression?

18 Minute Read

Everyone wants to feel at ease, relaxed, and happy in their lives. However, the overwhelm of anxiety and the numbness of depression can instead leave you feeling unstable and hopeless.

But there may be a helpful solution that comes from the cannabis plant: Cannabidiol (CBD).

While medical cannabis typically comes from the marijuana plant, CBD comes from the hemp plant which will not get you high.

In this article, we will discuss how treatment for anxiety and depression may be among the many benefits of CBD.

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Anxiety

Mental symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • - Racing thoughts
  • - Uncontrollable over-thinking
  • - Inability to concentrate
  • - Feelings of panic
  • - Irritability
  • - Heightened alertness
  • - Difficulty sleeping 
  • - Changes in appetite
  • - Urge to escape from the situation
  • - Dissociation

    Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:

    • - Sweating
    • - Heavy and fast breathing
    • - Hot flushes 
    • - Dry mouth
    • - Shaking
    • - Excessive hair loss
    • - Fast heartbeat
    • - Temporary spike in blood pressure
    • - Fatigue
    • - Dizziness 
    • - Nausea

      If you have anxiety, it may be due to one of the following conditions:

      • 1. Panic disorder: Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something terrible is going to happen.

        • 2. Social anxiety disorder (SAD): A type of anxiety sometimes called social phobia. It is characterized by extreme fear in social settings. Those experiencing this disorder have trouble talking to people, meeting new people, and attending social events. They have a fear of being judged or scrutinized by others and is exacerbated with things like public speaking.

          • 3. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This involves persistent and excessive worry about many different things. People with GAD try to anticipate disaster. They may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry.

            • 4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event; either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

              • 5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): This disorder involves unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or urges (obsessions) that intrude into a child/teen's mind and cause a great deal of anxiety or discomfort, which the child/teen then tries to reduce by engaging in repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions).

                Methods of Treatment

                If things like exercise, meditation, and changes in diet do not help get the anxiety under control, sometimes doctors will prescribe medication. Here are some of the common medications doctors use to treat anxiety:

                • 1. Antipsychotics: To date, the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has approved aripiprazole and quetiapine slow-release tablets as an adjunctive treatment for depressive disorders, and the combination of olanzapine and fluoxetine for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. Quetiapine, aripiprazole, olanzapine, and risperidone have been used in the treatment of a range of mood and anxiety disorders.

                  • 2. Antidepressants: Typically SSRI and SNRI medications are prescribed to those suffering from anxiety and depression. These medications include Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, which have an impact on our serotonin levels. Studies have shown that 30 to 40% of people who take these medications do not improve. Other participants showed only partial improvement or overwhelming side effects which can negate any benefits received from the treatment. 

                    Serotonin, or “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is a hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.

                    It is thought that anxiety may have a link to low serotonin, though this is still debatable.

                    Antipsychotics such as quetiapine can have potential long-term side effects like tardive dyskinesia, increased blood sugar, cataracts, and weight gain.

                    Side effects of antidepressants can include insomnia, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, and agitation.

                    CBD as An Alternative

                    Side effects of CBD are much milder by comparison. This makes it a great alternative since CBD is thought to affect serotonin receptors, which may explain its positive effect in research studies.

                    Cannabidiol interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of enzymes, cannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoids.

                    CBD works through stimulation of the ECS receptors which influence things like mood, pain, and inflammation.

                    Since these functions affect anxiety, this explains all the promising findings that have been made in research.

                    Research on CBD and Anxiety

                    In recent years, there has been much research conducted on the effect of CBD on anxiety. Here are some of these studies:

                    • 2019: This study indicated that CBD may calm the central nervous system, reducing anxiety and improving sleep.

                      • 2019: This study found that anxiety was decreased in 37 teenagers with social anxiety after repeated CBD dosing.

                        • 2017: This study found that people who took a 300 mg dose of CBD experienced reduced levels of anxiety.

                          • 2015: Human experimental findings supported CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects, minimal sedative effects, and an excellent safety profile.

                            • 2015: A study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed reduced stress levels of rats when CBD was administered. The test subjects had lower behavioral signs of anxiety. Increased heart rate and other physiological symptoms improved.

                              • 2011: This study found that people who took high doses (600 mg of CBD) suffered much less from social anxiety than those who took a placebo.

                                Although research has shown many positive results in the treatment of CBD for anxiety, more testing is needed.

                                If You Have Anxiety...

                                If you have anxiety, it is a good idea to first identify what could be causing it. You can do this through meditation or speaking with a counselor or good friend.

                                If you are unable to lessen the anxiety triggers, think about changing your diet and exercise routines. Then think about seeing a doctor about possible treatment.

                                Talk to them about CBD and if it is right for you. Anxiety can lead to depression if left untreated. And either of these conditions can also raise the risks of other serious medical conditions.

                                Depression and anxiety commonly occur together, and people with one are more likely to have the other. But, luckily CBD does appear to help with both. Now we will explore how CBD may have a positive effect on depression.

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                                Depression

                                Common types of depression include:

                                • - Major depressive disorder (MDD): MDD, also referred to as clinical depression, is a significant medical condition that can affect many areas of your life. It impacts mood and behavior as well as various physical functions, such as appetite and sleep.

                                  • - Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): Persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia, is a continuous long-term (chronic) form of depression. You may lose interest in normal daily activities, feel hopeless, lack productivity, and have low self-esteem and an overall feeling of inadequacy. These feelings last for years and may significantly interfere with your relationships, school, work, and daily activities.

                                    • - Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

                                      • - Postpartum depression (PPD): Postpartum depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in some women after giving birth.

                                        • - Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): This disorder is a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in a week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts.

                                          • - Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. If you're like most people with this condition, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, draining your energy and increasing moodiness.

                                            It is important to realize that CBD cannot cure depression. Also, be aware that CBD may not have the same effect on all forms of depression.

                                            The research has shown that it seems to have the most effect on depression that is caused by stress.

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                                            Research on CBD and Depression

                                            The benefits of CBD seem to center around some forms of depression, especially when it comes to anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort before public speaking. Here are research findings supporting the positive effect of CBD on depression:

                                            • 2019: This study shows CBD can take a quicker effect than antidepressants. It appears that CBD has a quick and sustained antidepressant-like effect.

                                              • 2018: This study found that a single dose of CBD induced antidepressant-like effects on rodents. The researchers believed that the data supported CBD’s promise as a fast-acting antidepressant drug.

                                                • 2018: This review concluded that CBD has anti-stress effects, which may reduce depression related to stress.

                                                  • 2016: This study on rats showed the antidepressant effect of CBD, now shown for the first time in a genetic animal model of depression. These results suggest that CBD may be beneficial for the treatment of clinical depression.

                                                    • 2014: This review suggested that CBD has anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like effects on animal subjects.

                                                      Knowledge of CBD’s effects and benefits is still limited due to a lack of research. Most of the studies that have been done have been performed on animal subjects.

                                                      So this means that CBD’s impact on depression is mostly speculative at this time. However, the future looks bright as even more studies are in the works for specific depressive disorders such as bipolar disorder.

                                                      The treatment of symptoms that can contribute to depression is also helpful in alleviating the depression. For instance, chronic pain is something that can be related to depression.

                                                      It has been shown that THC and CBD can relieve chronic pain. The link between low serotonin levels and depression is still largely debated today, though it is likely there is a connection.

                                                      And although CBD doesn’t necessarily boost serotonin, it may influence the receptors that respond to serotonin that is already in your system. This means it could have some influence on depression. 

                                                      PLEASE READ: Although CBD may offer some benefits over antidepressants, it should not be used as a replacement. Never stop taking prescribed medication without talking to your doctor first. Discontinuing the use of your medications may cause some serious complications. Talk to your doctor if CBD may work as an effective treatment for your anxiety and/or depression.

                                                      CBD Products

                                                      CBD oil is the most common form of cannabidiol on the market today. More and more people are using CBD oil for its soothing properties.

                                                      CBD tinctures include CBD with a carrier oil like hemp oil, MCT oil, or olive oil. The CBD dose is easily given with the use of a dropper. Here are the three common CBD tinctures you can find on the market today:

                                                      • - Full-spectrum CBD oil: This form of CBD includes the full array of cannabinoids and terpenes coming from hemp, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Research shows that the combination of THC and CBD can provide very powerful effects.

                                                        • - Broad-spectrum CBD oil: This form of CBD tincture includes all the same cannabinoids and terpenes, except for THC. This is a great alternative for those who are a little spooked by THC.

                                                          • - CBD isolate: This form of tincture is pure CBD, with no added cannabinoids or terpenes.

                                                            Any of these three tinctures can be incorporated into hoards of different products; anything from CBD gummies to topicals, to bath bombs.

                                                            That being said, with the explosion of CBD products on the market today, the FDA has not gotten around to regulating all of them.

                                                            As a result, it is all too easy to find low-quality products that are made with GMO ingredients or are sourced from questionable locations.

                                                            There is also the danger of ingesting things like pesticides or solvents used in the extraction process.

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                                                            The Best CBD oil…

                                                            This is why it is important to buy the best CBD oil that has been third-party tested and comes from a reputable brand.

                                                            Our high-quality Balance product is made for a daily dose of calm, while Ease is a great support when you need fast-acting relief from your anxiety.

                                                            Anecdotal Evidence

                                                            From our Balance users:

                                                            “Total game changer! Thank you I love this product it’s been so helpful! Saying by to antidepressants!!! I don’t need them I only need balance ! Thank you :)” --Evelyn P

                                                            “I have massive anxiety, depression & stage 4 endometriosis. My dr recommended this brand & I am so glad she did. I take it every morning before even getting out of bed. It makes getting up and leaving the house easier (especially during such uncertain times)” --Allison G.

                                                            “Anxiety has been a huge challenge for me in 2020. After many years without panic attacks I’ve had to look for new additions to my calming routine. Juna is one of the best things that helps my mind stop racing these days. I recommend it to all my friends who are feeling stressed or anxious.” --Olga

                                                            From an Ease user:

                                                            “I love Juna Nightcap and when I saw this release, I wanted to try it based on the description. I suffer from anxiety and a very busy work life so come wine o’clock, I wanted something to help calm me down without putting me to sleep. This does just that and come bedtime, I find it preps you for Nightcap. Highly recommend.” --Liv H.

                                                            Let Balance and Ease Wash Over You

                                                            As you can see from the growing body of research and anecdotal evidence, the use of CBD can help people with anxiety and depression. But, as always, we urge you to ok CBD with your doctor first.

                                                            He or she will know about any possible drug interactions as well as side effects that may affect you. Once you’ve got the ok, dose away.

                                                            Say goodbye to instability and hopelessness and let balance and ease wash over you.

                                                            Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. It should not be interpreted as instruction or medical advice to displace the advice of your doctor or other medical professionals.

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