Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental issues that most of us will face, and left untreated can have a huge impact on our lives.
With a growing awareness over the last 30 years on the importance of mental health, and an increasing prevalence of anxiety disorders, it is becoming ever more important to find ways of improving our mental health.
Depression can be caused by a number of things, from a stressful or traumatic life event, to abnormal neurotransmitter activity. In the case of abnormal neurotransmitter activity, prescription medications can be used to adjust the balance in the brain, but no prescription medication can rectify a traumatic life event.
Whatever the cause, there is a growing body of evidence for the use of CBD products in a number of medical settings, including treating anxiety.
WHAT IS CBD OIL?
Cannabidiol CBD is one of many chemicals found in the cannabis plant, which is why it is known as a ‘cannabinoid’. CBD Oils can be made from one of three specific types of CBD:
- CBD Isolate - this is just cannabidiol without any other compounds.
- Broad Spectrum CBD - this is CBD plus the flavonoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant.
- Full Spectrum CBD - this is CBD plus the flavonoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant and the other main cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol- or ‘THC’ for short.
In the cannabis plant, the levels of CBD and levels of THC are inversely related - this means that cannabis plants with high levels of THC naturally have low levels of CBD. Plants with higher levels of CBD naturally have lower levels of THC, and if the level of THC is below 0.3%, then the plant is classified as a hemp plant.
This is why you will see many CBD products are 'hemp derived' - the cannabis plants harvested to extract the CBD have levels lower than 0.3% THC, and are therefore hemp plants!
Each type of CBD product includes different amounts of the other chemicals found in the hemp plant, with CBD isolate being the only one that doesn’t include any extras from the plant - literally just the CBD.
Broad spectrum CBD contains these extras found in the plant to benefit from the entourage effect. This is the observed action of the other chemicals in the plant working in synergy with the CBD to improve its effect. The only thing it doesn’t include is the THC - therefore there is no risk of any intoxication.
Full spectrum CBD is the only form that includes that last cannabinoid - THC - in the product. The levels of THC should be too low to cause intoxication, but there have been instances of Full Spectrum CBD products containing higher levels of THC than stated on the packaging, causing them to be removed from sale in the UK.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CBD OIL?
The health benefits of CBD oils are wide ranging because it acts on the human ‘endocannabinoid system’ - so called because it uses cannabinoid-like chemicals - which plays a huge role in how our body communicates with the variety of systems found in us: from the immune system to the nervous system.
The role of the endocannabinoid system appears to be connected to the regulation of our functions to ‘eat, sleep, relax, forget and protect’ - all pretty essential functions, I’m sure you’d agree!
While more studies are needed to confirm the mechanisms at work, the evidence so far indicates that the presence of CBD could improve many of the functions related to the endocannabinoid system.
CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION
Using CBD for depression could well reap beneficial results. As for why, there are a few proposed mechanisms, and it could be that one main mechanism is doing the most of the work, or it could be the combination of mechanisms working together produce the effect that some users see when they take CBD.
What causes depression?
As previously mentioned, there isn’t necessarily a single cause of depression. It is thought low levels of neurotransmitters could be the culprit - *2022 Update - this has been shown to be incorrect, but begs the question why antidepressants work in many cases - it could be down to disrupted communication between parts of the brain responsible for mood, like the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. It could also be the loss of a loved one, or experiencing a traumatic event.
This wide range of causes can make tackling the root of the problem more challenging, and in some cases, impossible. That’s where we need all the help we can get to improve our quality of life, with a view to getting out of depression, if possible.
Why is CBD oil recommended for depression?
Using CBD to try and tackle depression could work for a number of reasons. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence; stories from CBD users who have seen improvements in their depression are a powerful recommendation, but that doesn't guarantee every individual will see improvements from using CBD.
How does CBD oil help depression?
The presence of CBD reduces the breakdown of an endocannabinoid known as ‘anandamide’ - it is nicknamed the bliss chemical and is associated with feelings of joy and happiness. By reducing the breakdown of anandamide, more of it will be present, potentially resulting in improved mood.
Another mechanism may be low levels of neurotransmitters causing an impaired communication between the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. One study found that stimulating the endocannabinoid system using CBD regulates activity in areas related to emotional processing.
A separate proposed method by which CBD could help sufferers of depression and relieve symptoms of anxiety is the regulation of a neurotransmitter known as GABA.
This neurotransmitter encourages the slowing down or stopping of neurons firing, and anxiety and stress can cause levels of GABA to decrease, resulting in over-firing neurons. It is thought that CBD can improve levels of GABA, resulting in a return to normal neuron function.
GABA is tied in with anxiety and panic attacks too, with increased GABA function resulting in reduced anxiety. This illustrates another function of CBD that could be beneficial to sufferers of anxiety and panic attacks.
How to use CBD oil for depression?
When it comes to dosing CBD for depression, or any other reason, you should start on a low dose and increase it if necessary. This means, for example, taking three drops of low strength CBD oral drops as a single dose, twice per day. This will give you a dose of 7.5mg of CBD per session, or a daily dose of 15mg.
The important thing to keep in mind when you buy CBD for depression is that it isn’t applied to the skin - this means no topical creams or balms - simply because the CBD doesn’t make it into the bloodstream this way. Using CBD edibles, CBD oral drops or CBD vape liquid will get the CBD into the blood, and therefore to the brain.
The matter of which type of CBD to go for to see the most benefits is another good question. Full spectrum CBD will see the entourage effect taking place, but if the source is untrustworthy, you could end up ingesting more THC than you want because they haven’t accurately labelled the product.
Why is this a bad thing? Well for most people this is unlikely to be too much of an issue - but for people competing in sports at a high level, even low levels of THC could show up on a drug test, potentially leading to disqualification from competition.
CBD Isolate is a safe bet, in comparison, but doesn’t benefit from the other compounds in the cannabis plant, so no entourage effect is present in CBD isolate products. Therefore, the middle ground that benefits from the entourage effect without risk of exposure to THC are broad spectrum CBD products!
IS CBD OIL SAFE?
According to the World Health Organization, CBD exhibits no abuse potential and does not appear to cause harm in the long term. This is exemplified by the CBD medication Epidiolex, which is administered to children in the hundreds of micrograms per dose to treat rare forms of epilepsy.
You may not be aware, but our canine companions can get epilepsy, too. As dogs, like most animal, have an endocannabinoid system, there is evidence that CBD oil could help dogs with epilepsy!
That doesn’t mean you should start giving yourself a dose of that size - you are more likely to experience side effects at higher doses, and small doses are sufficient for many people to start seeing improvements - dosing more that you need is just going to be an expensive waste of your CBD, and could result in feeling a bit off kilter!
IS CBD OIL LEGAL IN THE UK?
In short - yes, CBD is legal in the UK. For more information on the legality of CBD, check out our blog article explaining the legal state of CBD in the UK.
PRECAUTIONS FOR USING CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION
If you’ve read this far, then there’s a good chance that you are considering CBD oil for anxiety and/or depression, either for yourself or someone you know. Before making the leap, there are several things to consider.
CBD has the ability to impact how the liver processes medications, so if you are currently using a prescribed medication you should consult your doctor before taking CBD to avoid negative drug interactions.
Make sure you choose the correct type of CBD for your needs, and avoid products with any amount of THC if you are subject to drug testing. Remember - if you want the maximum benefit from CBD without any THC, it's the broad spectrum CBD products you want!
When you start on CBD, make sure to start on a low strength product, or in the case of edibles, keep your consumption low. Higher doses of CBD are more likely to lead to side effects, and these can include drowsiness, fatigue, dry mouth, diarrhoea and reduced appetite.
Starting on a low dose means you can gradually increase the intake of CBD until you see an effect, helping you work out your very own effective dose!
Finally, buying from a reputable, trusted source is important for being able to trust the contents on the product packaging. One particular brand was taken off the shelves because the level of THC was far above the legal level, as well as the level stated on the packaging.
At SMOKO, you can see the certificates from the third party testing for our CBD products on our website, so you know you can buy SMOKO CBD products with absolute confidence!
Check out our guide to storing CBD to ensure your stored CBD lasts!
CBD OIL FOR DEPRESSION: CONCLUSION
There is still much to be learned from studying the interactions of CBD in the body, and while much of the evidence needs to be corroborated in further studies, the outlook is very promising for the future of CBD in the use of a number of ailments.
If you are considering using CBD to help with depression, anxiety, or any number of other issues, then check out the SMOKO CBD range for broad spectrum CBD products that you can trust.
Made here, in the UK, from CBD cryogenically extracted from responsibly farmed, organically grown cannabis sativa L plants in Oregon, USA - the range is vegan friendly and gluten free, so check out SMOKO CBD Oil oral drops and edible gummies today!
*2022 Update - Don't miss out on our limited time Buy-One-Get-One-Free offer on CBD gummies and oral drops!