CBD for Depression: How Cannabidiol Affects Your Body

Mihai Voinea
Medically reviewed by Mihai Voinea Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) — Research analysis by Alex Eriksson

Depression has become so prevalent in modern society that we can even call it an epidemic. Cases of depression and how it has ruined lives can be seen all over the news and social media. The situation is becoming rather alarming, which is why people are starting to look into unconventional solutions such as CBD for depression.

Despite its prevalence, there are still a lot more to be discovered about depression. There are numerous theories in medical research to its cause, from inflammation to malfunctioning gene expressions.

Regardless of its cause, the reality is people are struggling to cope with it. Moreover, present medications available still leave a lot to be desired by depressed individuals. This is why a lot of attention is being turned towards CBD for depression.

How Cannabidiol Affects Your Body

CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of the 113 cannabinoids found in marijuana. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by plants, animals, and humans.

These cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid (CB) receptors in the brain, which makes them a part of our endocannabinoid system. This system plays a major role in the regulation of our varying moods.

This is why cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinol or THC from marijuana, can induce psychogenic effects on our body. This is in contrast with other cannabinoids, like cannabidiol, alleviating and improving depression and other mood disorders.

Benefits of CBD for Depression

Induces a Similar Effect as Antidepressants

5-HT1A receptors are found in various parts of the brain and the central nervous system. When it is activated by neurotransmitters, it can promote calmness, sociability, self-control, and the facilitation of sexual behavior.

It is this same effect that anti-depressant drugs like aripiprazole, buspirone, trazodone, clozapine, and ziprasidone has on your body. Instead of being activated by a neurotransmitter produced by the body, the 5-HT1A receptors are forcibly activated by substances in these drugs.

Initial tests on animal subjects show CBD oil to be capable of inducing effects similar to antidepressants. The effective dosage was shown to be at 30 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight.

CBD oil’s antidepressant effects differ from those of antidepressant medications in this regard. Studies have observed that cannabidiol’s antidepressant effects can take effect within minutes after its administration.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

Faster Effect Than Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressant medications function by disrupting serotonin transporters (SERT). This is due to SERT having been found to disrupt serotonin from doing its functions, which results in the manifestation of depressive symptoms on an individual.

Unfortunately, antidepressants can normally take from, at least, a few weeks to a few months before they can take effect. This presents a problem for those taking it as it means that they will have to deal with the symptoms of depression for some time.

Antidepressant drugs have varying results on individuals. And, with these drugs requiring months of administration, it could take months to a year before significant improvements on the symptoms can be observed.

Depression is particularly damaging because it prevents a person from functioning well not just in daily life but also in his or her professional life. The fast-acting effect of CBD in alleviating depressive symptoms could also go a long way in decreasing the chances of a depressed individual committing suicide. That’s why anyone struggling with the condition could really use something that can provide quicker relief.

The CBD oil's antidepressant faster acting effect is in spite of the fact that CBD has the same effect as antidepressants on the brain’s serotonin function.

Medicinal Cannabis. Hands holding ampoules and Marijuana Leaves on Top of Plants

Can Improve Anhedonia

Anhedonia is the loss of interest in activities that an individual has previously deemed as pleasurable or rewarding. This is one of the symptoms experienced by those with major depressive disorders, and it greatly reduces quality of life.

Treating this would require a different medication aside from those taken to treat depression. This is due to the fact that anhedonia concerns the dopamine functions of the brain and not the serotonin function being improved by most antidepressants.

Fortunately, research found that cannabidiol can improve anhedonia. Although the studies are only in their initial stages, the findings have been promising.

After being administered a dosage of 15 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, the animal subjects have exhibited improved levels of motivation to move. At doses of 30 mg per kg of bodyweight, the improvements became magnified. The researchers observed that the test subjects exhibited behaviors that signify interest in their surroundings, such as exploring their habitat.

Depression can affect people in many aspects of life, including social life, productivity and health. Cannabidiol (CBD), as a constituent non-psychotomimetic of Cannabis sativa with great psychiatric potential, is an anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like compound.

By using pregnenolone cream or pregnenolone supplements, the levels of the compound in the body increases, and this brings about various benefits such as fatigue relief, and delay of the aging process.

Promotes Regeneration in the Brain

Individuals with depression have shown degradation in their hippocampus. Upon further study, this degradation seems to be permanent as there were no signs of its improvement even after the individual has moved out from their depression.

Moreover, researchers have observed that the degradation is more severe in prolonged cases of depression.

There is more research to be done regarding this subject as it is not clear whether the degradation is the cause or an effect of depression. Whatever the case may be, the degradation of the hippocampus is associated with a variety of disorders and diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and worse cases of clinical depression.

This is one of the reasons scientists have sought for ways to regenerate this part of the brain. One of the substances they found to be promising is CBD oil.

According to research, chronic administration of high doses of CBD has promoted the generation of new neurons in the hippocampus. This effect has been attributed to CBD’s anti-anxiety effects on the brain.

What Makes CBD Oil Especially Helpful for Managing Depression

It’s true that all the mentioned benefits in this article are already present in a variety of antidepressant drugs.

What makes CBD oil helpful is that it has anti-anxiety effects but it also combats anhedonia. In fact, it has the opposite effect—it encourages people to seek pleasure. This is crucial for people who have no motivation or interest (which are hallmarks of depression).

Moreover, somemedications can have adverse effects like insomnia and agitation. This is in complete contrast to cannabidiol improving sleep quality and promoting a calm behavior.

A Caveat

There is currently a lack of research on cannabidiol’s interaction with various drugs. If you plan to take CBD oil doses, make sure that you’re not taking any medications. Better yet, consult your doctor. This is also the case if you have any ailments outside of depression that might be agitated by CBD.

Overall, CBD has proven benefits for depression without the dreaded side effects of antidepressants. When choosing to buy CBD for depression, make sure that it is extracted using means that won’t harm your health or reduce the extract’s purity. This is why we recommend CBD Pure, as their hemp oil is third-party tested for its potency and quality.

Alex Eriksson (Research Analysis)

Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research-backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals.

Mihai Voinea (Editor)

Mihai is a medical doctor and entrepreneur with a burning obsession for performance and health. Mihai is also an IronMan, ultramarathon runner, and co-founder of Marsilian, which owns two e-learning platforms for future medical students and doctors.

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