There’s a great deal of buzz about the health benefits of CBD. When you search online, you find content about how to use CBD for health benefits. There is no lack of content from articles about when to take CBD oil for sleep or about CBD for skincare. One of its supposed benefits is that it can help with depression.
Do psychiatrists recommend the use of CBD for treating depression?
What is CBD?
Before we go any further, let’s define what CBD is.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a chemical compound that comes from the cannabis Sativa plant. Both hemp and marijuana are from the cannabis Sativa species and contain CBD.
One important thing to remember about CBD is that it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. This means that CBD does not cause the high that is usually associated with marijuana.,
The CBD formulation that is generally available commercially is sold in oil form, although they are also available as a liquid that has been vaporized or in capsule form. All kinds of products are now available which have been infused with CBD.
Health Benefits of CBD
There’s no doubt that there is a buzz about CBD being the best health substance out there but is the hype really worth it? Is it really beneficial?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Epidiolex, a medication used to treat some types of epilepsy. So far, that is the only CBD medication that the FDA has approved.
Although there is only one CBD medication that has been approved, there are numerous claims about the health benefits of this compound. There are claims that it has helped with various health conditions like back pain and sleeping problems. There are also more serious claims that it can help even with more severe conditions like some types of cancer.
CBD and Depression
One of the most constant claims being made about CBD is that it can help treat anxiety and depression. It’s essential to take note before believing such claims that there is limited research on the effectiveness of CBD. Many of the studies done on it have been conducted on animals.
What is not lacking is anecdotal evidence. Many people are claiming that CBD helped ease the effects of depression and anxiety on them. That being said, CBD does seem promising when it comes to dealing with anxiety, cognitive impairment. CBD might also help treat conditions related to depression.
What Does the Research Say So Far?
It’s already been mentioned that research on the effects of CBD on humans is limited. However, experts believe that the possible positive effects of CBD in relieving the effects of depression have something to do with its effects on the serotonin receptors in the brain.
Depression might be linked to low serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the hormone that stabilizes mood and feelings of happiness. It follows that when a person has low serotonin levels, that person is likely to fall victim to depression.
Studies indicate that CBD does not boost serotonin levels in the body. Instead, studies suggest that CBD has an effect on how the receptors in the brain react to the existing serotonin in the body. For example, one study back in 2014 showed that the CBD affecting the brain receptors had effects that fought off depression and anxiety. But, again, it is worth noting that the study was conducted on animals.
One more recent promising development is the review of existing studies on CBD that was conducted in 2018. The review found that CBD may have anti-stress effects. That can potentially reduce depression that is related to stress.
Is CBD More Effective Than Antidepressants?
It has to be emphasized again that there is no definitive study of the effects of CBD on depression. However, with that, it can be said that there is evidence that CBD may have certain advantages over antidepressant medications.
One possible advantage of CBD over antidepressant medications has to do with the speed of its effect. Most antidepressant medications will take weeks before it takes effect. On the other hand, an animal study showed that CBD might have a faster effect as an antidepressant while having longer-lasting effects at the same time.
Medications for treating depression also come with side effects like sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and mood swings. However, there is no evidence so far that using CBD will have the same side effects.
Do Psychiatrists Recommend the Use of CBD?
It’s important to understand that CBD is still considered to be an alternative medication, except for the CBD medication that the FDA has approved. So, just because there are many people using it on their own does not mean that it should be considered mainstream.
As to whether psychiatrists recommend the use of CBD for treating depression, that would depend on the individual psychiatrist. Some doctors recommend alternative treatments to their patients, especially when they believe that those treatments do not have any adverse side effects that can cause more harm.
Still, some psychiatrists have come out with a warning against the use of CBD. For example, Diana Martinez, MD, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University, said that CBD products might not have the advertised effects. She also warned that interactions with other drugs might happen if CBD is used together with other medications.
But it is possible to find psychiatrists who will recommend the use of CBD.
Caution about the Use of CBD
While the use of CBD for treating depression may seem promising, it should not be considered as a replacement for antidepressant medications. Therefore, if you are taking antidepressant medications, do not stop taking them because you are planning on using CBD.
You need to talk to your doctor first before you stop taking your medications or start taking CBD. This is because stopping medications all of a sudden can have adverse side effects.
While CBD is very promising for its antidepressant effects, there is no conclusive research so far that will definitely say that psychiatrists should recommend it for depression.