The challenges of life can often leave us feeling powerless and overwhelmed, but with some techniques we can find ways to make each day brighter, such as making a new friend, or coming up with a radically different routine. Whatever method you choose, make sure to pour all your energies into something other than what you’re feeling, and we recommend using CBD as part of your lifestyle because of its amazing health benefits.
We should point out that depression is a serious mental health problem and you should seek out medical help from a real doctor before you attempt to self-medicate. But keep in mind that most antidepressants (like Xanax) tend to be addictive and are known to have side effects. CBDCentral.com has some insights on how you can overcome depression without introducing new problems.
Can CBD treat depression?
Medical studies show that CBD can be used to balance mood and improve your mental state, especially when combined with holistic lifestyle and positive changes that promote good health and wellbeing. But to understand how CBD can help treat depression, first we have to understand what causes it. There is a common myth that depression forms when serotonin levels are low, but there isn’t enough evidence to support this as the main cause.
The truth is depression isn’t caused by any single hormone or dysfunction; rather it’s the result of many imbalances that have to do neurotransmitters, as well as other factors that can’t be quantified.Brain changes and inflammation have also been linked to the condition, but ultimately there are many contributing factors. Here are some examples:
- Poor physical health
- Poor nutrition
- Extreme life events
- Social trauma
- Substance abuse
- Emotional imbalances
There is no real cure for depression, but based on what we know about the brain processes that lead to depression, and the accompanying hormonal changes, we can find a way to introduce new elements into the body to slow the condition or stop it entirely. Antidepressants can cause an immediate spike in serotonin levels, but often it takes months before mood improves and energy levels remain low. So we can conclude that serotonin isn’t the only compound responsible for treating depression.
How can CBD help?
Medical research shows that when a person has depression, a certain area of the brain actually shrinks. The hippocampus, responsible for memory, learning, and emotion, is severely affected when depression kicks in. The good news is, this part of the brain is also capable of recovery or neurogenesis, particular when CBD is present.
CBD protects neurons in the hippocampus from being atrophied. Furthermore, endocannabinoids are used throughout the brain to support processes such as appetite, memory, sleep, inflammation, and more. Cannabidiol has a complex impact on the endocannabinoid system but it’s clear to medical researchers that it boosts neural activity in the hippocampus by delivering natural cannabinoids into the brain.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how CBD works in the brain to treat depression:
- CBD supplies endocannabinoids into the brain. This in turn helps to balance mood, appetite, sleep, memory, etc. It also increases neural activity and supports neuron growth.
- CBD activates serotonin receptors (such as 5-HT1A) that control many neurotransmitters some of which increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus.
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – this is a protein that assists existing neurons perform their functions while supporting the growth of new connections. CBD increases BDNF levels in a way that reduces symptoms of depression.
- CBD binds to a brain receptor normally abbreviated as PPAR, and it causes the DNA to manufacture different neuron-protecting compounds. It also reduces inflammation, which is essential to neurogenesis.
Other clues that CBD helps people with depression
For the sake of medical accuracy, we can’t say conclusively that CBD is medicine for depression, even though countless studies show that it is neuro-protective and improves the function of the hippocampus. However, due to the complexity of psychological conditions like depression, a holistic approach is required to make sure that treatment targets all aspects of the disease.
Remember, depression is a mental trap, and one that requires a strong will to snap out of. The best way to tackle it is to strengthen body and mind to a point where the brain is “rewired”, and this takes time. It takes weeks for new neurons to form and stick; and this process can be sped up or slowed down by your thought patterns, neurochemistry, and bad habits.
Molecules such as CBD can help the brain form new circuitry, but for these connections to grow, other efforts are required. Everything from psychotherapy, self-help books, and new hobbies can help you get there faster.