At least 16 million Americans suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD); that figure does not include the 3.3 million Americans who suffer from persistent depressive disorder (PDD), or the 5.7 million Americans diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Absenteeism from these illnesses cost U.S. employers over $23 billion a year.
While pharmaceuticals have made strides in controlling bipolar disorder and treating depression, much research has been done in the application of CBD for treating depression as both a solo treatment and an adjunct with pharmaceuticals.
A study published in England's Royal Society found that cannabidiol (CBD) binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and with 5-HT1A receptors in the brain to boost serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels are a universal indicator of depression. Another finding of this study was that CBD increases intercellular calcium concentrations in the hippocampus, where memory is seated and one of the parts of the brain that are damaged by depression.
CBD has been shown to reduce anhedonia (decreased engagement in pleasurable activities) in animals and humans. This can treat a vicious cycle of depression, in which one feels guilty for withdrawing from friends and pleasurable activities, causing the person to inevitably isolate and become more depressed and anhedonic.
Depending on the case, an effective unit of measurement is administering 10mg/kg of CBD as a baseline dose: meaning a 160 pound person should consume about 720mg per day. In a study using mice, researchers bumped it up to 30mg/kg and found greater efficacy than at 10mg, though this is an expensive treatment option.
Extreme weight loss or weight gain are frequent signs of depression. Sativa CBD can work as an appetite suppressant if a depression sufferer has had concordant weight gain. If a depressed person has seen rapid weight loss and loss of appetite, a blend of CBD and delta 8 or 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been shown to increase glutamate and the brain while stimulating appetite.
As the graphic shows, people who suffer from depression usually have a weakened immune system and have aches and pains associated with poor posture, insomnia and immobility. CBD has been shown to be clinically effective in protecting and strengthening the immune system. As for aches and inflammation associated with depression, both ingestible and topical CBD have been shown to alleviate these nagging effects of depression and help people become more active and sleep better.
CBD is not a panacea for depression. If you think you might be depressed and it is affecting your life, talk to a psychiatrist to explore options for treatment. However, there is conclusive clinical evidence that CBD can help in multifaceted ways with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia. As CBD is completely natural, it will have little to no side effects and is unlikely to interfere with prescription medications.
Life is too short to feel bad all the time.