CBD and Mental Health
CBD is a chemical compound naturally found in the cannabis plant. CBD can also be derived from marijuana or hemp. CBD products have helped people with a range of mental and physical ailments. Multiple people have benefitted from them, in chronic and acute diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, inflammation, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder, high blood pressure and chronic pain.
The National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials Database highlights that there are currently more than 160 clinical trials involving CBD underway. The FDA and other regulatory bodies, across the globe, have recently approved a CBD based drug (Epidiolex) to treat epilepsy.
This is specifically important because, as per a recent survey, about 66.8 percent of the people worldwide are suffering from either anxiety, lack of sleep and/or depression. As per MHFA England, 80-90% of people dying by suicide are suffering from mental distress. In the UK, men aged between 40-49 years have reported the highest rates of suicides. The intensity of anxiety and depression have also further increased in patients, because of the widely prevalent work from home culture and blurring of professional and personal lines, post coronavirus pandemic.
Benefits of CBD in treating mental health disorders
Depression disorders are common mental health conditions that can have lasting effects on a person’s health, ability to work, social life, and overall well-being. Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of disability in patients.
One of the major causes of depression is low serotonin levels in patients. Serotonin affects a range of functions in the body, including a person’s emotional state and feelings of well-being or happiness. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (widely known as antidepressants) are currently available and prescribed for depression, however, as many users will know, they can have multiple side effects on the body. Recent studies have found that CBD appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. CBD can help to keep the serotonin levels balanced and has fewer side effects as compared to the traditional antidepressant medications.
Recent studies have well established the CBD depression inflammation links. A 2014 research study, followed by a 2018 review study concluded that CBD products have anti-anxiety, anti-depression and anti-stress effects and these products can reduce the depression related to the stress in patients by maintaining the balance of serotonin levels in the body, supporting healthy neurotransmitter function and by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body.
CBD has been found to have the possibility of helping patients suffering from anxiety as well. Anxiety is also linked to low serotonin levels, and hence CBD’s impact on maintaining the balance of serotonin levels in the body, can have a positive treatment impact on anxiety. Multiple clinical evidence have supported the use and positive effects of CBD for anxiety patients. The best cbd products for anxiety are available in the market. In a study conducted in 2019, it was reported that 300–600 mg of CBD reduced the symptoms of anxiety in 57 male adults. Another clinical study highlighted that taking 600 mg of CBD product, reduced the anxiety in patients considerably, as compared to the patients who were taking a placebo by reducing stress, decreasing physiological effects of anxiety, such as an increased heart rate, improving symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and inducing sleep in cases of insomnia thereby answering the question does cbd actually reduce anxiety.
Insomnia and sleep disorder can cause low energy levels, loss of concentration, fatigue and mood changes. CBD has been found to be able to help by managing the main cause of sleeplessness, including mental health disorders, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and physical conditions, such as chronic pain, restless leg syndrome or alleviating the impact of environmental factors, such as loud noises.
CBD improves sleep because it attacks the root causes of insomnia and related sleep disorders by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body, that helps maintain a state of stability and balance, or homeostasis. A recent 2019 study included 72 participants, of which 47 subjects were experiencing nervousness and 25 with the problem of poor sleep. The patients were administered 25 milligrams (mg) of CBD in capsule form every day. After one month of delivery, 79.2% of CBD administered patients showed positive results with alleviated anxiety and 66.7% with better sleep results.
Bipolar disorder refers to a mental health condition that can cause an alteration in the mood of the patient. Bipolar disorder affects around 0.4% and 1.6% of people worldwide, which translates to nearly 70 million people affected by bipolar disorder. In the UK, it affects nearly 1.3 million people. the use of CBD products has been shown to protect the brain from damage and supports healthy neurotransmitter function, which in turn has the possibility of alleviating the problem of bipolar disorder.
CBD and mental health success stories
· Nadine, suffered from anxiety disorder for almost four years. She was prescribed therapeutic medications by her physician, however, she did not experience any relief in her symptoms and also gained a lot of weight. Nadine also tried exercise, mindfulness, and various herbal remedies but nothing worked. Later, she started using CBD oil, which resulted in a positive effect on her anxiety in four months. Her anxiety attacks vastly reduced and she noticed a considerable change in her other symptoms as well.
· Anne W., a patient suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks, was finding it difficult to cope with her condition. Post 2015, she started incorporating CBD gummies in her diet in order to help with the anxiety symptoms. She noticed considerable improvement in her health in a few months. Her anxiety and panic attacks vastly reduced and she could feel normal again most of the time.
· Matthew J., another patient suffering from Chronic pain, started consuming CBD edibles, on a regular basis, to improve his back aches, which were due to Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), spinal stenosis, and mid back scoliosis. The CBD products not only helped him to reduce pain but also helped him to get improved sleep. His muscles were less stiff now and he had considerably lesser pain, due to which he could sleep much more peacefully. He considers CBD as a blessing for him.
CBD has multiple therapeutic and treatment effects on different health conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorder, pain and inflammation. CBD interacts with molecular targets in the body and helps regulate and balance serotonin levels in the body, which can further have a positive impact on the patients suffering from depression and anxiety and other mental disorders.
Multiple clinical studies, conducted across the globe, have substantiated these findings and have helped establish the usage and importance of CBD based products in mental health conditions. However, it is important to note that some of these studies have been conducted in the animal models, and there is a need for further human studies, which are currently ongoing, to establish the clinical and research findings.