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CBD and Depression CBD and Health CBD Benefits

CBD and Depression [Do CBD and Symptoms of Depression Relate?]

Cannabis consumption has been linked to depression for a long time, as multiple consumers directly affect symptom control. The clinical evidence available to support this determination remains inconclusive but highly promising. 

With non-psychoactive and federally legal cannabinoids like CBD becoming more prevalent in the market, it’s safe to say that companies have grown more and more interested in understanding its effects on symptoms of depression. 

CBD’s potential effects on common symptoms of depression related to appetite, mood, and sleep quality are the most sought-after features. 

Can CBD Help Depression Disappear?

Severe conditions like depression can’t merely ‘disappear’ on account of any prescription drug. Clinical depression can be controlled and monitored, with untreated episodes that may last up to several months.

Episodes of major clinical depression can last any length of time, with symptoms varying in intensity. If left alone long enough without any treatment, depression can become a chronic condition. [1]

Treating depression, or any other health condition, for that matter, is reduced to symptom relief and elimination or control of the condition.

A condition like depression that is incredibly prevalent has to be continuously treated with various actions that may include frequent exercise, diet control, prescription medication, and supplementation.

Can CBD help depression disappear?

Depressed patients are advised not to rely on an individual solution but rather to concentrate on holistically designed alternatives.

If the patient's goal is to relieve the symptoms caused by diagnosed depression, CBD could play a role in addressing those symptoms. 

Mood-Based Symptoms

A 2019 paper concerning CBD's effects on mood disorder control, results from six various clinical studies that used CBD to treat other health conditions assessed the impact on mood symptoms as an additional outcome.

The paper concluded that there is a lack of evidence that does not recommend CBD as an effective treatment for mood disorders.

The same study concludes that the preclinical and clinical evidence available for CBD use on other diseases suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) could play a role in mood stabilization, even if it isn't considered a direct treatment. [2]

Well-designed clinical trials that determine the role of CBD on mood disorders are greatly needed to conclude.

A commonality between mood symptoms is their negative effect on motivation and signs of apathy.

A 2016 study on the effects of cannabinoids in effort-related decision-making showed that the counter-motivational effects of THC could be deterred by CBD consumption. While this refers to a lack of motivation caused by THC consumption, it is also possible that CBD could influence motivation regardless of what causes the lack of it. [3]

Behavioural Symptoms

Common behavioral symptoms of depression include agitation, irritability, and social isolation. Some of these could be linked to anxiety-related symptoms, making sense to compile information that alludes to that. 

A 2015 study on the potential use of CBD for anxiety and depression disorders stated that “existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.” These results are dependent on the administration of CBD in acute doses. [4]

Behavioural symptoms

Further evidence from human trials analyzed in the same paper supports an anxiolytic role of CBD. However, this is based on the analysis of few studies in clinical populations.

Like a 2019 paper on the effects of cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep, other studies concluded that sleep scores could improve in patients using CBD but could naturally fluctuate over time. [5]

This information not only speaks volumes of how CBD can help depression-related behavioral symptoms but also sleep-related afflictions.

Sleep-Related Symptoms

The same long-term study on sleep quality assessed CBD's role in sleep patterns and found a modest improvement in sleep than subjects being administered placebos.

CBD can have a positive effect on sleep quality and sleep pattern control.

A 2020 study on the relationship between cannabinoids and sleep suggests that the effects of CBD on sleep quality could be modified by THC consumption. Likewise, the results of THC on rest could be changed by CBD consumption. [6]

These conclusions imply nothing more than the existence of the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is the name given to the synergistic effects that cannabinoids and other components found naturally in the cannabis plant can have on each other—either enhancing or decreasing one another's effects.

Due to the lack of conclusive evidence and the difficulty of developing research legally, we must concur with Kwasnik et al. that the current published works on cannabis are insufficient for clinical recommendations of cannabis as a sleep aid. [7]

Anecdotal evidence is overwhelming and should not overlook the number of users reporting better sleep due to CBD. 

Symptoms Associated with Appetite

Anybody who has consumed cannabis with a high THC level, otherwise known as marijuana, is probably familiar with the 'munchies'- the name given to the effect produced by marijuana results in the consumer having a larger than usual appetite.

For decades this has been attributed to THC.

As CBD knowledge grows, we are becoming more privy to the potential effects of CBD on appetite regulation.

A 2010 study conducted to understand the effects of CBD on THC-caused' munchies' concluded that CBD has the potential of acting as a treatment for cannabis dependence [8].

This was not the critical finding. In the study, subjects that consumed a high CBD to THC ratio were found to have a decreased interest in food. This conclusion suggests CBD can play a role in appetite modification, even if consumed only in parallel with THC.

Similar results were found in a 2011 study that assessed the effects of CBD on hyperphagia, the abnormally strong sensation of hunger or desire to eat.

Symptoms associated with appetite

The findings in the study conclude that “CBD administered under experimental conditions can antagonize the effects of cannabinoid agonists” [9].

The second study also links CBD with the ability to suppress the hunger caused by THC consumption.

The findings in this study could mean that CBD directly affects weight loss, especially in persons who consume THC regularly.

Cognitive Symptoms

Much in line with the previous study discussed, a 2018 study concludes that there may be a helpful adjunct treatment for cannabis dependence [10].

While the study concentrates on addressing CBD's effects on substance dependence, the results can be extrapolated to cognitive symptoms as dependence could be caused by a cognitive condition.

This leads us to plunge further into the available research:

A 2013 study on the modulation of cognitive and emotional processing by CBD states that CBD and cognition share a relationship. More specifically, that the cognitive and affective consequences of consuming CBD may be mediated by the brain [11].

With the incredible number of cases reporting positive results on cognitive behaviors and the fact that research supporting the relationship between CBD and cognition grows by the year, it does not surprise that most consumers have positive feedback.

Conclusion

The relationship between CBD and depression needs to be analyzed through the outcome in symptom control and suppression. Common symptoms of depression may include behavioral, cognitive, appetite, sleep, and mood-related categories. CBD has been shown to affect all symptom categories.

Hemmfy articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them.

The knowledge around CBD and other cannabis-derived products is growing and constantly changing, as does their legal status. Hence, we recommend checking with your local authorities and a licensed physician prior to consumption.

References

[1] Harvard Health Publishing. (2018). Major Depression. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/major-depression-a-to-z

[2] Pinto, J. V., Saraf, G., Frysch, C., Vigo, D., Keramatian, K., Chakrabarty, T., Lam, R. W., Kauer-Sant’Anna, M., & Yatham, L. N. (2019). Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Mood Disorders: A Systematic Review: Le cannabidiol comme traitement des troubles de l’humeur: une revue systématique. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 65(4), 213–227. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743719895195

[3] Lawn, W., Freeman, T. P., Pope, R. A., Joye, A., Harvey, L., Hindocha, C., Mokrysz, C., Moss, A., Wall, M. B., Bloomfield, M. A. P., Das, R. K., Morgan, C. J. A., Nutt, D. J., & Curran, H. V. (2016). Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on effort-related decision-making and reward learning: an evaluation of the cannabis ‘amotivational’ hypotheses. Psychopharmacology, 233(19–20), 3537–3552. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4383-x

[4] Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825–836. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1

[5] Shannon, S. (2019c). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente Journal, 23, 1. https://doi.org/10.7812/tpp/18-041

[6] Kesner, A. J., & Lovinger, D. M. (2020). Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids and Sleep. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 13, 1. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnmol.2020.00125

[7] Kwasnik, A., Abreu, A., & Chediak, A. (2020). Cannabinoids and Sleep: Helpful or Harmful? Current Pulmonology Reports, 9(3), 96–101. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13665-020-00254-y

[8] Morgan, C. J. A., Freeman, T. P., Schafer, G. L., & Curran, H. V. (2010). Cannabidiol Attenuates the Appetitive Effects of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in Humans Smoking Their Chosen Cannabis. Neuropsychopharmacology, 35(9), 1879–1885. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2010.58

[9] Scopinho, A. A., Guimarães, F. S., Corrêa, F. M. A., & Resstel, L. B. M. (2011). Cannabidiol inhibits the hyperphagia induced by cannabinoid-1 or serotonin-1A receptor agonists. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 98(2), 268–272. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2011.01.007

[10] Solowij, N., Broyd, S. J., Beale, C., Prick, J.-A., Greenwood, L.-, van Hell, H., Suo, C., Galettis, P., Pai, N., Fu, S., Croft, R. J., Martin, J. H., & Yücel, M. (2018). Therapeutic Effects of Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment on Psychological Symptoms and Cognitive Function in Regular Cannabis Users: A Pragmatic Open-Label Clinical Trial. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 3(1), 21–34. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2017.0043

[11] Kowal, M. A., Hazekamp, A., Colzato, L. S., van Steenbergen, H., & Hommel, B. (2013). Modulation of cognitive and emotional processing by cannabidiol: the role of the anterior cingulate cortex. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 1. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00147

Simon Cartagena

Simon Cartagena is a full-time cannabis copywriter. This has led him to write for companies like Hemmfy.com where he acts as Senior Content Writer and other world-renowned cannabis publications. Simon has created Content Marketing strategies and articles that have helped company revenues increase by up to 1,000%. Simon’s goal is to help people understand cannabis in an industry where misinformation seems to be predominant.