Updated: Apr 4
According to research, depression will affect about 1 in 10 people at some point during their lifetime (*1). Depression can be triggered by a life event or family history, but often people seem to be affected with depression out of the blue and unsuspectingly. The effects of depression span wide and can take over people’s lives, they are often characterised in lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness.
The inner workings of depression and the human brain is a very complex matter. Often people refer to this as a chemical imbalance, which is a big part of the issue, particularly when it comes to serotonin levels - the chemical which is responsible for our feelings of happiness.
Scientists are hopeful that CBD may be useful in the treatment of depression and various studies have been carried out over the past decade. Research from 2014 into the antidepressant-like effects of CBD showed that in most studies it appeared to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain (*2). However, these studies were carried out on animal models so conclusive results can not be drawn from it for humans.
CBD as a natural alternative to antidepressants is an attractive option. Antidepressants can have strong side effects such as insomnia, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, and agitation. In all tests thus far, CBD has never showcased these side effects. Additionally, speed may be on CBD’s side. Antidepressants can take weeks to take effect, whereas a 2019 study found that CBD had a rapid antidepressant-like effect (*3).
The research so far into whether CBD can act as an antidepressant is promising, but we must remember that these studies have been carried out on animal models and we await human research. Until then it can not be concluded that CBD is a replacement for prescribed antidepressants. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication please speak to your doctor before adapting your course.
1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/ 2. https://cbd-b.be/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2014-Antidepressant-Like-and-Anxiolytic-Like-Effects-of-Cannabidiol.pdf 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29869197