With the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp became legal at the federal level. This is what led to the explosion of CBD products onto the market. People across the country all of a sudden had access to some of the benefits of cannabis without having to break the law.
THC and CBD aren’t the only cannabinoids in cannabis, though. Researchers have just barely scratched the surface when it comes to studying the potential benefits of the various cannabinoids. That being said, there is quite a bit of promising evidence to support their use in the treatment of a number of different conditions.
Many individuals and scientists are interested in the relationship between cannabinoids and depression. Antidepressants often come along with a number of unpleasant side effects. For this reason, the medical use of cannabinoids for depression is an appealing alternative.
What do we know about using cannabinoids to treat depression? Let’s take a look!
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder. It can be described as experiencing feelings of loss, sadness, or anger that get in the way of the ability to perform normal, everyday activities.
This mood disorder is fairly common. According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability around the world. More than 264 million people suffer from this disorder.
Depression can impact different people in different ways. It can interfere with your daily work and domestic responsibilities. Additionally, it can impact your personal relationships.
It is also linked with an increased risk of developing certain chronic health conditions.
Depression can worsen a number of conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
Everyone has times in their life when they feel down, as this is a normal and natural part of life. Upsetting and sad events occur in everyone’s lives. However, if your normal state is feeling hopeless or down, you might be experiencing depression.
Without proper treatment, depression can get worse over time. It is a serious medical condition. By seeking treatment, you might see improvements in your symptoms in even just a couple of weeks.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are active compounds that naturally occur in cannabis. Most people are familiar with THC and CBD, the most prevalent cannabinoids in cannabis. However, there are actually more than 100 cannabinoids that have been identified by researchers so far.
There are a number of different subclasses of cannabinoids. These are:
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
- Other cannabinoids including cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabicyclol (CBL), and cannabitriol (CBT).
Cannabinoids have an impact on the human body by interacting with specific cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are a part of your body’s endocannabinoid system.
The world of cannabinoid research is still fairly young. This means researchers are still determining the benefits of the various cannabinoids and how they interact with the body. That being said, there is quite a bit of optimism about the potential benefits of a number of cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN.
Medical Use of Cannabinoids: Can They Help With Depression?
There are a number of different treatments available for depression. These include different types of therapy and oral medications. Researchers have also started to explore the potential of medical marijuana and different cannabinoids as an additional depression treatment.
THC and Cannabis For Depression
Researchers are still in the early stages of evaluating the potential use of medical marijuana for depression. The possible benefits include mood stabilization as well as the restoration of normal endocannabinoid function.
Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found that chronic stress can suppress the production of endocannabinoids in the brain. They also found that this suppression could lead to behavior that is similar to the behavior exhibited by someone with depression.
At this point, more studies are needed in order to determine whether or not medical marijuana can help treat the symptoms of depression. Also, many medical cannabis patients prefer to use high CBD and low THC strains, so that they can receive the medical benefits of cannabinoids without the mind-altering effects of THC.
CBD For Depression
There is also a lot of optimism about the potential for using CBD for depression. The research is still limited, with most of the research being done using animals in the last decade. However, CBD does seem to help deal with issues related to depression, including cognitive impairment, anxiety, and discomfort before public speaking.
Both CBD and THC can help with chronic pain and other conditions that are potentially related to depression.
At this point, researchers believe that the potential benefits of CBD for depression have to do with its impact on the brain’s serotonin receptors. Experts believe that low serotonin levels are related to depression. While taking CBD doesn’t necessarily increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, it might change the way that the chemical receptors in your brain respond to the existing serotonin.
One study from 2014 performed on animals found that antianxiety and antidepressant effects were produced by CBD. Another review found that CBD also helps to reduce stress, which could help reduce symptoms of depression that it related to issues of stress.
CBG For Depression
When you start talking about lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG, the research becomes even more sparse. However, people use CBG to treat a number of different conditions, including depression, anxiety, nausea, inflammation, a long list of other diseases.
It is thought that CBG can help to prevent GABA and serotonin uptake in the brain, meaning that the levels of these neurotransmitters in your brain can increase. Since there is a link between both serotonin and GABA with depression, researchers think CBG could be a promising option for individuals who suffer from depression.
It also seems that CBG prevents the uptake of GABA better than some of the other cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. CBG is also non-psychoactive, meaning that people can benefit from its effects without the feeling of intoxication. CBG is also a mild mood booster.
CBN For Depression
CBN is produced when THC breaks down. This means that it doesn’t produce the same high that THC does, but it is mildly psychoactive.
There has not been as much research done about CBN as there has been about CBD. People use CBN for conditions like sleep issues, pain relief, and for its anti-inflammatory properties. Considering that sleep, pain, and inflammation are all linked with depression, it isn’t too far of a leap to think that CBN could also help reduce depression symptoms.
Many people fell that taking a combination of cannabinoids is better than isolating them. For this reason, there are full spectrum distillate products available on the market. These products are within the federal guidelines for THC, but still have a wide variety of other naturally occurring cannabinoids.
What Are the Other Benefits of Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are thought to help with more than just depression. Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of these fascinating active compounds.
Cannabis has been used to reduce pain in cultures where the plant is native for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is thought that cannabis might alter pain perception pathways in the brain, helping to reduce pain. This is particularly true for conditions that lead to chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines, and endometriosis.
It is also worth knowing about the relationship between cannabinoids and inflammation. CBD is thought to be anti-inflammatory, meaning that researchers are interested in its ability to benefit inflammatory conditions such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
On top of that, your overall health can improve when you decrease inflammation in the body.
Mental and Neurological Disorders
Cannabis also has an impact on the limbic system. For this reason, doctors sometimes prescribe cannabis to treat a number of mental health and neurological conditions, including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Tourette syndrome
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Some believe that cannabis also has neuroprotective properties. This means it could be potentially helping to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders.
Cannabis also help people relax, which can help improve sleep disorders. The pain-relieving effects of marijuana, CBD, and other cannabinoids also might help accomplish this. Getting sufficient, high-quality sleep is also a lifestyle change you can make to help reduce symptoms of depression.
Cannabinoids and Depression: Is It Right For You?
There will hopefully be more research into the medical use of cannabinoids in the coming years. So far, though, there is quite a bit of evidence that suggests that legal cannabinoids have a lot of potential when it comes to treating depression as well as other diseases, disorders, and conditions.
You should always talk your doctor if you’re thinking about trying cannabinoids as a part of your health and well-being routine. Some cannabinoids can interact with other medications, so it’s important to check with your healthcare provider.
Did you find this article on cannabinoids and depression interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more fascinating and informative content!