CBD and mental healthMolly Roe
For thousands of years, the cannabis plant has been used for medicinal purposes. Cannabis contains more than 80 compounds known as cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most abundant compound in the plant, and is probably the most well-known; however, cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant compound found in cannabis, and does not have the psychoactive effects of THC–this means it does not give users a “high” feeling.
There has been a lot of interest and research on CBD in recent years, especially related to its benefits on mental health issues. According to Psychology Today, “Research studies on both animals and humans have shown that CBD may help lower feelings of isolation, relieve autism symptoms and reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
This research has shown that CBD has calming effects on the brain. This is because CBD contains phyto (plant) chemicals called cannabinoids, which are described as “feel-good” molecules naturally produced by the body when we are feeling relaxed or involved in any happy situation (like hugging someone or being excited about something).
These effects can promote feelings of relaxation, balance and calm – all of which may help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness.
In a 2015 review, CBD was established as an effective treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. This could be due to the fact that CBD interacts with receptors in the brain that regulate fear and anxiety-induced behaviors.
Researchers believe CBD’s potential effects on depression are related to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. Low serotonin levels are usually related to depression; however, CBD doesn’t necessarily boost serotonin levels. It may affect how your brain’s chemical receptors respond to the serotonin that’s already in your body.
A 2018 review concluded that CBD has anti-stress effects which have been known to reduce stress-related depression.
Always check with your doctor before using CBD products, especially with other medications.