CBD & Mental Health
By: Kathy T. Cooley
Cannabis is still one of the most controversial and frowned upon topics today. Despite its various benefits to the human body and mental health, several countries are far away from even considering the legalization of this miraculous plant. In regions where governments have successfully permitted medical cannabis, several people suffering from ailments and chronic diseases have experienced its remarkable effects.
Apart from helping improve physical health, cannabis and CBD are also known to have a positive impact on mental health. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, ADHD, insomnia, chronic stress – all seem to have been alleviated with cannabis.
There are different cannabis strains available. Consult your doctor to find out which is the correct one for your condition as certain strains will have a stronger reaction than others. For instance, strains like ‘cannatonic’ and ‘sour tsunami’ can be used for anxiety. The ‘purple kush’ indica cannabis strain works well to provide relaxation from chronic stress, while ‘cinex’ and ‘sour diesel’ are ideal for ADHD.
A study was published in which 35,000 participants were surveyed and a three year follow up was conducted. It was was found that there is no correlation between the use of cannabis and the development of anxiety, mood disorders and depression.
The cannabis plant contains several compounds known as cannabinoids. CBD is one of them. It is popular for its several therapeutic uses. Oils which contain CBD concentrations are known as CBD oils. The uses and the concentrations in different oils vary.
Cannabis contains CBD as well as THC. Both these compounds have different effects. While THC produces a mind- altering effect, CBD has no such effect.
The Working Of CBD Oil
The human body produces a few cannabinoids on its own. There are two cannabinoid receptors present, CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors in the body. While CB1 are present throughout the body, most of them are in the brain.
CB1 in the brain are associated with pain, movement, coordination, emotions, appetite, thinking, and mood. CB2 are more commonly found in the immune system. They impact pain and inflammation.
CBD attaches to specific brain receptors and produce their effects. It is now known that it does not react on the receptors directly, rather works on the body to use more of its cannabinoids.
Several patients suffering from psychiatric disorders have found relief by using CBD oil as a form of medication. Apart from being beneficial for mental disorders, CBD is also effective in treating neurological disorders like certain seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, agitation in dementia- conditions which are untreatable by standard medication.
In several states of the US, medical CBD is available for its effective properties, and licensed doctors and pharmacies are available for its legal distribution.
We know that…
One of the most researched associations is between CBD and anxiety. Several pre-clinical trials have been conducted to confirm the powerful effects of the herb. The use of traditional cannabis for anxiety is not the best idea. CBD oil with no or negligible amounts of THC, is antipsychotic in nature, and can work extremely well for it. Researchers have also shown that pure CBD can help social anxiety patients by making them more comfortable with public speaking.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Long-term use of strong antidepressants for treating PTSD can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms. CBD oil treatment is a natural solution and is extremely effective in reducing the symptoms related to PTSD.
CBD also helps in lowering the occurrence of hypervigilance. CBD has a significantly relaxing effect and can help calm down ‘alertness’.
OCD can also be kept in check with the help of CBD oil. It has been proven through studies that cannabidiol may have ‘anti-compulsive’ benefits for OCD patients. It can help by decreasing the strong need to carry out repetitive actions.
CBD can also help patients in dealing with insomnia. The therapeutic benefits extend to the REM sleep as CBD can regulate the anxiety-caused alteration in this stage. Clinical data supports that CBD is a safe treatment for improving sleep quality and quantity.
Even though CBD does not cause any psychoactive effect on the mind, it can be used for treating depression as it gives a sense of calm and mild euphoria. CBD is used by several patients for treating depression as it does not have side effects like addiction which are caused by antidepressants.
Depression is known to have an impact on the central nervous system called the endocannabinoid system. In depression, this system experiences reduced levels of positive mood, energy, loss of appetite etc. CBD helps by balancing such symptoms, without causing the tight binding of CB1 receptors.
Several doctors also believe that Schizophrenia can be treated with CBD as this oil works on the dopamine system of the brain. It decreases the symptoms caused by schizophrenia. Just one of several benefits of CBD, and the cannabis plant as a whole.