People are taking CBD for all sorts of afflictions, such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, PTSD, epilepsy, and more. It sounds like a miracle drug, doesn’t it? How can one substance help with so many ailments?
Well, let’s first clarify that CBD is definitely not a miracle drug. It only eases symptoms of underlying issues instead of eliminating the issue itself (for example, CBD will not cure arthritis, but it can alleviate arthritis pain and help you get through your day more comfortably).
With all that CBD can help, you might have another question: can CBD treat depression?
As of now, the answer is—maybe.
How CBD works in your body
CBD is short for cannabidiol, and it is one of over 120 cannabinoids native to the cannabis plant. Another famous cannabinoid is THC, which is the compound that gets you high when you smoke or ingest marijuana.
Your body also produces cannabinoids with something called its endocannabinoid system (“endo” means “inside,” and we will refer to this system as ECS). Your ECS consists of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that help your body communicate with itself (and yes, you have a system inside you named after cannabis. It was discovered relatively recently, whereas people have been using cannabis for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. The scientists who found it noted the similarities).
By “communicate with itself,” we mean that the ECS is integral to your body’s equilibrium—or maintaining homeostasis. You know how your stomach growls when you’re hungry? That’s because you are low on energy, so your stomach alerts you that it’s time to eat something and refuel. If you don’t, the results could be disastrous. Your ECS plays a role in triggering your stomach’s “growling,” otherwise, you might not know that you are hungry—and therefore unable to function after a while.
Your ECS is involved in other functions, like mood, sleep, pain, pleasure, temperature control, and more. Ingesting CBD—a phytocannabinoid, because it’s from a plant—gives your ECS a boost, aiding it in its tasks. This is why CBD has been known to help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and decrease anxiety.
CBD and depression
The reason why we say maybe CBD can help with depression is that very little research in humans exists. Most evidence of CBD’s effects are anecdotal, and many studies have been conducted on animals. Scientists are still exploring CBD’s relationship to depression, which is difficult with cannabis’s legal status in many states.
However, what research does exist is encouraging. Depression is likely connected to low serotonin levels in the brain; so while cannabidiol will not necessarily increase serotonin levels, it may influence how your brain’s chemical receptors interact with the serotonin you already have.
Many people take CBD for depression because it works within a few hours, whereas antidepressants can require a few weeks to kick in and may induce unpleasant side effects. CBD is by no means a replacement for antidepressant medication, though; do not cease taking prescribed antidepressants without speaking with your doctor first (abruptly stopping can cause serious side effects in itself). Very little is known about how CBD interacts with other medications, so also talk to your doctor before starting and keep them updated throughout the process.
Why people love CBD gummies
Hemp products often taste earthy, so people love gummies because they taste delicious. CBD gummies come in all sorts of unique flavors and shapes, such as those from Verma Farms, which makes the experience of eating them more fun (however briefly it lasts). They also make it easier to measure how much CBD you are consuming; oils and topicals require guesswork, but containers of CBD gummies are labeled with how much cannabidiol is in each gummy or the jar as a whole.
Gummies are also more discreet, so you can eat them anytime, anywhere. If you start to feel the slog of depression affect you during the day, you don’t have to wait until you get home—you can eat one whenever you need to.
A few words of advice
Be careful when buying CBD gummies, though. The industry is unregulated, so companies trying to cut corners or take advantage of your ignorance can sell you falsely labeled or outright harmful products. Hemp absorbs toxins from its environment, which can end up in derived goods; only purchase from companies that source their hemp from clean soil and publish Certificates of Analysis online.
CBD boasts a wide range of health benefits, including the ability to alleviate pain and reduce anxiety. It may be able to help with depression as well, so speak with your doctor if you think it’s worth a shot—just don’t put too much stake in it just yet or stop taking your meds.