At some point in life, the tides turn for the worse and we all go through depression. It’s something that is more frequent for some and can weigh you down till you feel suffocated. You feel like a raft in the eye of a storm, looking for any way out of the turbulence that you can see to alleviate the weight. In this blog we will explore what depression is, how it can affect day to day life, and how CBD could be a potential lifeline within the eye of the storm.
What Is Depression?
By definition, depression is the feeling of despondency and dejection that can be brought on by a vast variable of tribulations within one’s external or internal situation. It is estimated that roughly more than 280 million people of all ages (3.5% of the global population) are affected by it. However, depression comes with a myriad of different signs to identify. For some, this can be an aversion to an activity that usually brings joy and happiness to them. For others, it can manifest as difficulty thinking, radical appetite fluctuation, and feelings of hopelessness. Everyone can experience what's known as “ the black dog” differently.
How Does It Happen?
It is completely normal to experience depression at some point in your life. It could be a reaction to losing a loved one, or a side effect of taking a certain pharmaceutical drug, or even stemming from some sort of adversity within childhood. Vast changes in personality or one's social environment can contribute to it. Even substances such as alcohol, which acts as a depressant, slowing down regions of the brain, can cause varying levels of depression. There can be many external causes for depression, but there can also be internal, biological causes as well.
Abnormalities within the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is generally considered to be involved in the regulation of emotions, show up frequently in neurological tests pertaining to depression. Other regions of the brain that are involved in emotional regulation like the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex are frequently implicated as well in studies. Genetic factors have also shown to be a potential cause for depression, though the number of genes reduces the likelihood of choosing a correct candidate gene within the studies done.
What Can Be The Effects?
Depression can wreak havoc upon somebody's mental health, but it can also drastically affect one’s physical health as well. For example, lethargy is one of many effects of depression that can contribute to the disruption of somebody’s physical health, which in turn would contribute to the degradation of mental health. Depression may also impact everything from the cardiovascular system, digestive system, central nervous system and even immune system.
Unfortunately, everyone goes through stress within their lives at one point or another. Depression and stress are very closely related to one another. Stress hormones can speed up your heart rate and make blood vessels tighten, putting your body in a prolonged state of fight or flight response. Over a period of time, this could potentially lead to heart disease.
Mental health plays an important factor in appetite and nutrition. Some people resort to food and binge eating as a way of coping with stress and depression. Others do the opposite and abstain from food and eating altogether. This in turn leads to increase in weight gain, weight loss, malnutrition and all the other problems that can occur with such effects to the body.
Central Nervous System
Many symptoms involving the central nervous system are usually dismissed or ignored. However, over time if left unchecked, depression can do gradual damage. According to The American Psychological Association, older adults suffering from depression have more difficulty with reaction time and memory loss compared to younger adults with depression. Also, people with depression may have trouble maintaining a work schedule or a healthy social circle. This is partly due to symptoms like inability to concentrate and decision making.
As stated above, depression and stress go hand in hand together. We’ve known for a long time now that sleep, stress, and diet have an impact on the immune system so it would make sense that depression could be a factor. A study on mice suggests a correlation between depression and the immune system. Within the study, mice who were exposed to constant stress developed an immune response that released inflammatory proteins into the system. In turn, this leads to common depressive behavior in the mice.
Could CBD Help Alleviate Depression?
Despite conventional treatment for depression, efficiency can be limiting and side effects can happen (weight gain, rapid mood fluctuation, nausea, insomnia, etc.) Findings in research in 2014 found CBD appears to have a positive reaction to Serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin can impact a range of functions in the body, including a person’s emotional state and overall happiness. Keeping those Serotonin levels balanced could be a key therapeutic tactic for people with depression.
A more recent study done in 2018 concluded that CBD has anti-stress effects and in turn, may reduce depression related to stress. Within the study, CBD was shown to give antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties. In addition to that, more clinical investigations are always being done in the context of CBD and health conditions such as epilepsy, substance abuse, schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and parkinsons. What we know now could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of therapeutic uses for CBD.
The path to use CBD in psychiatry is becoming more clear each passing year with evidence constantly suggesting that CBD has therapeutic uses. On June 25th of 2018, the FDA officially approved a hemp- derived medication known as Epidiolex for the treatment of seizures, suggesting the compound has a long-term safety profile for the neurological condition. Although, there's still limited data on the correlation of CBD and alleviation of depression, the data collected so far shows substantial promise.
As somebody who personally struggles with their mental health, I’ve found our Active CBD oil full spectrum tincture seems to help my mood when in conjunction with a routine. Of course, due to the nature of CBD and the endocannabinoid system, what might work for me is not guaranteed to work for somebody else. That being said, if you are somebody that struggles with anxiety or depression, taking a CBD product could potentially help in keeping the wolves at bay. It is worth a shot, afterall.
If you have any questions about CBD, depression, anxiety, our products, or anything else you can reach out. Give us a call, chat online, or visit one of our retail locations and we’ll be more than happy to help!
If you or somebody you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the 988 national suicide and crisis lifeline or other resources that are there for help.