Unfortunately here in the US, as of the date of this publication, depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 45. Major Depressive Disorder affects over 15 million people in the US each year, roughly 6% of the population. Statistically, one out of every six individuals will experience a depressive stage over their life time. For those who have suffered or know a loved one who has suffered from depression can understand the toll depression can take on the individual and the lives of the ones around them.
Common Causes for Depression
There are many reasons why someone can suffer from depression, and not all circumstances are experienced equally. Over the years collecting data through clinical research, researchers have found distinct behavioral and biological patterns associated with being potential causes of depression. These patterns have been vigorously studied in hopes to find potential cures as well as finding possible ways to diagnose potential suffers earlier so the disorder doesn’t progress into something unmanageable. There tends to be a biological or chemical aspect to depression. Statistically, people with depression tend to have a chemical imbalance, were the body is producing too little or too many neurotransmitters. This imbalance can create disturbances in the persona causing mood fluctuations, from feelings of euphoria to severe angst, which can lead to Major Depressive Disorder. Those who have experience tragedies in their lives can create cognitive depressive thought processes which can be very difficult to circumvent. Prolonged depressive thoughts can lead to low self-esteem and thus are much more likely to develop a serious disorder. Hormonal changes, especially in middle aged women, can be another contributing factor, as middle aged women are much more likely to suffer from a depression related disorder than men. Another statistically relevant cause for depression is called co-occurrence, or a depressive disorder brought on by a severe illness. The realization of one’s own potential fragility, experienced through a traumatic accident or severe illness, can cause a distinct impact on the psyche which can lead to depression. In some cases, it’s the prescribed medication which can cause depression. These external or internal occurrences, paired with an individual’s possible genetic predisposition to a depression related disorder, can increase the risk of developing a depression related disorder.
Current Medications for Depression
For mild forms of depression and anxiety, doctors traditionally prescribe SSRIs or Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRIs are generally safer than more severe antidepressants and cause fewer side effects. Prolonged use can cause serious dependency problems and in some circumstances can cause the underlining problem to worsen. The top SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), sertraline (Zoloft) and vilazodone (Viibryd).
In more severe cases doctors can prescribe antidepressants, which work by altering the balance of chemicals in the patient’s brain. The side effects can be severe, ranging from jitteriness and dry mouth to decreased levels of sexual desire and an unfortunate increase levels of suicidal tendencies. These suicidal thoughts and in some tragic cases suicide are significantly more prevalent in children and adolescents, which is why on most antidepressant medications the company warns that they should be monitored carefully especially during the first few months of taking the drug.
Can CBD Replace Antidepressants?
CBD or Cannabidiol has received a lot of interest as of late for its seemingly endless benefits and little to no negative side effects. We are here to help you what is actually going on with CBD and depression and how it can possibly help those suffering from some pretty severe disorders and illnesses. The main reason you hear that CBD can be useful for a plethora of different ailments and diseases is in large part due to CBD’s relationship with our own endocannabinoid system. Whether you knew this already or not, our endocannabinoid system is a collection of cell receptors in our body. Our endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining and regulating some of our most important daily functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, pain, bone growth, immune system, and pleasure just to name a few. These receptors respond to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis and hemp plants. When there’s an issue within our bodies ability to maintain homeostasis, our endocannabinoid system is triggered and we begin to produce endocannabinoids, which help our body better communicate and respond to potential weaknesses. When our body produces endocannabinoids, they bond with our cannabinoid receptors which are located, organ tissue, brain tissue, immune system, and in our glands. We have two main endocannabinoid receptor sites, CB1 and CB2 receptors, which respond differently to various cannabinoids. Due to the fact that our endocannabinoid system is so useful and prominent in orchestrating how our bodies maintain homeostasis, is the very same reason why the application of CBD for depression or anxiety is attracting so much interest from the medical field. It is important to note however, that our endocannabinoid system is not associated with controlling heart and lung function. Which is why ingesting large qualities of high-quality, full spectrum CBD tincture is not linked with lethal overdoses, as it is with overdosing with opioids. Because depression, in some instances, can be a chemical imbalance issue rooted in the body’s nervous system, CBD could in theory be a viable solution for some cases of depression. Here’s what the research shows so far.
Pre-Clinical Research Supporting CBD for Depression
This study looks at how taking CBD can help restore balance and improve mood in animal models. The researchers found that the endocannabinoid system (EC) system, when out of balance, can create issues such as mood swings and higher levels of anxiety. When cannabinoids are introduced to the test subjects, the results showed that a correlation between a balance in the endocannabinoid system and an overall balance in mood. Researchers noted that a balance in the endocannabinoid system, through CBD oil administration, can create an anti-anxiety effect. This is especially exciting for depression sufferers, as higher levels of anxiety are seen throughout depression sufferers.
This study shows that CBD can cause and anti-depressive effects similar to that of traditional anti-depressants on the market. The study hints that the results are reached due to CBD’s activation of 5-HT(1A) receptors. This activation is seen to induce antidepressant-like effects in animal subjects.
For a more complete list of the research conducted on CBD and depression can be found at https://www.projectcbd.org/depression.
Patients suffering from depression typically see imbalances in two important neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. During periods of depression, individuals experience levels of sadness and a lack of drive for activities which once gave them joy. Serotonin and dopamine are released during periods of exercise, sex, and sleep, and help to maintain stress levels and decrease the tendency for mood swings. Studies have been conducted which uncovered the benefits of supplementing with high-quality CBD oil by studying CBD’s relationship with our neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Researchers found “ample evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.” In their findings, researchers noted that CBD’s interaction with our CB2 receptors could be the reason for this finding. This is why the use of CBD for anxiety is so effective. By activating certain receptors, the adenosine receptors, which regulate cardiovascular functions, myocardial oxygen consumption, and coronary blood flow, CBD allows oxygen and blood to circulate more effectively and ease many of the symptoms associated with anxiety. Full spectrum CBD for treating depression has also been seen to influence dopamine receptors, which are primarily associated with motivation and reward signaling. These findings where validated by the research conducted by Jose Alexandre Crippa, at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and King’s College in London. They observed that, utilizing high concentrations of CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, which has shown medial efficacy in relieving anxiety and depression. Activation of central 5-HT1A receptors triggers the release of norepinephrineIn, or the chemicals that mobilize the brain. In addition to being antidepressant and anxiolytic in effect, 5-HT1A receptor activation has also been demonstrated to be analgesic, or pain reliever.
However, more research needs to be conducted before it should be considered as an alternative to prescription medication. If you are someone who is suffering from depression please consult a medical professional before you change treatment. For other assistance in this matter please see a depression hotline or visit this website https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/depression-hotline/.
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