CBD for Depression

People have been using CBD for hundreds of years, although in the past, it was mostly available via the marijuana plant. Today, CBD or cannabidiol is available fully separate from the cannabis plant. You can easily find the naturally occurring substance in edibles, oils, and other forms. Best of all, it is not psychoactive, giving you all of the benefits of the CBD in cannabis without the psychoactive effects that may disrupt your day.

The ability to separate CBD from the cannabis plant has made it a very popular treatment for a range of issues. Among those ailments, many people claim to experience success with treating depression with CBD. Before you start taking CBD for depression and anxiety, however, there are a few things to know.

CBD Overcomes Side Effects of Traditional Antidepressants

One of the many reasons that people tend to turn to CBD for depression is the fact that traditional treatment methods come with side effects. Antidepressants can lead to a long list of side effects like sexual dysfunction, headache, drowsiness, agitation, and insomnia. Certain medications can even be addictive or increase the chances of substance abuse.

By contrast, using CBD instead of antidepressants essentially eliminates these side effects. This way, you get a method of treating depression that does not interfere with daily life.

Why Does CBD Work for Treating Depression?

Researchers do not just use self-reported data to confirm that CBD treats depression. Instead, some studies have explored the reasons why cannabidiol helps treat depression. One study in 2014 from de Mello Schier, et. al. found that most of the time CBD impacts the serotonin receptors in our brains in a positive manner. Remember that serotonin is a key hormone for mood balance. Low levels of serotonin are connected to depression. As such, this finding means that CBD treats depression by improving our hormonal balances.

On a slightly unrelated note, cannabidiol was approved to treat epilepsy. It does so by protecting the hippocampus neurons. Some experts feel this approval is promising for depression as well. Those with depression also experience hippocampus atrophy, so the protection of this area of the brain may influence CBD’s benefits for depression. CBD may be able to regenerate or protect the hippocampus via positive effects on the endocannabinoid system, increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor, influences on the PPAR receptor, and the previously mentioned serotonin influence.

CBD Demonstrated Antidepressant-like Effects in Research

To learn more about CBD for depression, scientists have looked at how it impacts both people and animals. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that cannabidiol demonstrated effects similar to those of antidepressants in mice. Another published study also indicated that CBD had effects on mice similar to those of antidepressants. Who would not want to take a natural antidepressant with minimal side effects instead of the typical medications?

CBD Demonstrated Its Ability to Reduce Anxiety

A study from Neuropsychopharmacology supported the role of CBD in treating depression and anxiety, specifically in relation to public speaking. This study had a relatively small sample size of just 24 patients, all of whom had diagnosed social anxiety disorder. They received a placebo or 600 mg of cannabidiol before public speaking. The group with CBD had reduced anxiety, discomfort, and cognitive impairment during public speaking. Although further research is still necessary, this is a solid foundation toward using CBD for depression and anxiety. It shows clear promise in relieving symptoms of those conditions.

CBD Has Shown Promise in Other Ways As Well

Over the years, more and more studies have arisen that support CBD for treating depression, anxiety, and a host of other issues. A review in 2018 looked at numerous past studies. It found that many of those studies indicated CBD leads to antidepressant and anti-stress activity in animals.

Are There Any Side Effects of CBD for Depression?

Before taking CBD for depression and anxiety, make sure you are aware of the potential side effects. Most people who take it topically, orally, or via inhalation will not experience any side effects.

Certain people, however, are sensitive to certain compounds in cannabidiol. These people may experience diarrhea, fatigue, or changes in weight or appetite. WebMD says that potential side effects include low blood pressure, light-headedness, drowsiness, and dry mouth. Remember that these side effects tend to be rare.

It is also possible for CBD to interact with medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Because of that, you should always consult a doctor before using CBD for treating depression. You should also be careful about taking CBD for depression if you have any other medical issues, as more research is still necessary for CBD’s impact on certain conditions. For example, early research indicates Parkinson’s patients may experience worsening tremors and muscle movements after taking CBD. There is also not enough research on the safety of CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding.

How Do You Take CBD for Depression?

You can choose from various methods of taking CBD for depression. Many people opt to take it orally, in which case you can consume an oil, capsule, tincture, or even an edible. Ingestible methods of CBD include drops and tinctures, concentrated pastes, capsules, sprays, chewing gum, vaping cartridges, dissolvable powders, cooking oils, and edibles like cookies or gummies. Topical CBD applications can include infused bath bombs, transdermal patches, and various other solutions infused with CBD, including lotions, soaps, shampoos, salves, and balms.

Your CBD method will depend on your personal preference, budget, and availability in your area. Different methods tend to have varying times for the reaction to begin as well as varying lengths of reaction times. Your decision will also depend on the dosage you decide to start with. With CBD, it is best to start small and slowly increase your dose.

What Can You Do to Increase Safety When Taking CBD?

If you choose to treat your depression with CBD, be aware that the FDA does not regulate it. The Food and Drug Administration considers CBD a natural supplement, a category that is outside of its regulation. This means that you should always take care when choosing the CBD that you consume. Just do a bit of research on the company in question to confirm they have a strong reputation. This will typically be enough.


CBD or cannabinoid is an all-natural substance that may offer an alternative to antidepressants and other methods for treating depression. Scientists are still in the early stages of research into the potential benefits of CBD for depression and anxiety, but it shows a great deal of promise. This promise is supplemented by plenty of anecdotal evidence. If you do choose to try CBD to treat your depression, you will have your choice of methods to accommodate your preferences.

You should note that this is NOT medical advice, but info gathered from users and Doctors across the web and conferences, and you should consult your physician before using CBD.

Where to go from here?

Learn more about dosing in our CBD Dosage article and try one of our preferred CBD products from the list below:

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