CBD Oil And Mental Health
Cannabinoids are being actively studied as a potential natural remedy for mental disorders, with CBD oil showing promising results to treat these conditions. Multiple studies are currently looking into CBD oil after promising findings in preliminary reports and mounting anecdotal evidence. Additional studies and clinical trials are needed to confirm its effectiveness for many psychiatric disorders, but expect those to develop in time.
To add to the weight of anecdotal evidence, the impact we see first-hand on so many of our customers is real and is providing tangible benefit to their everyday lives. From crippling anxiety, insomniac-like sleepers, to chronic pain sufferers, we’ve seen CBD create freedoms that these people thought no longer existed. The sad reality beyond this, is that these sorts of problems in society today are worse than ever. The last couple of years have been incredibly tough for people, and in this mad world we live in, the problems appear to not be letting up anytime soon. CBD can be a mechanism to alleviate some of these harsh symptoms and help reduce this burden of weight on people’s shoulders. We absolutely stand by that.
In this blog we will look at some of the aspects of CBD for mental health disorders, both mild and more serious, and also what might be some of the reasons CBD for anxiety, sleep and mood can be so powerful for body and mind.
So what are the symptoms of mental health disorders
Firstly we should discuss what some of the symptoms of mental health disorders are. These symptoms we will highlight below can become worse if left untreated and it’s important for us all to be aware what some of these warning signs may be. The most common signs include:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Sleep problems even when tired
- Feeling helpless or lost
- Extreme mood swings
- Loss of appetite or eating to excess
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Feeling numbness to general life
- Sleep problems, such as sleeping too much or having insomnia
- Feeling fatigue even having enough sleep
- Feeling helpless, hopeless, or lost
- Odd body pains and aches
- Hearing voices in your head
- Having thoughts of harming yourself or others
- Distancing yourself and secluding yourself from others
- Being unable to carry out everyday activities
Many of these issues are hard to read, but it’s important to realise when these symptoms are manifesting themselves and when it could be as a result of something more serious. Things such as anxiety, stress or very emotional periods can worsen these symptoms and make everyday life an uphill struggle. When it stops you from maintaining a normal lifestyle this can sometimes be considered a mental breakdown and it’s critical at this point to seek help from a medical expert or doctor.
Diagnosis of mental disorders can be complex as symptoms of some mental health illnesses may vary from one patient to another. Because of this, it may take a few appointments for the patient to get a definitive diagnosis.
There are a number of treatment methods used to help alleviate these symptoms from a medical standpoint such as various medications, therapies, hospital treatments and lifestyle changes. But unfortunately, currently, there is no cure for mental illnesses and research of the possible methods to cope with these diseases is still ongoing.
So how does CBD and other cannabinoids impact our health?
Cannabinoids and CBD in particular, have grown in popularity on an unprecedented scale in recent years as a natural treatment that can be as effective as many other usual medications. Currently, millions of studies and trials are conducted all over the world to reveal the potential benefits of cannabis and hemp plants.
There are more than a hundred different cannabinoid molecules in the cannabis plant for today. Each of these compounds has unique therapeutic benefits and can potentially be used to treat different mental health conditions and other diseases.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most abundant cannabinoids produced by cannabis. Both these compounds are predicted to have a bright therapeutic future, although their effects on our health differ significantly. The main difference between these cannabinoids is in the presence of intoxicating effects. THC is the main psychoactive component of the cannabis plant and has potent medical benefits for our health, while CBD is almost as good in its efficiency, but doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. This property therefore makes CBD the most promising compound in cannabis and has prompted a wide range of different studies on its therapeutic benefits around the world.
THC and CBD interact with the cannabinoid receptors of our endocannabinoid system (ECS), though do this in different ways. Such a difference in interaction explains the presence of intoxicating effects of THC and its absence in CBD despite the chemical “relationship” of these compounds.
Our endocannabinoid system has two types of receptors:
- CB1 receptors, which are mostly located in the central nervous system
- CB2 receptors, which are mostly located in the peripheral nervous system, especially in the immune cells
THC interacts with the first type of the ECS receptors which are located in our brain, causing euphoria, relaxation, and short-term memory impairment. At the same time, CBD can interact with CB1 receptors as well, decreasing such negative THC effects, such as anxiety and other psychoactive effects. This may explain why CBD for anxiety is so commonly taken, but the effects that result directly depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to.
For example, some cannabinoids might bind to CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain, while others might interact with CB2 receptors in our immune cells, signalling inflammation in our body, which is a common sign of autoimmune disorders.
Although CBD belongs to the cannabinoid family, it doesn’t directly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. Instead, CBD effects signalling through these receptors indirectly, which explains the absence of intoxicating effects, unlike THC. While influencing CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD inhibits the production of enzymes that break down the body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, thereby increasing their levels. Besides this, CBD also influences other non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which are sensitive to a variety of neurotransmitters and drugs.
CBD for anxiety, the studies and the science
Beyond many many thousands of testimonials of individuals who successfully treat their anxiety with CBD oil, there is also a growing body of scientific evidence that CBD works. Most research has been done in rodents. A recent review discusses 32 different rodent studies that tested CBD’s effects on anxiety — and only one didn’t see useful results.
Human experiments are costly and legally complicated but are growing by the day so we hope to keep everyone informed as these become clearer. But there are certainly some impressive studies that already exist.
One interesting study found CBD induces acute anxiolytic effects in public speaking with some caveats, but is certainly one area that our co-founder believes in hugely. The reduction in stress and anxiety noticed by Barney, our co-founder, is one of the benefits that spurred on the creation of Associated CBD!
Delving a bit deeper on CBD for anxiety, another study found Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. In this study, the effects of a simulated public speaking test on 24 patients with social anxiety and 12 healthy control participants were compared. Both groups received a single oral dose of 600 mg of CBD 1.5 hours before the test or placebo. Results of this study revealed that CBD use significantly reduced anxiety, discomfort, and cognitive impairment in the speech performance of the social anxiety group, as well as significantly decreased hyper-alertness of all the group participants compared to the placebo group. Besides that, neuroimaging research has also demonstrated that cerebral flow in individuals diagnosed with social anxiety may also be altered via CBD.
In older studies there has also been some success in highlighting Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders and another study that looked into the Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalised social anxiety disorder. In the latter study, patients with social anxiety who were given 400 mg of CBD oil or placebo in a double-blinded crossover study. In comparison to the placebo, 400 mg of CBD was associated with significantly decreased anxiety, while blood flow was being modulated in the left parahippocampal gyrus, inferior temporal gyrus, right posterior cingulate gyrus, and hippocampus within the brain. These results suggest that CBD may interact with the limbic and paralimbic brain areas but due to the lack of research, the results of the studies held need to be considered with some caution but nonetheless the direction of travel is clear.
CBD for depression
There have been limited studies looking into CBD effects on clinical depression, but certainly some studies have surfaced that show CBD could help with certain aspects of mood regulation. One study showed that terpenes and phytocannabinoids – the main components of the cannabis plant have the potential to modulate the endocannabinoid system and the 5HT1A receptor providing antidepressant effects. More studies are required to further evaluate CBD for depression and mood regulation further however.
CBD for PTSD
Potential neurobiological mechanisms of CBD effects on people diagnosed with PTSD are different and are mostly obtained from animal research. There is a high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus. All these brain regions play a critical role in fear acquisition and extinction. It was shown that disruption of ECS impairs fear extinction in CB1 knockout mice, which suggests a crucial role of this type of endocannabinoid receptors in the fear formulation and its extinction.
One survey investigating the impact of cannabis on PTSD symptoms was held in a California medical cannabis dispensary. Among the 170 participants of the study, the frequency of cannabis use, a range of health elements, and general mental health were evaluated. It was revealed that participants with high PTSD scores were more likely to use cannabis to improve their mental health condition and sleep when compared with those with low PTSD scores. In particular, the frequency of cannabis use was greater among the individuals taking it to cope with sleep problems. The use of cannabis and cannabinoids, in particular, is increasing among individuals with PTSD symptoms, although there is currently no firmly supportive epidemiological data and additional research is needed.
Many of the studies discussed clearly show promising signs surrounding CBD, Cannabinoids and cannabis and their impacts on anxiety, stress and mental health disorders. But the underlying theme remains that more studies are required to fully understand whether any of these compounds can be a true natural supplement and alternative to clinical medications and therapies. Over the coming years, we expect researchers to continue to further understand the complexity of mental disorders and uncover the full scope of CBD’s therapeutic potential to reduce the symptoms of the most common psychiatric diseases.
A final word on mental health
Associated CBD truly believes that CBD and other cannabinoids can be a real source of relief to some of these mental health symptoms. We certainly have a wealth of anecdotal evidence building up from our customers that many of our CBD products are helping aspects of their lives like anxiety, stress, sleep and chronic pain. We are also going a step further in our pursuit by partnering with The Mental Health Resource Charity and are developing ways to help through charitable donations, CBD product offerings and awareness support. Watch this space!
Thanks for reading, and as always please reach out to us with any questions.
Barney Le Fevre