The Effect of CBD on Depression

As per the American Psychiatric Association, depression affects an approximate one out of fifteen grown-ups each year and one of every six people at some time in their life. For many people who suffer from depression or who have a friend or family member who has depression symptoms, millions of people will agree that this issue is very debilitating amongst the most crippling conditions anyone can face. Fortunately, every year, more people who are diagnosed with any form of depression are finding that CBD or cannabidiol can be a natural choice of option for relieving from this disorder and its side effects. Studies show that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a collection of cell receptors in our brain to regulate essential human functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and pleasure and other things. So, how do CBD interact with the human body and brain to mitigate the side effects of depression? The intent of this article is to explore the answer to this question, based on scientific research recently conducted in the medical community. But first, let’s have a better understanding of this disorder and then we will know what is CBD and its effects on depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a sort of mental health disorder related to critical morbidity and mortality, being a major risk factor for suicide, substance abuse, poor outcomes of medical conditions, and impaired functionality. It is described by flattening of mood, loss of emotional expression, and retardation of thought and movements. People who suffered from depression generally have a depressed and discouraged mind-set, loss of enthusiasm in activities they were usually interested in, sleep disorder or insomnia, loss of energy, and reduced ability to think or focus.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) categorizes depression into following major depressive disorder like persistent depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and depressive disorder. However, all these classes of depression are described by the presence of a sad or irritable mood with associated difficulty in thinking, concentrating, and carrying out normal physical tasks, limiting people’s daily functioning.

While human neurochemistry plays a vital role, it is commonly debated that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Rather, Psychology Today argues, “regarding depression as ‘just’ a chemical imbalance wildly misconstrues the disorder.” Scientists agree that levels of neurotransmitters (i.e. chemicals in our brains) are reduced during depression, but this reduction is a symptom of depression rather than a cause.

Between 2009 and 2012, roughly 7.6% of Americans aged 12 or more were diagnosed with depression and it was more common among females and persons aged 40 and 59. In 2015, about 16.1 million adults aged 18 and over had a minimum of one depressive episode in the previous year.

What are the side effects of Traditional medication for Depression?

Traditional treatments for depression are antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), antipsychotic drugs etc. These drugs work by altering the balance of certain chemicals in your brain. And, like all medicines, this change can cause a wide variety of side effects like jitteriness, weird dreams, dry mouth, and diarrhea and long-term decreased sexual desire. “Side effects from antidepressants depend on the class of medication you are using, but in most cases when we talk about side effects, we are talking about SSRIs,” says Madhukar Trivedi, MD, a psychiatry professor, and director of the Depression Centre at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas

Not everyone has the same side effects but some Common Side Effects of Antidepressant medications are,

  • Nausea
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

What is CBD?

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabidiol or CBD is the most famous among them for having hundreds of medical benefits.

So, Cannabidiol—CBD—is a cannabis compound that has remarkable medical and recreational benefits, but does not make people feel “High”. It can actually prevent the psychoactivity of THC. Cannabidiol is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. It is a major phytocannabinoid, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. The fact is that CBD-infused cannabis strains are non-psychoactive or less psychoactive than THC-dominant strains. It’s made CBD products a good option for patients looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria. It is 100% natural and free from side effects.


Of every distinctive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, the two best known are CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol but most times, people interchange CBD for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The primary difference between THC and CBD is that CBD won’t make you high. THC is psychoactive and responsible for the mind-altering effect of cannabis. As long as your CBD products are free from THC, you can reap their potential benefits without going full Pineapple Express.

CBD And Depression

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the 100+ natural compounds found in all cannabis plants. At the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Dr. Lumir Hanus along with American researcher Dr. William Devane discovered the endocannabinoid system in the human brain which is remarkably responsive to cannabis especially cannabinoids and cannabidiols. Our endocannabinoids are the molecules that act as chemical messengers in the “endocannabinoid system,” the parts of our nervous system containing cannabinoid cell receptors which respond to cannabinoids and tell the body to do certain things.

Unlike THC, the cannabinoid responsible for causing marijuana’s “high effect,” CBD has a soothing, more indirect interaction with these cell receptors in our brain. Alongside this, CBD has the unique ability to interact directly with other cell receptors, including serotonin and dopamine receptors. Thus, In the time of this interaction, CBD stimulates our brain activity and one by-product of this process is the release of serotonin and dopamine throughout the body. Serotonin and dopamine are two hormones are effective on relieving stress and work as natural Antidepressant.

The role of CBD in depression treatment is tied closely to serotonin and dopamine. Now, these hormones are the chemicals in our brain that responsible for the impact on both our emotions as well as our motor skills. Serotonin works as our own internal mood stabilizer, and it is very important for healthy sleeping, eating, and digestive habits. Low levels of serotonin and dopamine can lead to depression, and CBD can counter this effect. CBD stimulates our receptors to act more effectively and, therefore, produce more serotonin and dopamine.

Additionally, CBD interacts with the hippocampus in our brain, which partially controls our emotions, when an individual is depressed, the hippocampus becomes smaller. CBD treatment for depression can result in neurogenesis stimulation, which means more neurons are created by the brain and protects the hippocampus from becoming smaller.

Two recent studies showed benefits of CBD with symptoms of depression. In one study, conducted in 2011 while studying the modulation of the serotonin system through endocannabinoid signaling, researchers found “ample evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.” Thus, it can be assumed that, during depression, plant cannabinoids such as CBD have the ability to regulate one’s response to stressful situations.

Additionally, Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and King’s College in London found that, at high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-anxiety effect.

A 2011 study at University of British Columbia stated that “In the last few years, there have been several advances in the determination of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the etiology of depression and the functional actions of antidepressant drugs. Specifically, a deficiency in endocannabinoid signaling is sufficient to produce a “depressive-like” phenotype at the preclinical level…and capable of inducing symptoms of depression in humans at a clinical level. Moreover, facilitation of endocannabinoid signaling is sufficient to produce all of the behavioral and biochemical effects of conventional antidepressant treatments.”

A joint study conducted at Universidad de Cantabria (Spain) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM)(Spain) in 2016 concluded that “our results demonstrate that CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects as evidenced by the reversal of the OBX-induced hyperactivity and anhedonia.”

Another 2016 study at Geha Mental Health Center, Petah Tiqva, Israel stated, “These findings extend the limited knowledge on the antidepressant effect of CBD, now shown for the first time in a genetic animal model of depression. These results suggest that CBD is beneficial for the treatment of clinical depression and other states with prominent anhedonia.”

There are many testimonials, reviews and independent studies that give concrete evidence that CBD is a new hope for people suffering from depression.

Many patients go through a frequent problem of shortage of sleep as a side effect of depression. For the relaxing and calming properties of CBD, its effect on sleep is very beneficial. CBD can increase our average sleep time by controlling the sleep-wake cycle. By taking in balanced dose CBD has no sedative side effect and keeps you alert during the day.

Is CBD Addictive?

As per a recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD isn’t addictive and it has no potential for abuse or dependence. This is fundamentally in light of the fact that CBD does not contain any addictive substances. It also prevents addiction by countering THC and some cannabinoids which are capable of being addictive.

Some Final Tips

  • Discuss the proper dose of CBD with your doctor, especially if you are taking other medications for depression. Though CBD typically has no adverse side effects, it’s best to play it safe and keep an open line of communication with your doctor.
  • Make sure that the CBD products you use come from hemp plants or not from THC dominant strains(All of our products are derived from Hemp!)
  • Start with the smallest dosages and slowly gear up if more is needed. Everyone reacts to CBD differently and there are no exact doses for all. In Treating depression by CBD, everyone’s needs are different, so you need to find yours.


CBD is natural and it has been shown to have immense health benefits in treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and inflammatory diseases. CBD can help significantly improve depressive symptoms and people’s quality of life. However, it should be noted that CBD does not cure depression 100% but it can lead to a better quality of life for the patient. We hope you found this article both informative and helpful. Depression makes life really miserable. It is a difficult thing to treat sometimes and people are often desperate just about anything to curb that feeling. But, before you go and try anything too drastic please give CBD a chance and you too could be one of the many thousands of people whose life CBD has helped to improve just like a miracle.


Antidepressant-like effects of cannabidiol in mice: possible involvement of 5-HT1A receptors.

Authored by:  Zanelati TV1, Biojone C, Moreira FA, Guimarães FS, Joca SR.


Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects

Authored by: Wen Jiang, Yun Zhang, Lan Xiao, Jamie Van Cleemput, Shao-Ping Ji, Guang Bai, and Xia Zhang.

Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature.

Authored by: Babson KA1, Sottile J2, Morabito D3.


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Chagas, M. H. N., Crippa, J. A. S., Zuardi, A. W., Hallak, J. E., Machado-de-Sousa, J. P., Hirotsu, C., … & Andersen, M. L. (2013). Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 27(3), 312-316.

Devinsky, O., Marsh, E., Friedman, D., Thiele, E., Laux, L., Sullivan, J., … & Wong, M. (2016). Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial. The Lancet Neurology, 15(3), 270-278.











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