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Study from Journal of Molecular Neurobiology Supports CBD for Depression

Jessica McKeil

A recent survey from Hello MD shows that 65% of participants have tried CBD for depression and that 90% of these were happy with the results and intended to continue. The latest study supports this trend.

Based on the latest estimates, over 16 million people in the United States alone go through a major depressive episode each and every year. Increasingly, people are relying on medication to solve their struggle with depression, with the rate of prescriptions jumping significantly between 1994 and 2014. It’s highly likely that you or someone within your inner circle has taken a prescription to manage the symptoms of depression within the recent past. It is also increasingly likely that people will choose CBD for depression.

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Antidepressants, while helpful for preventing relapse into a major depressive state, and for soothing the extremely challenging symptoms, don’t come without controversy. Their effectiveness and potential risk with long-term use are constantly making headlines Are they prescribed too often? Are they addictive? Do they do more harm than good?

Patients, family members, and medical experts have started challenging the status quote on how to treat depression. It’s in this environment that a new study out of Brazil has explored the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative. The results, supported by other preliminary research in the field, is an exciting turn of events.

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Revelations from the Study on CBD for Depression

Firstly, it’s important to point out this study, published in the Journal of Molecular Neurobiology is preliminary. The theory of CBD for depression is still in the very early stages, relying on information from lab rats and mice, not from clinical trials. Still, this is where all research starts and the results out of this small exploration indicate there is much to learn about how CBD influences mental health.

In this recent study, rats, were either given an injection of CBD or a saline solution, then subjected to something called the swimming test. This test has long been used in the study of depression. When researchers place this particular breed of lab rat into a forced swim test, they tend to ‘give up’ and float instead of actively swimming. This is why researchers use this breed to represent depression.

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The fascinating thing about this Brazilian study is that rats injected with CBD before the swim test swam for much longer than the placebo group. Instead of instantly floating, or giving up, they kept swimming indicating the CBD gave them more drive and more gumption to keep fighting. This antidepressant like effect lasted for a full seven days after the initial injection.

What does this mean for CBD and depression? The researchers of this study concluded, “that CBD induces fast and sustained antidepressant-like effect in distinct animal models relevant for depression.” Again, it’s important to realize this is only the first steps of a very long series of future studies. Nevertheless, the authors are hopeful that CBD “could result in an important advance in the treatment of depression, potentially helping patients who suffer for weeks, often with a risk of suicide, until the [conventional] treatment starts working.”

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Other Research Supporting CBD for Depression

The results coming out of Brazil support many of the other preliminary studies into the compounds of cannabis for treating depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It’s striking how cannabis compounds seem to have benefits for a wide range of mental health issues, especially considering mental health issues overlap for many patients. For example, people who suffer from one anxiety, also tend to suffer from depression as a secondary, co-morbid condition.

In an extensive literature review, covering CBD for use as an antidepressant and as an anxiolytic, surveyed 15 separate studies. It’s clear from this review, that CBD can subdue fear response, reduce anxiety, and soothe symptoms of depression, at least so far as in animal studies.

In one example, a small trial showed CBD to be just as effective at soothing anxiety as a common anti-anxiety medication – diazepam. Another study demonstrated the antidepressant-like effects of CBD was comparable to that of imipramine, a pharmaceutical. These are just a few examples, among many, of the potential of CBD to become a novel new tool for addressing mental health issues.

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Despite the Early Results, CBD is Already Widely Used to Treat Depression and Anxiety

Patients have already jumped on the CBD bandwagon and are using it to improve their mental health, sometimes without the direction of a health care provider. This is because it is widely available, although people need to be on the look-out for fraudulent products.

According to a recent survey, sponsored by HelloMD and Brightfield Group, nearly 65 percent of respondents used CBD to treat anxiety, and over 40 percent used it to treat depression. The same survey also suggested that roughly 90 percent of survey respondents were happy with the results, and would continue using CBD to treat their health concerns.

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Image credit: Ollyy

Clearly, there is already a huge demand for an alternative to the current pharmacopeia of drugs used to treat depression, anxiety and the like. Cannabidiol, even without the full support of the medical establishment, is widely used by those seeking relief. Thankfully, even if the research on CBD for depression, is still in the early stages, most experts agree it has an extremely safe safety profile.

 

 

Jessica McKeil
Jessica McKeil

Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She is lucky enough to live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada where the cannabis industry is exploding. When not writing, she spends much of her time exploring in the coastal forests.

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