CBD-based products have grown in popularity. While the FDA has only approved one CBD medication to treat epilepsy, many individuals claim it helps with sleep, pain, stress, and even mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. CBD can help calm people down and reduce fear and tension.
If you’re thinking about using CBD for anxiety and depression, learn more about what it is and potential risks.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana and hemp. CBD is often compared to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in marijuana that produces psychological effects. The two compounds are similar, but CBD does not cause the same feelings of euphoria.
In 2017, the World Health Organization determined that CBD was fairly safe. Most of the adverse effects that occur when using CBD was caused by interactions between medications, not necessarily CBD itself.
CBD can be taken orally, through capsules, tinctures, or oils. You can also find CBD-infused edibles as a way of ingesting the compound. Vaping is another way to use CBD, but there may be health risks associated with vaping. Topical applications of CBD are best for pain and skin problems.
Is it Effective for Treating or Improving Mental Health?
There is some research that shows CBD has a positive effect on mental health. CBD has been shown to interact with the serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin impacts a person’s emotional state, and low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression. Small studies show that CBD can act as an antidepressant, but many of these studies require more research in humans. Currently, there is not enough evidence to support that it can treat depression.
There are also studies that indicate CBD is effective at reducing anxiety. In one case study, a child with PTSD and sleep disorder used CBD to reduce her symptoms. Researchers found that CBD improved the child’s sleep and reduced anxiety. It may also be helpful in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder.
While there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support that CBD is more effective than medications or other treatment options, it may help reduce symptoms of anxiety, and perhaps depression. It’s likely that people with severe anxiety and depression will have to supplement CBD with other, evidence-based treatment options.
What are the Risks?
One of the biggest issues with CBD is that there isn’t much research to show the long-term effects on mental health. So far, no long-term risks have been identified, but that’s not to say there aren’t any. Most people don’t experience side effects when taking CBD, but some people do have a sensitivity to it. You could have diarrhea or fatigue after taking CBD.
Another risk with CBD is that some of the products on the market don’t contain the levels of CBD that they purport. The FDA cannot approve CBD products for treatment or prevention of any disease. Many marketers push the boundaries of what they can claim that CBD products do. You do need to vet any product you purchase and watch for unsubstantiated claims. The CBD in cosmetic products, such as shampoo or bath salts, has not shown to be as effective as CBD that is ingested in the body.
Again, it’s important to keep in mind that while CBD is popular, there is still a lot of research to be done to understand how it works. Consumers should keep this in mind when using CBD.
CBD is not a replacement for anti-psychotics or anti-depressants. You should not stop taking prescription medication without talking to your healthcare provider first. In fact, even though CBD is becoming more popular as a health remedy, talk to your healthcare provider before you try CBD. It could interact with medications that you are currently taking.
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