For years, medical marijuana has been prescribed by doctors to help treat conditions such as epilepsy, side effects from cancer treatments and chronic pain. Now, more and more research is being conducted into the power of cannabidiol (CBD), a component found in the cannabis plant that lacks the psychoactive component (THC) of marijuana that makes you feel ‘high’.
These studies are being focused on the use of CBD to treat a variety of mental illnesses and how exactly it affects our bodies. While more research is needed, early results are promising and demonstrate the safety and efficiency of CBD to help relieve the symptoms of many mental health disorders.
Previously, CBD products were only available over-the-counter in Australia, although earlier this year they were approved for sale in pharmacies with no prescription required. While it will be sometime before any products are approved for sale and available on our shelves, you can buy approved CBD products online and have them delivered right to your doorstep.
CBD is most popularly consumed using CBD oil, which can be applied directly onto the tongue or put into drinks, food or even smoked. In this article, we’ll explore some of the mental health conditions that CBD is believed to help better and what these early results demonstrate.
There have been a number of studies conducted on how CBD can be used to treat anxiety, many with promising results. A 2015 study showed that CBD interacts with the receptors in our brain that control fear and anxiety-induced behaviours, suggesting that it has the potential to be highly effective in treating various types of anxiety disorders, such as:
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Another study performed in 2020 on almost 400 participants in New Zealand resulted in the individuals who were suffering from anxiety reporting a reduction in their symptoms and an increased ability to go about their daily life. These results suggest that CBD has the potential to be greatly beneficial to those suffering from anxiety and help improve their quality of life for the better.
Research is also being conducted into how CBD can be used to help treat depression. Research shows that CBD has a positive reaction with serotonin receptors in our brain, which is the hormone responsible for stabilizing our mood, our feelings of well-being and our overall happiness.
Testing done on animals has also shown promising results, showing that CBD seems to act as an antidepressant in animal modes of depression. While more research is needed on depression in humans, these results show a promising future for the use of CBD to treat depression.
CBD products are also widely used by people suffering from insomnia or sleep deprivation. Research has shown that a CBD dosage of 160 milligrams helps people to sleep longer and more peacefully. This is hypothesised to be because CBD can decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for making us feel stressed.
People who suffer from insomnia have high levels of cortisol during the night, which makes it so difficult for them to get and stay asleep. Another study performed over three months saw over 60% of participants reporting a better night’s sleep after being given between 25 and 275 mg of CBD. But more studies are needed to verify whether these effects can be sustained over a long period of time, or whether our bodies would build up a tolerance over time.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
As we touched on earlier, studies have demonstrated that CBD can be used to treat a variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One study’s findings show that CBD can reduce activity in the amygdala – the part of the brain that’s responsible for responding to fear and potential threats. Another study suggests that CBD can help to reduce traumatic and upsetting memories.
Although more studies are needed to be done on the long-term success of CBD in treating PTSD and on a larger scale of participants, these results open up the door for further progress to be made in the future of treating and relieving symptoms of PTSD in both children and adults.
There’s a lot that is still unknown about the power of CBD and how it can be used to treat mental illnesses. But what these results indicate is that it provides people with a low-risk, natural and easily accessible form of treatment that has the potential to bring incredible results. Keep your eye out for further studies and start experimenting with low doses of CBD products today.