Ever since marijuana was made legal for medicinal use in California in 1996, one of the main active ingredients in the plant, Cannabidiol (CBD), has shown promise for multiple ailments and diseases. Even though these tests are only in their infancy, millions of people across America are now taking CBD for anxiety and depression, the most widespread of illnesses.
Major depressive disorder affects more than 15 million adults in the US each year. Anxiety disorders almost 40 million. Around half of those suffering with depression, also have some sort of anxiety disorder. To try and put that in perspective, if you sit in a room with 10 other people in the US, the odds are that 2 of them will be suffering with one, or both, of these terrible illnesses.
That’s an awful lot of people! And sadly, that figure is rising every single year.
Even more worrying is, during the last thirty years, anxiety and depression rates have increased drastically. However, the treatment methods for it have stayed exactly the same. Pills are either thrown at the problem, and if they don’t work, more pills. If those pills have side effects, then “hey, have some more pills to combat the side effects!”
Albert Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. Therefore, we cannot expect rates of anxiety and depression in the world to drop until we alter the treatment options for it.
And here, is where CBD could provide a solution.
Why Take CBD for Anxiety and Depression?
CBD is a non-psychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant. What that means is, there is no “high” as a side-effect. The “high” people get from cannabis is from the ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – of which CBD does not contain. They are completely separate and opposite to each other.
CBD is an anxiolytic (also called “anti-anxiety”) agent. Unlike anti-depressants, which can take days or weeks to work, CBD has an immediate ‘calming’ effect within one hour of ingestion. People who take CBD in either oil or pill form can often see an almost immediate effect.
The success rate of anti-depressant medication is somewhat difficult to decipher. For those with depression, around 1/3rd of patients see a benefit. A further 1/3rd of patients on AD’s see “some” improvement, and the remaining 1/3rd see no benefit at all.
The difficulty comes in what is classed as a “success” and what complies to being of “some improvement”.
For instance, if a patient takes a course of AD meds, and after a few months is no longer anxious or depressed, that should be classed as a “success”, right? Well, sure, that sounds fair. But what if the same patient can’t sleep, has terrible constipation and suffers extreme suicidal tendencies as a result? In the eyes of the pharmaceutical companies, it’s still a success – it cured the original problem.
As for “some improvement”, that could mean as little benefit as “a bit better than I was yesterday, I enjoyed my coffee this morning”. That could be enough to tick the “some improvement box.
What are the side effects of CBD compared to Antidepressants?
All of the side-effects just mentioned are quite common in AD medication, in fact there are many. Common side effects of AD medication include, but are not limited to:cbd anxiety depression
- weight gain
- erectile dysfunction
- blurred vision
- increased suicidal thoughts
The last 3 are in bold print, just to highlight their seriousness. Most patients who take AD medication will suffer from one or multiple side effects.
Cannabidiol does not have as many severe side effects as AD meds. There have been rare cases in tests of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, pain, anxiety, bipolar disorder and even cancer – however it is yet to be proven whether these were in fact connected.
At the same time, there are also very few studies that show if CBD has any long-term negative effects, although they are assumed to be minimal at worst.
Is CBD Safe, and Legal?
The general consensus in the medical field is, it is safe to take CBD for anxiety and depression. It is also thought to be safe for many other ailments as listed on this page, in both the short and long term.
It is important to note here, that both CBD and antidepressants act upon the same neurological pathways in the brain. Therefore, if you are taking antidepressants, or any medication for that matter, consult your physician before taking CBD for anxiety and depression or any other illness.
At the time of writing, CBD is available and legal to buy in all 50 states in the U.S.A.