Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

CBD has a wide array of positive effects when used to support mental health. Research has demonstrated its impact on major conditions like Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and Schizophrenia over the last ten years. Read on to learn more about the usage and science behind CBD’s positive therapeutic effect for a variety of mental health disorders.

Table of contents

Best Practices: CBD Products for Mental Health

As you design a CBD routine to help manage any condition, you should first understand that CBD has not yet been proven effective as a treatment for any of these mental health conditions. Still, anecdotal evidence encourages many people to try CBD for themselves. Like with many medicines and supplements used to treat mental health, you want to establish a baseline concentration in your system first by taking CBD regularly. Then, CBD can also be used to manage acute flare-ups or bad days, giving you maximum relief all day long.

There are many different CBD products available, but for managing mental health, we recommend using full spectrum CBD oil daily, preferably in the form of Tinctures or Gel Capsules.

These two products are nearly identical, except for form factor and dosing, or the difference between a sublingual tincture and oral capsule. When looking for high-quality tinctures and capsules, remember that CBD must be combined with a fatty carrier oil, like MCT oil or hemp seed oil, in order to be properly absorbed by the body.

Although this alone is often enough to manage the general, daily symptoms, many people find that they still need to use cannabidiol for managing symptom flare-ups or for particularly hard days.

With depression, anxiety, and PTSD, acute flare ups are common where an individual experiences more intense or exaggerated aspects of their condition due to situational or individual factors. We recommend vaporizing CBD isolate to combat these acute flare-ups. We often consider vaping the best consumption method for managing sudden flares. When vaping CBD isolate, a version of CBD that is 99% pure, you can feel relief almost instantly across your entire body.

You can also take more of the capsule or tincture you chose in order to help manage these acute flare-ups, but they will take significantly longer to take effect.

Often, the best way to manage moderate to severe conditions, recurring conditions, or discomfort caused by a number of chronic conditions is to combine two or more different therapeutic methods to manage daily symptoms and flares. If using CBD for your mental health works for you, you may consider a combination of different CBD products to hit your mood disorders from all angles.

Best Practices: CBD Dosage for Mental Health

Choosing the correct dosage for you is a process that involves your unique characteristics, like what condition you wish to treat, the severity of the condition, your tolerance to cannabinoid-based supplements, body weight, and more. If you are new to cannabidiol, you may need to start with a lower dose and work your way up in order to monitor the effects and settle on an effective dose.

There are many promising products on the market, but we recommend ingesting full spectrum CBD oil daily in the form of tinctures or gel capsules.

General Dosage Recommendation

Start with 5-10mg per day of CBD for mental health. If relief is not felt at this dosage, we suggest increasing by 5-10mg until the desired effects are achieved. Tinctures can be measured drop for drop, which makes them convenient for marginally increasing your dose until you find out what works for you.

PTSD and Schizophrenia Dosage

We suggest those experiencing PTSD or Schizophrenia start with 25mg per day of CBD. If this dose does not provide complete relief, we recommend that you increase by 5-10mg daily until the desired effects are achieved.

Managing Acute Flare Ups with Anxiety, Depression, or PTSD

If you prefer, you can take more gel capsules or tincture to combat acute flare-ups, but be aware that they take significantly longer to kick in than vaporized CBD for anxiety—roughly 1.5 hours vs 10 minutes.

Many people find that the most effective CBD regimen for anxiety involves a combination of high-quality CBD products, and your CBD routine should be unique to you.

Other Consumption Methods

Gel capsules come in pre-measured doses, with an average dose around 10 mg each. Luckily, you can’t overdose on CBD, so you can start with a 10mg capsule, or wherever you feel comfortable.

Then, monitor the effects and increase your dose as needed to eliminate symptoms. Don’t forget that tinctures and gel capsules take longer to metabolize, so they often provide extended effects. Some people report that ingestibles like these provide relief all day long. The one thing to consider is that ingestible CBD products take a while to set in– it can take up to 90 minutes for you to experience the full effects, so be patient before you increase your dose.

Dosing with a vaporizer is much different, as the amount of CBD you intake has to do with the quality of the vape pen you use, the temperature you vape at, the size of each hit, and more. Fortunately, CBD vaporizers provide quick relief in about ten minutes. You can easily take one hit at a time and wait ten minutes after ingestion to decide if you need to dose again. Eventually, this method will help you get an idea of how many vaporizer hits you need to experience full relief.

CBD for Depression

Depression is a common mental illness that millions of people worldwide suffer from each year. Research shows that as many as half of us will experience a bout of depression at some point in life, with some of us experiencing prolonged depressions that can become life-threatening.

Our treatment options for depression have long been limited and ineffective, but change may be on the horizon. Preliminary evidence suggests that we might find a natural remedy in using CBD for depression, but more evidence is needed in order to substantiate these claims. We’ll discuss the available science behind CBD for depression including how to best use it.

How Does Cannabis Help With Depression?

Those who suffer from depression but don’t want to resort to pharmaceutical drugs often turn to cannabinoid-based therapy options. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages worldwide. Untreated depression can cause many adverse health outcomes and even premature death, so addressing depression is important.

The most common medical treatments for depression in the U.S. are pharmaceuticals that attempt to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. These may include drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and their cousins, the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (or SNRIs), antipsychotics (and/or atypical antipsychotics), dopamine agonists, and many of the same medications used to treat anxiety like benzodiazepines.

The trouble with these medications is that they often cause dependency issues. Plus, the list of side effects far outweighs the benefits – why is suicide an accepted side-effect of an antidepressant medication? We don’t know the answer to that, but we do know that many people are moving away from these traditional pharmaceuticals and towards more natural treatments, in many cases CBD. The existing evidence, while preliminary, supports the theory of CBD for depression and other mood disorders.

To demonstrate the therapeutic potential of CBD for depression, we’ll analyze a series of studies conducted over the last 10 years. We will outline and synthesize the results of these studies below, emphasizing important findings. We’ll also provide some guidance about dosage strategy, along with a note about potential drug interactions.

Studies That Support the Potential of CBD for Depression

The discovery of the CBD molecule dates back nearly a hundred years, but research into the therapeutic value of cannabis has been predominantly focused on THC until recently. Now, experts are beginning to shed light on the therapeutic value of CBD, and research regarding the use of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid is rapidly expanding.

With that, information regarding the use of cannabidiol for mental health conditions, like depression, is in high demand. Researchers became interested in the effects of CBD for depression after finding evidence of the potential anxiolytic effects of the supplement. Although research is limited at this time, there is evidence that CBD may have potential therapeutic values that make it a suitable option for regulating mood.

Much of the research regarding cannabinoids for depression and related illnesses involves mice, but there is also evidence involving human experience with cannabidiol. Research specifically dives into the effects of cannabidiol on neural processes and brain functions related to depression, as well as the many different ways the endocannabinoid system regulates these functions.

Researchers found that a deficiency in endocannabinoid signaling results in depressive behaviors. For this reason, many experts believe that CBD may help balance these deficiencies and aid the endocannabinoid system in its regulatory processes to support overall health and wellbeing.

Research efforts regarding CBD for depression are expected to continue to expand rapidly in the coming years, and many experts hope to work toward solid evidence that will help physicians more accurately recommend CBD in place of common alternatives. Until then, CBD for depression is not a proven claim. For now, the research that links cannabidiol to anti-depressant effects includes the following:

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

A 2010 study concluded that, “CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of Imipramine. These effects of CBD were probably mediated by activation of 5-HT(1A) receptors.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20002102

Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa.

A 2014 study suggested, “that CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.” For reference, the 5-HT1A receptor is a subtype of the serotonin receptors that are often targeted with pharmaceutical drugs like SSRIs.

Learn More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339

Putative role of endocannabinoid signaling in the etiology of depression and actions of antidepressants.

A 2011 stated, “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.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21111017

Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT1A receptors.

A 2016 study reported, “our results demonstrate that CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects as evidenced by the reversal of the OBX-induced hyperactivity and anhedonia.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26711860

10 Effective Tips to Beat Seasonal Depression

Vitamin deficiencies are practically an epidemic, but they tend to get even more severe in the wintertime.  Vitamin D is a common deficiency that most people will experience during colder, winter months . It’s both a vitamin and a hormone, and it’s usually made by chemical reactions that occur when skin hits the sun.

Not much sun where you live? Then you may want to speak to your doctor about checking your vitamin D levels. Supplementing with liquid vitamin D or even cod liver oil could be a good workaround to add to your daily routine.

 

We’ve become quite the regulars of building a morning vitamin routine during the colder months. Vitamin D, fish oil, CBD gummies and magnesium.

Exercise

Exercise is a natural mood booster, which makes it especially important this time of the year. “For some people it works as well as antidepressants,” Dr. Michael Miller tells Harvard Medical School’s blog. He goes on to explain that exercise “supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression.” In other words, working out is good for the body and the brain.

On an equally interesting note, exercise may help our bodies produce more naturally-occurring endocannabinoids. These molecules have been correlated with improved mood, better cognitive function, and yes, even “runner’s high.” And why not try one of our favorite combos? Exercising while high. 

Take your routine one step further and treat yourself to a CBD topical to ease sore muscles. It’s become part of our daily routine and we won’t ever be able to look back.

Eat Healthy Fats

Eating enough healthy fats could also go a long way towards fighting the wintertime blues. The omega-3 fats found in fish, other seafood, and some nuts are extra important because our bodies don’t naturally produce them.

When omega-3 intake is high enough, though (and coupled with low omega-6 intake), great things happen! These fat sources actually form the building blocks for CBD-like endocannabinoids! While eating such foods might not be the most direct route to boosting your health, it may still lead to feelings of well-being and hope.

Feeling like trying something different and healthy? Why not try making your own edibles at home to cheer you and your belly up.

Cold Exposure

Cold exposure — seriously. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

And selective cold exposure can actually make your body more resistant to cold. It activates heat-producing “brown fat” and may even help your body produce more feel-good hormones like norepinephrine.

To leverage the cold to your advantage, you can try everything from cold showers to ice baths. Not feeling so brave? Even setting the thermostat down a few degrees could have an impact on your body’s brown fat activity.

Give CBD A Try

Speaking of brown fat and its warming ways, CBD may help activate the brown fat too! That’s according to a 2016 study from Daegu University in Korea, at least. Researchers were inspired to theorize that this could make CBD great for weight loss. 

Interesting, right? And this is in addition to all of the other mood-boosting qualities CBD oil offers of course.

Smoke Hemp

Want to feel better — fast? If CBD oil just isn’t cutting it, then consider a smokable hemp product. Our Key to Cannabis community loves hemp flower for the immediate calm it provides. Plus the act of smoking in and of itself can be super relaxing! If you’re in need of a healthier winter ‘crutch’ hemp flower might just be it.

Don’t feel like stepping outside in the cold? Gift yourself a vaporizer to minimize the smell indoors.

Smoke Cannabis

Far from being a gateway drug, cannabis could help you keep other substances (think alcohol or sugar) at bay. It’s a perfect way to slow down, ponder things, and find joy even in life’s smaller moments.

As famed blues singer Muddy Waters once said about the herb: “well you know it’s good for your head, and it relax your body don’t you know.” If that isn’t proof of cannabis’s utility, we don’t know what is.

Get Plenty of Light

Wintertime in many areas is marked by a sometimes-dismal lack of sun — even those who live down South experience shorter days and longer nights. While we’ve already mentioned how this relates to vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” isn’t the only thing to miss out.

To prevent your mood from also suffering, consider buying a light therapy lamp. The extra adventurous can even try taking an infrared sauna or two. Many people report that both therapies reduced their seasonal depression.

Consider Taking A Vacation

If you live up North, why not take a midwinter trip to warmer lands? You’ll return refreshed, revived, and significantly more vitamin-D replete.

Impractical, perhaps, but not ineffective. Consider it an investment in your health!

Laugh A Little…Or A Lot!

It’s true: laughter is the best medicine. Second to cannabis of course.

What if you don’t feel like laughing when faced with news of yet another winter storm, though? Good question. Neuroscience is discovering that emotion flows both ways — so while we laugh when we feel good, we can also feel good by laughing. Try it out for yourself!

CBD For Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting approximately 40 million adults – or 18.1% of the population. The most common medical treatments for anxiety in the U.S. are the use of pharmaceutical drugs like benzodiazepines, buspirone, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. Many people are dissatisfied with pharmaceuticals (which often have severe side effects) and choose to seek alternatives like medical cannabis and hemp.

It’s well known that THC induces anxiety in some people, but preliminary studies suggest CBD could have different effects. The non-psychoactive compound helps to reduce the stress response, soothing both a racing mind and an exhausted body. If you find success using CBD for anxiety, you may also find that it helps to alleviate the gastrointestinal upset, muscle tension, clenching, fatigue, and chronic pain often associated with anxiety disorders.

In addition to self-care and therapy, many people incorporate cannabinoid-based supplements into their treatment regimen for natural anxiety relief. The best part? When using CBD, you’re reaping the benefits of an all natural supplement that is non-toxic, non-addictive, and has very few (if any) side effects.

Seven Major Types of Anxiety:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)
  • Phobias (Irrational Fears)
  • Agoraphobia

In some aspects, cannabis has actually been linked to inducing feelings of anxiety and paranoia in some people. However, these effects are generally linked to THC, and CBD may provide a very different range of benefits. Preliminary studies have linked CBD to anxiolytic effects, and evidence shows that the body’s Endocannabinoid System directly modulates anxiety-related processes. More research is needed to understand the full extent of CBD’s anxiolytic potential, and research efforts are expected to rise as interest surrounding CBD for anxiety steadily increases.

In order to understand how to apply CBD for anxiety, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of anxiety. We will address the results below.

Studies that Support the Use of CBD to Ease Anxiety

Although CBD was originally identified in the mid 1940s, researchers were more interested in THC until recently. In the last decade, however, experts have uncovered a range of benefits linked to CBD for anxiety and other conditions, inciting even more curiosity of the potential medicinal value of the cannabis plant. Now, research is rapidly expanding and information regarding the endocannabinoid delivery system’s involvement in brain processes led them to question the potential anxiolytic effects of the cannabinoid.

In fact, research exists that suggests cannabidiol could be a suitable option for managing anxiety in a range of circumstances or related to a variety of mental health conditions, though further evidence is needed to solidify this claim. Some research digs into the value of cannabidiol as an anxiolytic medication when used on its own, as well as when used in combination with THC and other cannabinoids.

Further research investigates specifics, like the effects of CBD for PTSD-related anxiety, including one pediatric case. Research also evaluates the effects of cannabidiol on the spectrum of anxiety-related disorders and highlights the prominent value in using the cannabinoid for social anxiety and related disorders.

Even more, studies suggest that cannabidiol may have some therapeutic value that applies to a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, like improving sleep and focus or managing stress. However, there are several studies that aim their focus directly at cannabidiol when used as an anti-anxiety medication, like the following:

Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug.

A 2012 study concluded, “Studies using animal models of anxiety and involving healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. Moreover, CBD was shown to reduce anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorder.”

Learn More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22729452

Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa.

A 2014 study suggested, “that CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.” For reference, the 5-HT1A receptor is a subtype of the serotonin receptors that are often targeted with pharmaceutical drugs like SSRIs.

Learn More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339

Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients.

A 2011 double-blind study evaluated the use of CBD is the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) in a format where the participants partook in a public speaking simulation. The study showed, “Pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. The placebo group presented higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, discomfort, and alert levels when compared with the control group…”

Learn More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21307846

Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report.

A 2011 study looked to evaluate the effect of CBD on pathological anxiety and its underlying brain mechanisms, it concluded, “Relative to placebo, CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety, reduced ECD uptake in the left parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampus, and inferior temporal gyrus, and increased ECD uptake in the right posterior cingulate gyrus. These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”

Learn More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20829306

Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report.

A 2016 study evaluated the effects of CBD on a 10 year old girl with pediatric anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. “Pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, but results were not long-lasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of CBD oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep. CBD oil, an increasingly popular treatment of anxiety and sleep issues, has been documented as being an effective alternative to pharmaceutical medications. This case study provides clinical data that support the use of CBD oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with posttraumatic stress disorder.”

Learn More: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27768570

As outlined above, the connection between CBD and anxiety reduction is strong and well documented. Several studies have validated CBD’s efficacy as an anxiolytic drug.

CBD for PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very common disorder with more than 3 million US cases per year. The symptoms of PTSD are often uncomfortable, including nightmares, avoidance of certain activities, heightened reactions, depression, and anxiety.

The most common treatment for PTSD in the United States is a pharmaceutical medication that often carries with it a long list of serious side effects. Those suffering from PTSD often feel relegated to a life of pharmaceutical drugs – that is, until they stumble upon the wonderful healing effects of CBD.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an all-natural, plant-based supplement derived from hemp, any many anecdotal reports show positive results when using CBD for PTSD. Although PTSD itself is not curable – because the event can’t be un-lived – it’s symptoms no longer have to run your life. Interestingly enough, PTSD is one of the approved conditions for medical marijuana in many states.

Preliminary evidence suggests that CBD may be an effective option for treating PTSD, as well as some of the symptoms related to the disorder, like sleep troubles and anxiety. However, the evidence is limited and further scientific advancement is necessary before CBD can be officially established as a treatment option for the disorder.

In order to understand how CBD helps may provide relief from PTSD symptoms, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of PTSD. We will address the results below.

Studies That Support the Use of CBD in PTSD?

Evidence of the CBD molecule emerged in the 1940s, but researchers have been mostly interested in studying THC until much more recently. Now, however, studies have worked to uncover many of the benefits of CBD, which could include anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects, which may make it useful for combating certain symptoms related to PTSD.

Further, research has begun to uncover the mechanism by which CBD interacts in the body, a system of neuroreceptors called the endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown that this system is partially responsible for regulating and managing a variety of brain functions, including many that link directly to post-traumatic stress disorder.

While studying the endocannabinoid system, researchers also found a link between endocannabinoid deficiency and patients with PTSD. For this reason, many experts believe that CBD may help to balance an “upset” in the endocannabinoid systems of people with the disorder.

Even more, research has looked at the impact of CBD when utilized alongside popular PTSD therapy options and found it to be beneficial to the process of deleting fear memories. Plus, studies show that CBD may have the ability to help manage other side effects related to the anxiety condition, like nightmares. Studies concerning the health effects of CBD are rapidly advancing, and researchers have shown quite a bit of interest in the area of anxiety disorders. Of course, much more evidence is needed on CBD for PTSD before it can be officially accepted as a treatment method. Research efforts regarding the use and benefits of CBD for PTSD are expected to continue to grow as well, but for now, the following studies secure a link between the plant-based supplement and the condition:

Cannabidiol blocks long-lasting behavioral consequences of predator threat stress: possible involvement of 5HT1A receptors.

A 2012 study investigated the anti-anxiety actions of CBD administration in a model of PTSD that was simulated by being exposed to a predator. The study found that “Repeated CBD administration prevents the long-lasting anxiogenic effects observed after predator exposure probably by facilitating 5HT1A receptors neurotransmission. Our results suggest that CBD has beneficial potential for PTSD treatment and that 5HT1A receptors could be a therapeutic target in this disorder.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22979992

Mitigation of post-traumatic stress symptoms by Cannabis resin: a review of the clinical and neurobiological evidence.

A 2012 medical review presents a “case report of a 19-year-old male patient with a spectrum of severe PTSD symptoms, such as intense flashbacks, panic attacks, and self-mutilation, who discovered that some of his major symptoms were dramatically reduced by smoking cannabis resin…This review shows that recent studies provided supporting evidence that PTSD patients may be able to cope with their symptoms by using cannabis products. Cannabis may dampen the strength or emotional impact of traumatic memories through synergistic mechanisms that might make it easier for people with PTSD to rest or sleep and to feel less anxious and less involved with flashback memories. The presence of endocannabinoid signalling systems within stress-sensitive nuclei of the hypothalamus, as well as upstream limbic structures (amygdala), point to the significance of this system for the regulation of neuroendocrine and behavioural responses to stress. Evidence is increasingly accumulating that cannabinoids might play a role in fear extinction and antidepressive effects.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22736575

Bidirectional Effects of Cannabidiol on Contextual Fear Memory Extinction

A 2016 study looked at the ability of cannabidiol to aid contextual fear memory extinction and showed “under conditions of strong fear conditioning, CBD reduced contextual fear memory expression both acutely during the extinction session as well as later at a fear retention test.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5159417/

Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report

A 2016 study looked at the effectiveness of Cannabidiol oil in the treatment of pediatric anxiety and insomnia as a result of PTSD. “The main finding from this case study is that CBD oil can be an effective compound to reduce anxiety and insomnia secondary to PTSD. This case study provides clinical data that support the use of cannabidiol oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101100/

CBD and Schizophrenia: CBD as an Anti-Psychotic

Scientific research has shown us a lot of potential medical uses for cannabidiol, or CBD. From anxiety and depression to skin rashes and aching joints, this chemical compound that derives from the cannabis plant has been determined to play a potential role in several applications. One possible use for CBD that has been studied for years is its potential to treat psychosis or schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that severely affects brain functioning in less than one percent of the United States population. Symptoms of the disorder typically first appear between the ages of 16 and 30, though children can be diagnosed as well.

Symptoms are categorized in three ways: positive, negative, and cognitive.

“Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviors, such as hallucinations, dysfunctional thinking, and movement disorders.

“Negative” symptoms have more to do with emotions and behaviors, like reduced feelings of pleasure or difficulty beginning and completing tasks.

“Cognitive” symptoms vary in subtlety, but include trouble focusing and problems with applying new knowledge, or “working memory.”

The causes of schizophrenia are still relatively unknown, although researchers believe it is due to a combination of brain chemistry, genetic makeup, and the environment. Treatments focus on the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself. Even if symptoms appear to have subsided, schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment, consisting of medications (antipsychotics), psychosocial therapy, and, in severe cases, hospitalization.

Antipsychotic medications, however, typically only treat the positive symptoms – patients are still left with negative and cognitive symptoms, often resulting in anxiety, depression, and impaired memory and problem-solving skills.

People with schizophrenia have issues with naturally occurring brain chemicals, like neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate – the brain disease affects the central nervous system and causes abnormal communication patterns between brain cells.

CBD, which is a non-intoxicating chemical compound (or “cannabinoid”) of cannabis, is now being considered as a treatment for schizophrenia after years of research on its antipsychotic effects. Some research shows that ingesting high concentrations of CBD in cannabis may lead to fewer psychotic episodes. Evidence also suggests that it may help to treat the negative and cognitive symptoms that typical antipsychotic pharmaceutical drugs cannot treat – and with fewer side effects than traditional medications.

When taken along with antipsychotic medication, CBD is believed to limit the amount of dopamine (known as the “feel-good hormone”) that is blocked as a result of the medication. It could also help to ease hallucinations and delusions – the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. While the research regarding CBD for schizophrenia is still in its infancy, many researchers are hopeful in eventually establishing CBD as an official treatment pathway.

Studies that Support the Use of CBD for Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Research regarding CBD is just beginning, as legal restrictions and a predominant interest in the effects of THC have overshadowed cannabidiol for some time. Now, however, experts are quickly realizing the massive health potential of the cannabinoid, which is reflected in several studies regarding CBD’s effect on the brain and psychological disorders.

Scientists decided to investigate CBD as a treatment for schizophrenia due to the close link between the body’s endocannabinoid system and our overall mental health. The endocannabinoid system works as a communication hub between the brain and the body. It impacts how we move and react – and it’s affected by phytocannabinoids, or the compounds found in cannabis (such as THC and CBD).

Because of the link between the endocannabinoid system and brain function, researchers have led studies that have confirmed CBD as a potential alternative treatment for schizophrenia. Further research is expected and is necessary before cannabidiol can officially be recognized as a treatment for mental health disorders, but for now the following studies help us understand the link between CBD and schizophrenia:

Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug.

A 2006 study reviewed trials that show the antipsychotic effects of CBD. Using CBD in animal models showed that CBD produces effects similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs. “In addition, open case reports of schizophrenic patients treated with CBD and a preliminary report of a controlled clinical trial comparing CBD with an atypical antipsychotic drug have confirmed that this cannabinoid can be a safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenia.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16612464

Neuronal and molecular effects of cannabidiol on the mesolimbic dopamine system: Implications for novel schizophrenia treatments.

A 2017 study summarized pre-clinical and clinical evidence that shows how CBD interacts with the serotonin receptor system. “Together with clinical evidence showing that CBD may normalize affective and cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia, CBD may represent a promising treatment for schizophrenia, acting through novel molecular and neuronal mesolimbic substrates.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28185872

Antipsychotic-like effects of cannabidiol and rimonabant: systematic review of animal and human studies.

A 2012 study sought to identify a greater link between CBD and anti-psychotic effects and concluded “The results predominantly confirm the hypothesis of an antipsychotic activity of both cannabinoids. In comparison, cannabidiol appears to be superior to rimonabant with a pharmacological profile similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22716153

Improved Social Interaction, Recognition and Working Memory with Cannabidiol Treatment in a Prenatal Infection (poly I:C) Rat Model.

A 2017 study found that CBD has a direct impact on social interaction that may make it useful for patients with schizophrenia. The article concludes that  “chronic CBD administration can attenuate the social interaction and cognitive deficits induced by prenatal poly I:C infection. These novel findings present interesting implications for potential use of CBD in treating the cognitive deficits and social withdrawal of schizophrenia.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28230072

A Note About CBD and Drug Interactions for Mental Health

CBD has a pretty solid safety profile, and is even supported by the World Health Organization, but it’s important to remember that it may have interactions with other medications you take daily. Just like you can find medicine labels that warn of taking your pills with grapefruit juice, CBD works in a similar way to disrupt some pharmaceuticals. It does so because CBD is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme group, the same groupe of liver enzymes needed to metabolize the majority of prescription medications.

Many of the prescription medications taken for mental health disorders utilize cytochrome P450 pathways for absorption and may interact with CBD. The interaction is generally not dangerous, but simply causes the liver enzyme levels to be lower after CBD administration, which can inhibit the absorption of other medications. If the medication is meant to treat life-threatening symptoms, then this interaction could pose some risk.

However, this effect that CBD has on cytochrome P450 enzymes is only temporary, much like the grapefruit juice. Often, spacing out your doses is enough to avoid any interaction between CBD and your regular medications, but you should always talk to your doctor about CBD before you get started, especially if you already take anticonvulsants or other prescriptions every day.

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