CBD for Mood Disorders

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Mood disorders can be challenging to diagnose and treat. Of course, some degree of mood swings will be experienced by most people, which causes difficulty in identifying the pathological state. Unlike objective symptoms like body temperature, subjective symptoms like fear, worry, excitement, tiredness, are challenging to measure accurately.

It is also vital to understand that many people seek natural remedies for mood regulation, despite not living with a severe psychological mood disorder. Thus, some people may choose to use CBD merely to stabilise their mood due to its relaxing effect, and not necessarily to manage severe anxiety or depression. CBD is simply used as a natural and safe solution to day to day mood swings, and as it is readily available without any prescription, such a use can be accepted as rational.

Understanding mood disorders

Treating severe mood disorders may not be possible without the help of a qualified professional. However, CBD may be useful for milder cases, as a preventive measure, for calming nerves, and for preventing some symptoms of depression. 

Severe swings in mood may occur in two directions that is overexcitement or its opposite, that is, depression. Mania is an example of hyper-excitatory state, whereas major depression is the opposite extreme condition. In some people, two different extreme states of mood may occur, and they may feel depressed after long periods of excitement- this condition is known as bipolar disorder.

Researchers have particularly given considerable attention to the study of depression, which may occur due to numerous reasons. For some, it may be a continuous state of mind, while others may feel depressed during certain times or due to specific life events.

Some common types of mood disorders are:

  • Major depression: a condition of extreme sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, and state of mood lasts for at least two weeks. Some people may have suicidal thoughts.
  • Dysthymia: is a low-grade long-lasting depression, irritable mood, lasting for years. With this condition, natural remedies may be particularly helpful.
  • Bipolar disorder: a condition when a person has a period of depression followed by mania.
  • Mood disorders related to other disease conditions
  • Substance-induced mood disorders

Signs and symptoms of mood disorders:

  • Feeling of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness
  • Unexplained fear and worry
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling worthless 
  • Excessive feeling of guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Loss of interest in sex, and daily activities that person used to enjoy earlier
  • Relationship issues
  • Sleeping issues
  • Feeling tired or low in energy most of the time
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Frequent non-specific complains like tiredness, stomach ache, headache, body aches, and so on that do not appear to get better with treatment

Using CBD for mood stabilization

CBD and other natural remedies may play a positive role in mood stabilisation, particularly with regard to  milder disorders. CBD may have a role as an adjuvant, whereby it is used in combination with other medications. Moreover, people may use CBD to improve mood even when not living with any specific mood disorders, or they may use it during the particular times of stress.

It is still too early to say that to what extent can CBD help. Numerous small studies in humans indicate that CBD may benefit in various psychiatric conditions. Thus, there is a reason to believe that it may have a role as a mood-regulating substance. 

Researchers are not still very clear about its mechanism of action, but it is likely to help in various ways. Newer studies show that endocannabinoid system dysfunction plays a role in mood disorders. Thus, CBD may help by influencing the system due to its effect on CB1 receptors, that are found in large numbers in the brain. 

Researchers think that role of CBD in helping with mental health disorders is not only due to its impact on endocannabinoid receptors, but because CBD can also modulate the working of other neurotransmitters. Drugs affecting serotonin levels in the brain are frequently used to treat psychiatric problems, and experimental studies show that CBD may influence specific serotoninergic receptors.

A systemic review published in 2019 says that CBD seems to be a promising way of managing specific mental health issues. It appears to have antidepressant, antipsychotic, anti-craving, and pro-cognitive properties. However, there is still a need for more extensive trials to establish the efficacy of CBD in treating mental health conditions.

Similarly, a systemic review published in 2020 in the BMJ, a reputed journal, shows that there is good evidence that CBD may help in a variety of psychiatric conditions. It may help alleviate psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairment caused by different conditions, including schizophrenia, ADHD, social anxiety, and so on. At present, there seems to be weak evidence that it may have a role in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and as a mood-stabilising agent. 

To conclude, there is no doubt that CBD can influence certain mental functions; it may have some role in the management of various psychiatric conditions. Therefore, it may be right to suggest that it can help stabilise mood. However, to date, the evidence is limited, and there is a need for more clinical studies to define its role in managing mood disorders adequately.

CBD is not a medication, but a readily available natural extract. It has an established safety record for short or medium-term use, or even for frequent intermittent use. Additionally, keeping in mind that medications are unlikely to be prescribed to those just looking to correct mood without a diagnosis, CBD has its place in managing mood disorders.

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