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Does CBD Oil increase Serotonin?

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(September 19, 2020)--There has been a growing interest in the uses of cannabidiol (CBD), especially concerning its potential in improving mental health.

Since the last couple of years CBD Oil and CBD Gummies have emerged as useful products to treat depression and its symptoms. You can click here if you are thinking from where to buy cbd gummies and oils from the best brands.

But what exactly is CBD Oil?

CBD is a chemical compound which is found in the cannabis sativa plant, specifically in the hemp variety of the plant.

More than 80 different compounds including approximately 120 phytocannabinoids constitute cannabis. 

One of the most recognized phytocannabinoid out of these is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive substance known for producing the “high” sensation associated with marijuana.

On the other hand, CBD, a cousin of THC, is also gaining popularity for its wide range of health benefits sans the psychoactive effects. 

Research suggests that CBD exhibits effects like anti-depressants, which means that it may have the potential to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Understanding Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders that affect people across the world. While it is primarily an affliction of the mind, it also affects your physical health and well-being. 

Depression affects how you feel and can influence several changes in your body. It is a serious medical condition,and in the United States alone where over 26% of the total population are suffering from depression. 

If you are suffering from untreated depression, you must seek professional help. However, recovery from depression is very individualistic, and you may need to adopt holistic lifestyle changes and take care of yourself.

Depression is majorly influenced by the levels of serotonin in the body. 

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter - a chemical that sends messages from one area of the brain to another. 

Serotonin is linked to brain cells that are involved in a range of psychological processes, as well as brain cells that hold influence over some body functions and systems.

Serotonin impacts the following:

  1. Mood and Behaviour
  2. Memory and Learning
  3. Sleep
  4. Sexual Desire and Functioning
  5. Appetite, Digestion and Bowel Movements
  6. Blood Clotting
  7. Bone Health
  8. Body Temperature

The Link Between Serotonin and Depression

Serotonin is popularly known as the brain’s ‘happy chemical’ due to its ability to positively influence the mood of a person. 

Research suggests that high levels of serotonin in our brains are linked to improved moods and feelings of happiness.

On the other hand, lower levels of serotonin are associated with symptoms of depression, sadness, and a generally low mood. 

An imbalance of serotonin levels is also linked to several other conditions like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic attacks, anxiety, and rage.

The association between serotonin levels and depression is further substantiated by the phenomenon called ‘comedown’ experienced by people post consuming alcohol or drugs. 

This phenomenon is characterised by sudden feelings of sadness as the effects of the alcohol or drugs wear off.

Alcohol and drugs like ecstasy or MDMA cause a sudden spike in serotonin levels, and then reduce the levels just as quickly.

This sudden reduction in the levels of serotonin levels negatively impacts a person’s mood as the drug wears off, leading to a ‘comedown’.

While it is unclear whether serotonin affects depression or vice versa, there is enough evidence to suggest a proportionality between the two, where one significantly influences the other.

However, it would be fair to state that if a person recovers from depression, the serotonin levels are bound to increase.

CBD and Depression:

CBD has proven to be useful for treating symptoms of depression, especially in dealing with:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Cognitive Impairment
  3. Discomfort before Public Speaking

CBD also holds potential to treat conditions like chronic pain, often associated with depression.

CBD’s benefits to treat depression are derived from the evidence linking its usage to the positive effects on serotonin receptors in the brain. Not only humans but pets can also benefit from CBD. See this link for more details and get the best CBD products for your dogs

CBD affects your brain’s chemical receptors’ response to the serotonin that is already in your system.

A 2014 study found that CBD affected these receptors in a manner similar to that of antidepressants.

A more recent 2018 study suggested that CBD has anti-anxiety effects, and it reduces depression which is related to stress. 

Relationship between CBD and Serotonin:

A surprising fact that is often neglected about CBD is its ability to mimic the effects of serotonin. It does so by binding with and activating your body’s 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. This is speculated to be the cause of CBD’s powerful antidepressant effects.

A paper published in 2011 in Behavioural Brain Research showed that an increase in the levels of endocannabinoids made antidepressants even more effective. 

Moreover, the researchers discovered that by blocking the CB1 receptors, they could stop the antidepressants from working altogether.

This establishes beyond any doubt that the endocannabinoid and serotonergic systems are intricately linked with each other. Thus, using cannabinoids, CBD in particular, naturally supplements the serotonin levels of your body.

This can help you achieve homeostasis with an increased efficiency.

How can I take CBD?

Cannabidiol is locally available in several forms, although only the ones that are ingested orally have shown antidepressant-like effects and other mental health benefits.

One can take CBD orally as an oil, capsule, or spray. CBD can be used topically too, such as in creams, lotions, balms, and salves. The effects from this application, however, are localised at best. 

CBD Supplements

Broad spectrum and isolates are the best choices for those concerned about drug testing. Joy Organics is a popular THC free option that is specifically designed to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression and is claimed to be made from only natural ingredients, thus guarding against unpleasant side effects.

CBD vs. Antidepressants

CBD may hold an edge over traditional antidepressants.

A 2018 study published in Molecular Neurobiology suggested that CBD showed great promise in acting as an antidepressant drug. Traditional antidepressants usually take a while before they begin to work, but the research concluded that CBD acted in a rapid and sustained manner,

CBD also appeared to have fewer side effects when compared with antidepressants. People who administered with CBD did not experience side effects like appetite changes and sexual inadequacies that are associated with antidepressants.

Wrap Up

To sum up, while there still remains a lot to be studied about serotonin levels and depression, their intermittent relationship cannot be ignored. It is not clear which affects the other, but a clear correlation can be observed between the two.

CBD inadvertently affects the serotonin levels in the process. It also impacts the serotonin receptors directly, and there is a clear linkage between serotonin levels and CBD 

It has been accepted as an alternate treatment for depression. However make sure to take the advice of a physician before opting for a CBD product. 

This is more important if you are currently on any other medication or undergoing any treatment, as CBD doesn’t react well with certain drugs with a “grapefruit warning”.

CBD affects the way certain drugs are metabolized,can slow down the process of their breakdown and can make the drugs stay in your system for longer.

Although this does not necessarily affect your health in any adverse way, it may cause certain side effects like diarrhea, nausea and headaches.

If you do take any other medications with CBD, take them an hour before administering any CBD product, so they may have enough time to get metabolized.