Mental Health Benefits and CBD - Does it Help?
With the relaxing of laws related to CBD, you have probably noticed the flood of CBD-related products entering the marketplace as capsules, creams, ointments, and oils. The cosmetics industry has embraced CBD, and manufacturers now include it in many of their products. However, while much of the focus on CBD products relate to its physical health benefits, research reveals that it may also assist with mental health issues.
How CBD May Help with Mental Health
CBD contains plant-derived compounds known as phytocannabinoids, but animals, including humans also produce a version of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. These compounds perform many functions, such as a neurotransmitter in the central and peripheral nervous systems. However, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a hand in a multitude of psychological processes related to mental health.
It is theorized that when CBD is ingested the phytocannabinoids can interact with the ECS to produce benefits. A mental health issue where CBD research has been showing a lot of promise is with anxiety. One study involving subjects experiencing social anxiety reported significant reductions in stress levels when taking CBD versus a placebo. [*1]
Another study involved the subjects taking CBD after THC use to mitigate the anxiety inducing effects of THC. [*2] CBD has also been able to reduce anxiety levels in 47 subjects taking CBD for up to three months. [*3]
Researchers are not yet clear about how CBD reduces anxiety symptoms, but theories suggest it may have something to do with 2-AG, an endocannabinoid that reduces activity on a synapse through a process known as retrograde inhibition. However, an exact mechanism about how this happens has not yet presented itself, so the research is ongoing.
CBD and Addiction
THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the high associated with marijuana use, but it can also raise anxiety levels in users. It was Yasmin Hurd at the Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York who considered the idea of using CBD to mitigate the anxiety inducing effects of THC. [*4]
This research has led to the possibility of using CBD to help with individuals with heroin addictions. In one clinical trial, subjects who consumed a daily dose of CBD for three days produced a significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. The study also found that CBD use reduced the level of cravings, meaning CBD may prove beneficial in helping people kick their drug habits.
Stress is a mental health condition that is a major contributor to relapses for addicts who have been off a drug for some time. CBDs dampening effects for cravings could make it a safer substitute than other opioid treatments like methadone.
CBD and SchizophreniaCBD has also shown promise for Schizophrenia mental health patients when used along with a traditional antipsychotic. Subjects taking CBD reported a significant reduction in delusions and hallucinations when compared to taking the antipsychotic alone. Patients also managed to score more highly on cognitive tests administered during the study. [*5]