Medical cannabis for mental health? Believe it or not, doctors may soon be prescribing marijuana-based products to help people suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and more. Considering that the consensus in the medical community has been that cannabis causes mental health problems, this is quite the 180. But the transformation is thanks to us now having a more detailed understanding of what cannabis is and how it affects us, and how we can benefit from taking specific parts of the plant.
Although cannabis produces a psychoactive effect, few of the compounds in the herb are responsible for this. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive chemical in weed, and while it does have therapeutic benefits, many other components of the plant that are non-intoxicating can also be used medicinally. One of those is cannabidiol (CBD), which is going to be the focus of this post.
CBD: a practical treatment for anxiety
Treating anxiety is difficult, because the drugs currently approved for the condition do not produce the immediate effect that’s really needed to manage symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac stop the breakdown of serotonin, which is thought to be why they help with anxiety. However, for patients who find that they either don’t work or take weeks to provide a meaningful therapeutic effect, these drugs are not cutting it.
The research on wholesale CBD products for anxiety, however, is much more promising for patients. Studies on CBD’s anxiolytic properties have found that the cannabinoid helps by pumping up the concentration of GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, and perhaps by binding with serotonin 1A receptors. Experiments on treatment-naïve anxiety patients have also shown that CBD outperforms a placebo – this was a key find, since in the past, it’s not always been clear whether a mental health treatment has any actual value, or whether users just perceive it to.
Since CBD provides patients with anxiety relief from the first dose, products can be used to control the condition in various situations – this is especially helpful for social anxiety sufferers, who do not tend to experience symptoms all the time, but have certain triggers.
Let’s consider an example: somebody who gets anxious when making phone calls could take a dose of CBD beforehand. Ideally, for the fastest effects, the CBD will be either vaped (in e-liquid, concentrate or dry herb form), or taken sublingually. With these consumption methods, anxiety relief is delivered in just a couple of minutes.
Depression: can CBD heal the brain?
Mental illness has been so difficult for scientists to find solutions for because of the astonishing complexity of the brain. We still have a limited understanding of this organ, and are therefore have an incomplete picture of the causes of depression. The SSRI drugs that are prescribed most often can help, but patients often find themselves having to take them for months if not years. What if there was a treatment plan that could banish the symptoms of depression for good?
Evidence is mounting that inflammation can make depression worse, or give rise to it in the first place. Inflammation is crucial to some degree, as it protects us from bacteria, viruses and other invasions, but this inflammation can also make us sick. In the case of the brain, inflammation may cause behavioral changes, reduced cognition and fatigue. That’s why getting enough sleep is important, as it allows the brain to heal and ensures that an infection is kept isolated and doesn’t spread.
But if this inflammation goes on for too long, it can start to have detrimental long-term effects. Researchers have now found a link between inflammation and depression, and those with higher levels of C-reactive protein are at a greater risk of depression. Inflammation to areas like the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus can affect how we process emotions.
But CBD can help to alleviate neuronal inflammation, and prevent the damage that causes depression. In patients who have already been affected, the neuroprotective and neurogenesis capabilities of CBD oil wholesale products can repair the brain. However, most of the studies which point to this have been carried out on rodents – while they can be a great guide for what antidepressant treatments may work in humans, they are no substitute to clinical studies on humans.
The mental health benefits of CBD are just starting to come to light. And with the world struggling to find answers to mental illness, making more funding available for research would be a wise and very timely move.