Mental illness is one of the most common health problems worldwide. According to MHFA England, over 790 million people suffer mental health issues. In the UK, roughly one in every four of us are affected. Many of those with mental health problems feel ignored or side-lined by official social and medical services. So if you are struggling with mental illness is there a way to improve your situation? Here I look at the way some people are using CBD to ease their mental health symptoms.
Every one of us gets anxious in some situations. We might find ourselves getting nervous before an examination, worrying about whether we’ll be able to answer the questions. We might feel anxious when somebody we love is late arriving home, and start to wonder if something bad has happened to them. But sometimes, anxiety can take over our lives; we feel anxiety all, or most of the time. If you suffer from anxiety you may feel your heart racing, have difficulty breathing, and become overwhelmed by fear or dread. Sometimes, anxiety can lead to nail biting, teeth grinding and even self harm.
CBD for Anxiety
Many people find that CBD can reduce their level of anxiety. It’s one of the biggest reasons why people take Cannabidiol. And there’s good reason. Tests show that CBD can have a calming effect and reduce anxious behaviour. In a clinical study of social anxiety in teenagers, those who were given oil containing 300 mg of CBD oil became significantly less anxious than the teenagers who were given a placebo. Another study of the calming effects of CBD recorded good results in a group of 72 people who suffered from anxiety and/or sleep problems. Nearly 80% of those who suffered anxiety showed improvement, as well as over 66% of those who had problems with sleep quality.
Scientists are still unsure what causes depression. Sometimes we can see that a deep emotional reaction to an unhappy event, or problems like loneliness or neglect have triggered depression. This is called “reactive depression. But we have probably all met people who seem to have lots of wonderful things in their lives, but still suffer from depression. In cases like these it can be hard to identify the reason for their mental illness.
One of the possible reasons that people suffer feelings of depression is an imbalance in the level of a natural chemical called Seratonin. Seratonin has quite a few roles in the body, but one of its major jobs is to help regulate our moods. Low levels of Seratonin can make it harder for us to deal with stress and to “bounce back” afterwards. This is why doctors often prescribe anti-depressants called SSRIs. These drugs help to maintain a higher level of Seratonin in our nervous system.
CBD for Depression
So how can CBD help to reduce depression? Scientists believe that, although CBD doesn’t actually increase the amount of Seratonin, it can make it more effective. Basically, CBD improves the way special receptors in your body react to the Seratonin. (Think of it as being a little like the way that tuning a car engine can improve the mileage you get from each gallon of fuel.) By binding with, and activating these Seratonin receptors, CBD can help to balance your moods.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is form of mental illness that causes people to repeat an action, or series of actions, because they fear something bad will happen if they don’t. Typical symptoms of OCD that people display include:
- washing hands much more often, or for much longer, than is necessary. This is usually because of a fear of infection (either for themselves, or for other people they are close to)
- repeatedly checking and re-checking whether they have done something, such as locking a door, or turning off an appliance. They can feel anxious that their home will be robbed, or that the appliance may cause a fire.
Can CBD Help with OCD?
As yet there hasn’t been enough research on using CBD to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But some studies suggest that it can reduce the symptoms. For example, studies showed rats and mice that received CBD were less compulsive about hiding objects than those without CBD. However, some tests found that marijuana (which also includes the psychoactive chemical, THC) had a stronger effect. Bearing this in mind, it might be that a full-spectrum oil tincture, which contains a small amount of THC as well as CBD, might be suitable. Don’t worry, although this full-spectrum tincture contains up to 0.3% THC, it won’t get you high and is still perfectly legal in the UK.