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CBD for depression

18/08/2022 4 MIN. READ Sophie Klingler
18/08/2022 4 MIN. READ Sophie Klingler

Everybody has those days when everything goes wrong and nothing feels right. But when these days turns into weeks, months or even years, more and more aspects of your life can be affected..

Depression is no walk in the park, nor is it uncommon: Statistics show that nearly one in five in Germany suffers from depression in the course of their life, and the numbers are growin.

To measure the burden of a disease in populations, the WHO calculates the so-called YLD (years of healthy life lost to disability), that is, the years in life affected by the illness. Globally, this number is a whopping 50 million life years for depression – which is higher than any other disease.

Persistent suffering can be overwhelming for those affected as well as their relatives. That’s where CBD, with its potentially modulating effects, might come in handy. But does CBD oil , CBD gel or for example, sleep spray really have an effect on depression and can it act as a supplement or even as an alternative to antidepressants?

How do you know if you’re depressed?

Depression won’t show up on an x-ray. It’s generally not recognizable from the outside, and it can have many faces – there’s a good reason why it’s often called an invisible disease.

A diagnosis is made with the help of the ICD-10, the WHO’s catalogue of diseases and their symptoms. It lists primary and secondary symptoms of depression and classifies a depressive episode as mild, moderate or severe, depending on the number and severity of symptoms. As a rule, symptoms must be present for at least 14 days.

Important: The following list is in no way a substitute for a diagnosis by a medical professional.

The three primary symptoms:

  • depressed, gloomy mood
  • loss of interests or pleasure
  • low drive with increased fatigue (even after exerting minimal effort) and limited activity

Seven secondary symptoms:

  • poor concentration and indecisiveness
  • low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • guilt and a sense of unworthiness
  • negative and pessimistic outlook on the future
  • suicidal thoughts or acts, self-harm
  • trouble with sleeping
  • poor appetite

Mild depression: two primary symptoms and two associated symptoms

Moderate depression: Two main symptoms and three to four additional symptoms

Severe depression: Three primary symptoms and four or more secondary symptoms

In addition to the symptoms mentioned here, somatic (i.e., physical) symptoms such as a “morning low” or loss of libido may also occur..

CBD oil: Its effect on the psyche

The Endocannabinoid Systemhelps modulate our emotions and cognitive functions, among many other things. It’s therefore thought that administering cannabinoids, as in phytocannabinoids – that is, those derived from plants – could help the psyche in achieving balance.

The possible effect of CBD on depression in humans has yet to be thoroughly studied in science. However, studies on animal may offer some clues here.

A study on rats shows that CBD may indirectly activate 5-HT1A receptors, also known as serotonin receptors. The researchers involved in the study thus suggest that CBD could produce effects similar to those of anti-depressants.

The growth factor BDNF also seems to play a role in depression. Formed primarily in the hippocampus, people who suffer from depression, sleep disorders or psychosocial stress have lower levels of it.

A study on rats showed that BDNF levels increased after 14 days of daily injections of CBD. Researchers also attribute a potential anti-depressant effect to cannabidiol.

It’s still unclear whether and to what extent these findings can be transferred to we humans. It’s also not clear what dosage we would need to achieve a similar effect.

How CBD might alleviate symptoms of depression

Among those who suffer from depression, 70 to 80 percent experience anxiety. The findings of several studies suggest that CBD might have anxiety-relieving effects. Again, getting the right dosage right here is key: No significant effect was observed with doses that were too high or too low.

Having trouble sleeping is another characteristic of depression. Those who suffer from depression can sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep or sleep through the night. While there are still no sufficiently substantiated studies on CBD and sleep, users repeatedly report a positive experience with using CBD to manage sleep disorders.

CBD for depression: More research is needed

  • The body's own endocannabinoid system has several functions but is in part responsible for modulating emotional responses.
  • As a phytocannabinoid, CBD could possibly alleviate symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disorders and is also known to have an anti-depressant effect.
  • Studies with animals give rise to hope that CBD has an anti-depressant effect.
  • However, the effects of CBD on depression in humans has yet to be thoroughly researched!

In any case, if you suffer from depression or if you think you might be depressed, it’s best to take the first step and confide in someone – whether it’s a loved one, a doctor, or an anonymous counselor. The European Alliance Against Depression has a website, ifight depression, that offers suggestions for managing depression.


What should I look for when buying CBD oil for depression?

By purchasing a CBD oil of high quality, you can be rest assured that the product doesn’t exceed the maximum-allowed level in Germany of 0.2 percent THC and that you won't get high from it. Some also some talk of sativa being used to treat depression. However, sativa is a type of hemp that contains higher levels of THC and is therefore not legal in Germany.

What should I know before using CBD for depression?

Cannabidiol has an obvious advantage in that there are few known side effects of CBD. If you want to use CBD as a supplement in managing depression, we’ve got all the information you need on dosing CBD oil in an easy-to-read summary.


However, depression is a serious illness that you should not treat by yourself. It’s important to get medical help and discuss with your doctor any potential interactions with anti-depressants.

What’s the best CBD oil for depression?

While studies with animals suggest a positive effect, it is yet to be proven that CBD oil can affect depression in humans. In terms of product quality, gentle manufacturing processes will ensure that the maximum amount of terpenesare retained during extraction. It’s believed that they can contribute to an enhanced impact through their capacity to deliver the so-called entourage effect .

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