By Jamie Taylor
Cannabidiol (also known as CBD) is a natural substance used to treat a wide range of common ailments. Although it is found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa, CBD has no psychoactive effects on its users.
In recent times, the use of CBD oil has gained momentum, especially in the United States. People who suffer from body pains or other mild ailments simply turn to this substance for relief.
In the same vein, some studies have suggested that CBD oil can also improve one’s mental health. But how true is this claim? Are there health risks when users take CBD oil for mental health? Let’s find out.
Even though CBD oil has been touted for its physical health benefits, several experts are of the opinion that it can also be used to improve mental health conditions, such as:
Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that affects up to 19.1% of US adults every year. According to the World Health Organisation, it is the sixth largest contributor to disabilities worldwide. This goes to show that anxiety could have devastating mental effects on its victims.
However, a 2015 study on neurotherapeutics suggests that CBD may help to ease or alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. The study also found that this substance was effective for a wide range of anxiety disorders, such as:
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
As such, it can be said that CBD has considerable potential in the treatment and management of anxiety disorders. However, further research is needed to solidify this claim.
Just like anxiety, depression is yet another mental health disorder rampant among teenagers and adults worldwide. This disorder is usually managed through the use of pharmaceutical drugs and psychotherapy.
However, some anti-depressants come with numerous side effects and could even lead to substance abuse.
On the other hand, CBD oil has shown great potential as a treatment for depression. Recent studies have shown that this substance has antidepressant effects. Most antidepressants work by acting upon the serotonin receptors in the brain. However, CBD oil for depression has a different mechanism of action that still produces similar effects. It does not increase the serotonin levels but affects how your brain responds to the serotonin in your body instead.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects a significant percentage of adults in the US and other countries. This disorder comes with a wide range of symptoms that could cause the victim’s mental health to break down eventually.
However, according to research, a steady dose of CBD in combination with routine psychiatric treatment can help to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD.
Benefits of using CBD oil
CBD oil has a wide range of physical and mental benefits when taken properly. Some benefits of using this substance include:
According to researchers, CBD could be helpful for people with neurological disorders due to its ability to act upon the brain signaling systems. In fact, several studies have been carried out on the uses of CBD for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and others.
One of such studies showed that CBD Oil significantly reduced seizures in children suffering from Dravet syndrome. Another study equally revealed that CBD-based treatment could improve sleep and overall quality of life of those with Parkinson’s disease.
However, it should be noted that some users may experience adverse reactions, such as convulsions, fatigue, fever or diarrhoea.
Effectiveness for the treatment of anxiety and depression
As stated earlier, CBD oil has been proven to have antidepressant effects. It works by affecting the human brain’s response to serotonin present in the body. As such, it is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and depression among adults.
According to research, CBD has the ability to counteract cognitive impairment and psychotic symptoms associated with heavy cannabis use. Similarly, it may also lower the risk of developing cannabis-related psychosis.
However, even though clinical studies have confirmed CBD’s potential as a safe, antipsychotic compound, further research is needed before it can be included into clinical practice.
Alleviation of cancer-related symptoms
CBD oil may help to reduce acute symptoms related to cancer and chemotherapy, such as nausea and pain. According to recent studies, this substance could cause a significant reduction in pain among cancer patients when taken in combination with THC. However, further human trials have to be carried out before a solid conclusion can be drawn.
As with most medications and therapeutic treatments, CBD may cause adverse reactions in users. Some of the potential risks and adverse effects associated with using this substance include:
Liver damage or injury
During clinical trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cited liver damage as a core side effect of CBD. However, this risk can be managed by only using CBD under the supervision of a doctor.
Male fertility issues
Although this claim has not been verified, some scientists claim that there seems to be a correlation between CBD use and lowered sperm count or viability.
Interactions with other medications
CBD may interact with other medications to cause potential side effects. As such, it is advisable to consult your doctor before using this substance.
How to Use CBD Oil
A large number of people are often uncertain about how to take CBD oil. However, this substance can be ingested in a number of ways: by mixing into food or using a pipette. It can also be ingested by swallowing capsules.
However, the best way to use CBD oil is to spray it under the tongue.
Should You Use It?
According to several CBD oil reviews, this substance has several benefits. However, since the FDA has approved only one CBD product for treating two severe forms of epilepsy so far, it is important to apply caution when taking it. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor about dosage and interactions with other medications.
The Bottom Line
There has been a noticeable interest in the use of CBD for mental health in recent times. However, no solid conclusions have been drawn yet as there is still a need for further research and clinical trials. As such, it is important for users of CBD to consult their doctors before using this substance to treat any ailment.