Depression is a common mental health issue many people struggle with which can have a
very negative impact on their social experiences, ability to work, and their day-to-day lives in
Depression is also recognized by the National Health Service as a real illness with real
symptoms that people can indeed struggle with(1).
How can CBD help?
As research on CBD has only begun in the last decade or so, studies on the direct effects on
humans are relatively limited. That said, there have been numerous studies using animals as
subjects for the last decade or so and many of these studies have found good evidence that
CBD could be used as a possible treatment for people with depression.
In one study from 2014(2),the effect of CBD was observed on animal models of both
depression and anxiety and reportedly found it to act in an antidepressant manner in the
many of the experiments ran.
In a further study conducted in 2018(3) agreed that CBD has antidepressant effects and
also went on to investigate the effects of CBD on increasing neuroplasticity, the ability of the
nervous system to change its activity in response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by
reorganising its structure, functions, or connections after injuries, as well as it’s effect on
mood stabilisation, addiction and more.
One key finding from the above study was the conclusion that CBD has anti-stress effects.
Stress being a factor which can cause or worsen depression, CBD having a positive effect
on stress could also lead to a positive effect on depression as well.
Benefits over traditional medication
Compared with medications available for the condition, it seems there could be a
number of benefits which CBD can offer.
For one thing, it is commonly the case that antidepressants can take days or even weeks to
being working, but a 2019 study (4) suggested that CBD can produce a rapid and sustained
antidepressant-like effect. This means that it’s possible that CBD could be used as a
medication for depression which would have a far more immediate effect than other
In addition to this, many antidepressants are well known for causing a number of inhibiting
side effects among many of those who take them including: agitation, insomnia, mood
swings and sexual dysfunction. Based on the research that has been done CBD has yet to
show any such symptoms. This further suggests the possibility that CBD could be used as a
less-invasive treatment for depression at some point in the future.
That said, while CBD has shown positive impact in the research done, it is by no means an
official replacement for prescribed medication. Any desire to decrease the dose of
prescribed medication should always be discussed with your doctor, as suddenly stopping
medications can cause serious side effects.
It is also important to note that it’s speculated that CBD might have unknown effects when
taken in conjunction with other medications, so it is highly recommended that you talk with
your doctor before taking CBD if you’re on any other medications, especially those with a
To provide more evidence for its assistive properties with regards to depression, evidence
suggests that low-grade chronic inflammation can be a major factor in enabling the
continuation of, and possibly worsening depression(5)(6) and that depression is partially an
inflammatory disease. This interacts directly with CBD, since one of CBDs many beneficial
properties are its reported anti-inflammatory effects(7).
Furthermore, people who suffer from depression are also more likely to suffer from anxiety,
another relatively common mental illness, and the two can often worsen each others effects
and work in conjunction to cause the person further debilitation. As well as it’s directly
antidepressant properties, CBD has been shown to affect anxiety also, so by virtue of helping with this other mental condition could assist a person even more with their depression as well.