Is CBD The Key To Combating The Leading Cause of Suicide Worldwide?
Depression affects 350 million across the globe making it one of the leading health disabilities worldwide.
If you've been battling with constant sadness and loss of interest, you might be suffering from depression.
An extreme feeling of inconsolable sadness is a tell-tale sign of this disease. 16 million adults in the US have reported one depressive episode as of 2012
Luckily, society is increasingly recognizing depression as a major health disability and working to ease the symptoms of those who suffer from it.
I n recent years, CBD has shown itself to be one of the most promising compounds used in alleviating the symptoms of depression.
How damaging can depression be?
The World Health Organization recorded that depression is the leading cause of suicide for about 800,000 people annually. It is also the leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 years old.
The National Institute of Mental Health showed that 10-15% of women suffer from post-partum depression. This depression takes place due to fluctuating hormones, lack of sleep, fatigue and overwhelming chances from the arrival of the newborn. If left untreated, post-partum blues can be depression. This poses threats to both the mother and the baby.
Now, Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis compound is claimed to have medicinal benefits to alleviate depression. CBD is known to have no euphoric effect, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which causes users to feel ''high'' or ''stoned''.
But what does cannabis offer in order to treat one of the world's most daunting psychological disease?
A study published in the Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health back in 2014 examined one hundred patients to observe how cannabis affects them. 97% of these patients used cannabis for chronic pain, and 64% of them reported its ability to reduce pain. It incurred no adverse effects. Cannabis was found to decrease insomnia, improve pain management and ease anxiety.
Meanwhile, a clinical trial spearheaded by Bloom et al (2012) aimed to explore cannabis' ability to control spasticity to people suffering from multiple sclerosis. Participants of the placebo-controlled clinical study experienced 30% reduced spasticity while using CBD treatment.
Another study conducted by the researchers from Washington State University aimed to highlight the effects of CBD with the use of the Strainprint app. User identity is kept anonymous as they enter the name of the strain and rate severity of the symptoms they are suffering. This harbored more than 12,000 anonymous reports, helping scientists compare the effects between tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
After a brief time of 20 minutes, they encode the number of puffs they took, and rate their symptom severity.
The responses encoded to within the app to show how cannabis helped alleviate the symptoms of extreme sadness is remarkable.
For users with depression, the app survey responses showed that symptoms are reduced to 89.3% after smoking cannabis.
This effectively highlights cannabis’ ability to improve cortisol levels for people suffering from depression.
Meanwhile, respondents that are suffering from anxiety rated 93.5% as an overall decrease in their anxiety levels. The possible explanation is CBD’s ability to ease stress through its ‘’soothing’’ properties as found out by Hyman and Sinha (2009).
An older study by Johnston and O’ Malley (1986) proved cannabis’ ability to reduce tension, with 72% of respondents admitting their use of cannabis for stress relief.
While the evaluation for medical cannabis and its ability to decrease signs of depression is in its early stages, researchers speculate that the possible benefits of CBD are to restore a normal endocannabinoid function. This improves the patient's mood, reducing their probability to undergo depressive episodes and bouts of anxiety.
Scientists from the University of Buffalo are examining cannabis and CBD becoming a reliable solution for depressive episodes associated with chronic stress.
University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) is shedding a light on the brain's chemicals- endocannabinoids. These chemicals act as hormones that propel an individual's cognition, behavior, and emotion. Its composition is somewhat similar to that of cannabis.
The group found that chronic stress limits the brain's production of these chemicals, resulting in depression on animals. The use of CBD has shown its possibility to restore normal levels, showing signs of recuperation.
While there are limited studies and clinical trials attempted to prove how exactly does CBD work for people experiencing depression, more and more scientists are eyeing its ability to preserve mental health.
Depression, a chemical imbalance in the brain, can be one of the most insidious psychological diseases. Many people taking prescription drugs to soothe this illness come up with little or no success, mostly ending in self-mutilation and suicide.
In recent years, more and more people have begun to turn towards cannabis to treat their depression and anxiety. As this compound becomes increasingly accepted within society, will we see cannabis being the cure for the leading cause of suicide worldwide?