Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a natural compound that has gained popularity in recent years, thanks in part to a growing body of research into its potential health benefits, which may include treating depression. The initial results of some studies into CBD and depression look promising.

CBD is one of more than 100 compounds called cannabinoids. These occur naturally in the cannabis plant.

While CBD is similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the two compounds act differently in the body. THC is responsible for the feelings of euphoria, or the “high,” that a person experiences while using cannabis.

CBD does not have these effects on the body — it does not cause a high or feelings of euphoria.

In this article, learn about the potential for CBD to help relieve the symptoms of depression. CBD may not be right for everyone, and there are some other things to consider before using CBD treatment for any condition.

CBD for depression

CBD could be useful in treating depression, as it appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental health conditions that can have lasting effects on a person’s health, social life, ability to work, and overall well-being.

A doctor may prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to help a person treat or manage depression. Many of these drugs have difficult side effects, such as mood swings, sleeplessness, and sexual dysfunction.

CBD has shown promise in initial studies as a treatment for both depression and anxiety, and it may cause fewer side effects in some people.

The findings of research from 2014 may help explain why CBD could be useful in treating depression. They indicate that, in most studies, CBD appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Serotonin impacts a range of functions in the body, including a person’s emotional state and feelings of well-being or happiness. Keeping serotonin levels balanced is often a key therapy for people with depression.

What the research says

Testing in animal models has provided some evidence for the use of CBD to help treat depression.

According to the authors of the 2014 review, results from a variety of studies indicate that CBD appears to act as an antidepressant and antianxiety compound in animal models of depression.

Authors of a review from 2018 also noted that many studies have shown the anti-stress and antidepressant activity of CBD in animal models.

The compound exhibits a clear anti-stress effect after short- or long-term use. In certain tests, CBD acted as an antidepressant.

The authors also found that the compound worked without activating the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors directly, which may indicate that there is less risk of CBD becoming habit-forming, or addictive.

Researchers have even studied CBD’s potential to help reduce cravings in people with opioid use disorder.

In a study from 2018, researchers indicated that CBD has promise as a fast-acting antidepressant.

Most researchers conducting animal studies of CBD call for more direct research in humans, but their initial results are an essential step toward establishing how CBD works in the body.