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Understanding the Role of CBD in Mental Health Management

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Alternative treatments for easing mental health concerns have become a popular topic in recent years, with CBD at the centre of discussions. As one of the most studied and talked-about herbal options, it’s important that we understand how the compound can help manage the symptoms and boost the mental and emotional wellness of people struggling with these challenges. So, let’s take a look at CBD’s role in mental health management, exploring its many benefits for both current and potential users.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, short for CBD, is a compound naturally found in the cannabis plant, most copiously in hemp. Unlike its more famous, albeit controversial, cousin THC, which causes the mind-bending “high” associated with marijuana use, CBD is non-intoxicating. This means it won’t make users feel high or alter their state of mind. Instead, it’s celebrated and widely sought-after for its potential therapeutic effects, including reducing anxiety, soothing pain, and improving sleep. Even more fascinating, CBD interacts with our body’s own systems to help maintain balance, also known as homeostasis, and health, making it a popular choice for those seeking natural wellness solutions.

Current mental health treatments

What comes to mind when you hear “traditional approaches” to managing mental health? Is it antidepressant pills or perhaps an image of emotional talk with a therapist? While these treatments have been around longer than we can remember and are proven effective for many, they don’t work for everyone and, unfortunately, can sometimes lead to side effects that are hard to manage or shrug off. Also, some may not have easy access to these treatments due to costs or lack of mental health resources nearby.

How CBD works for mental health

If you’re seeking a potent yet natural alternative to traditional approaches, CBD might just be what you need. But before you go searching for a CBD product to try, you must first understand how CBD works in your body.

While unheard of by most people, the human body has a vast and complex cell-signaling network known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is an incredibly crucial part of our physiological systems, as it helps maintain balance, or homeostasis in the body, all the while regulating a long list of physiological functions, including mood, sleep, appetite, and pain sensation. When CBD enters the body and interacts with the ECS, it influences this fascinating system by enhancing the effects of natural cannabinoids produced by our body and interacting with various receptors that can influence mood and stress responses.

Scientifically supported mental health benefits of CBD

Now that we know how CBD works in the body, it’s time to get to know the nitty-gritty of the compound’s benefits on our mental health.

Anxiety, stress, and depression

CBD has several actions that help ease anxiety, stress, and depression. First, it boosts our “feel-good” chemical, serotonin, much like what antidepressants do. This activity results in improved mood and reduced feelings of sadness or hopelessness.

Plus, CBD helps lower levels of cortisol, the infamous stress hormone, while also reducing excessive brain activity through increasing GABA, leading to relaxation. With these chemicals moderated, people struggling with stress, depression, or anxiety can better handle difficult situations.

PTSD

Amazingly, CBD also benefits individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through symptom reduction, specifically anxiety, learned fears, and sleep disturbances.

With the same mechanisms that help with anxiety and depression, CBD aids PTSD patients by reducing their learned fears in two ways. First, the stable mood, decreased anxiety, and calm brain response produced by CBD allow individuals to handle traumatic memories without overwhelming fear. Second, the emotional response to fear-inducing stimuli will gradually diminish over time.

That’s not all. Because CBD can also support better sleep patterns, the sleep disturbances typically experienced by people battling PTSD will lessen in intensity and frequency. This results in better sleep and, eventually, better overall health.

Reminder: CBD is one of the two most studied cannabinoids and has shown promising results in helping us deal with various health concerns. That said, more research is needed to understand how effective the compound can be, especially for long-term use.

Other benefits of using CBD

Apart from the positive effects of using CBD for mental health, the compound also boasts the practical advantages listed below. Bear in mind, though, that these benefits can be best achieved when you use high-quality CBD products from trusted sources. Dutch Natural Healing is a reputable manufacturer of organic, Europe-made CBD products tested by a third-party lab, ensuring quality and accuracy in dosage information.

  • Non-life-threatening side effects. CBD is generally well-tolerated. Should you experience any side effects, don’t worry, as they would be minimal and non-life-threatening, ranging from fatigue and diarrhoea to changes in appetite and weight.
  • Legal accessibility. CBD is legal to use in more places than other cannabis-based products. In most US states, CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal under federal law. Meanwhile, CBD products must not exceed 0.2% in the UK and EU member countries. Regulations can vary between countries, though, so confirm the status before buying and/or using just to be sure.
  • There are no psychoactive effects. As mentioned, CBD does not have psychoactive properties like THC and, therefore, cannot make its users hug. This allows users to maintain mental clarity and function in their daily activities without impairment.
  • Potential cost-effectiveness. For some people, CBD may be a cheaper alternative to high-end traditional pharmaceutical treatments or medications.
  • Variety of products. The wide range of CBD products available in the market makes CBD more convenient and accessible. Depending on the type, it could even be enjoyable. Suiting various preferences and lifestyles, popular options include oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, and topical creams.
  • Discreet usage. Several CBD products, like capsules, edibles (gummies, beverages, cookies, chocolates, etc.), and creams, are discreet. They can be used even in public or at the workplace without drawing attention, making medicating so convenient for people on the go.
  • Ease of dosing. CBD products available in the market often come with precise dosing instructions. Plus, many, such as CBD capsules, tinctures, and gummies, offer precise dosage control, greatly helping users manage their intake according to their specific needs.

Risks and considerations

CBD is generally considered safe, but it does come with some adverse effects, such as fatigue, appetite changes, and diarrhea. Also note that CBD products are not tightly regulated by the FDA, which means the quality and dosage may not be as advertised or labeled. Also, CBD might interact with other medications, so before trying it, make sure to talk to a healthcare professional.

Takeaway

CBD holds immense potential in managing mental health conditions and is especially appealing to people who find traditional treatments ineffective or intolerable. That said, still approach it with cautious optimism as more studies are needed to fully understand its benefits, risks, and side effects.




David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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