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Can CBD Help Depression?

Can CBD Oil Help with Depression?

CBD oil is quickly becoming a household conversation, not to mention, an eyebrow raising buzz around the medical and holistic sectors. As we are quickly approaching fall and the cold winter months, seasonal depression and depressive symptoms may begin to unravel. So what can you do to combat those feelings of continued uncertainty, especially during a time such as this pandemic? 

In today’s article, we’ll talk about the cannabinoid CBD, depression and what depression symptoms look like, as well as how CBD oil may compare to antidepressant medications. Alternatives, such as CBD oil, may be a therapeutic option towards boosting your overall well-being, improving your quality of life, and may even help with those depressive symptoms. 

Let’s get to it!

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound that is derived from the mother cannabis plant. CBD is gaining popularity across the board for numerous reasons, one being that CBD does not produce mind-altering effects. Because of this, users won’t feel a “high” or experience euphoria. Not only are scientists and researchers diving into this CBD investigation to further explore its benefits, but also holistic and lifestyle medicine healthcare professionals are encouraging this all-natural herb. 

Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are very similar, as I’m sure you’re wondering, but are very different too. THC is psychoactive - it produces a “high”. CBD is non-[psychoactive, no “high” needed.

Though research on THC is more extensively documented, CBD is climbing into publication journals rapidly, with suggestions of CBD helping anxiety, depression, acne, heart health, cancer, acne, and many more, the list goes on and on. 

What is Depression?

Before we hop into the benefits and directions of using CBD, we’ll touch on depression and what this may look like (or feel like, more so). 

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), depression can be described as a common and serious medical illness that may negatively affect how you feel, how you act, and the way you think. It may cause feelings of sadness and or a loss of interest in daily activities you once enjoyed doing. Depression can lead to a wide array of physical, mental, and emotional issues, and may decrease a person’s ability to perform and function at home and work. 

Even though this “textbook” definition may constitute for all of us at one point or another, depressive symptoms must last for at least two weeks before a proper diagnosis of depression can be coined. 

What are the Symptoms of Depression?

The symptoms of depression can vary, from mild, to extremely severe, and everywhere in between. 

Depressive symptoms can include the following:

  • Thoughts of death or committing suicide
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest of activities you once liked
  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble sleeping or over sleeping
  • Loss of energy or increased tiredness
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity 
  • Slowed movements or speech
  • Difficulty thinking, making decisions, or concentrating

Symptoms, including ones mentioned above, must be present for at least two weeks prior to receiving a proper depression diagnosis. In addition, various medical conditions may look like depressive symptoms, so it’s important that you talk with your physician to rule out any other possible medical concerns first. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 17.3 million adults in the US today have experienced at least one major depressive episode. 35% of adults with a depressive episode do not receive treatment, by a health professional or a pharmaceutical approach.  

Can CBD Help with Depressive Symptoms?

If CBD has been suggested to help with depressive symptoms, is it really beneficial?

There is evidence that CBD may be a useful therapeutic tool for a number of medical concerns. However, CBD research isn’t as advanced or caught up to the medical literature in regards to the validity and reliability of helping with depression. 

Some articles have pointed to the benefits of cannabidiol to treat depressive symptoms, whilst others have suggested a lack of evidence is apparent. 

A 2016 original article examined the effects of CBD on depressive rats. Not only did researchers show that CBD increased exploration and locomotion in rats, but also showed increases in rats’ characteristically low motivation. 

This study was the first to show a genetic animal model of depression and the antidepressant effects of CBD in rats. Researchers suggested that CBD may be beneficial for the treatment of clinical depression. 

A systematic review investigated CBD as a treatment for a variety of mood disorders, including depression, depressive disorders, mania, and bipolar disorder. Though researchers included 16 studies in their final sample, only six were clinical studies that used CBD to treat other health concerns, but also assessed mood symptoms as well. 

They concluded this systematic review with there being a lack of evidence, specifically for treatment of mood disorders, but were supportive for CBD as having a potential role in the treatment for mood disorders. 

A 2018 translational investigation examined the therapeutic potential of CBD in neuropsychiatry. 

Researchers found that CBD was shown to have pain-reducing, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects. CBD may be a useful tool that may help patients with a number of clinical conditions. 

How Does CBD Oil Compare with Antidepressants?

When comparing therapeutic options for your depression, there are pros and cons to traditional and holistic treatment approaches. CBD does seem to have some benefits over antidepressant medications though. 

A 2019 animal study found that CBD takes into effect quickly and continued to sustain antidepressant-like effects. 

Does CBD Cause Side Effects?

From what we know so far, CBD doesn’t cause many, if any, side effects. Some may be more sensitive to different doses and may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight

It’s almost too soon to know if CBD causes any chronic adverse effects, due to the lack of longitudinal research studies. So, we highly recommend dosing with caution. 

How Can I Use CBD?

Cannabidiol comes in many different administration types, including:

  • Oral
  • Edible
  • Topical
  • Vaping
  • Creams
  • Lotions
  • Pills
  • Waters
  • Powders

Depending on what you’re open to trying or what your CBD aim is, one type of CBD may work better for you than another. For example, if you’re wanting to help with anxiety, a sublingual dropper CBD method may work well for you, as the oil will be absorbed directly to your bloodstream via your tastebuds. If you’re wanting a more specific area approach to CBD, topicals, lotions, and creams, may work well for your desired area. 

Where Can I Purchase CBD Oil?

If you’ve been curious to try CBD for yourself, you need to find a company that is not only reputable, but can provide you documentation of the quality and assurance of their products. Hemp-derived CBD is available nationwide, but may not have the quality you are needing and looking for (since CBD isn’t FDA-approved yet). 

Here, at Hempulse, we ensure that all of our products have been tested by a third-party laboratory, ensuring our quality and potency is above the standard. 

We have a deep understanding of the agribusiness paired with extensive knowledge of supply chain management allows us to source high-caliber hemp extract at favorable prices – which translates into significant cost savings for the end customer without sacrificing quality.

We have the ability to customize products for our wholesale clients as well as collaborate on an effective retail strategy to achieve repetitive and sustainable revenues, while complying with industry regulation. Our Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil is a great CBD product to start with. 

CBD for Depression: Final Thoughts

Though the seasons are changing and the weather is cooling off, you don’t have to. Becoming aware of what depressive symptoms may look like, may help you in devising a treatment plan with your physician. 

Though antidepressants are still a common prescription for depressive symptoms, cannabidiol may be an option too. We highly recommend talking with your healthcare provider about the options available to you, including trying CBD oil into your daily regime. 

The research backing CBD oil for depressive-like symptoms is holding great promise. A step in the right direction is still a step forward. 


Kirsten Thornhill

Human Physiologist | Content Writer | Lifestyle Medicine Advocate
Kirsten Thornhill was born and raised in a small town in Northern California. She graduated with her Bachelors from CSU Stanislaus in Turlock, CA in Kinesiology Exercise Physiology and her Masters from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA in Kinesiology Exercise Physiology. Kirsten is very passionate about human physiology and the metabolic and nutritional adaptations that occur in athletes. She has specialized in teaching clinical and practical exercise and rehabilitation applications. She enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of lifetime movement, holistic and lifestyle medicine, and health research and development. Her passion for alternative medicine enables her to strive when promoting health and education.


Crippa, J. A., Guimaraes, F. S., Campos, A. C. (2018). Translational investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a new age. Front Immunol, 9, 1-16.

Pinto, J. V., Saraf, G., Frysch, C. (2020). Cannabidiol as a treatment for mood disorders: A systematic review. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 65(4), 213-227. 

Sales, A. J., Fogaca, M., Sartim, A. G., et al. (2019). Cannabidiol induces rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects through increased BDNF signaling and synaptogenesis in the prefrontal cortex. Mol Neurobiol, 56(2), 1070-1081. 

Shoval, G., Shbiro, L., Hershkovitz, L., Nazut, N. et al. (2016). Prohedonic effect of cannabidiol in a rat model of depression. Neuropsychobiology, 73, 123-129.

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