CBD oil has become popular to treat anxiety & depression, but does it work? Learn about the pros & cons of this alternative treatment. There is research (some but not much) around whether CBD can assist certain ailments, sometimes the best way to connect is through story. Here's Rob's CBD story.
CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression: The Pros & Cons
Everyone’s talking about it, so we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons, without bias.
The pros & cons of taking CBD oil:
1. Depression & Anxiety
With symptoms like excessive worry, extreme self-consciousness, chest pain, and panic attacks, anxiety can be a debilitating condition. Depression can be equally destructive—feeling sad, with little interest in the activities you once enjoyed.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of options for treating anxiety and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are popular, but they come with a host of side effects. Others have the risk of addiction.
Many people search for a safer, more natural way to treat anxiety and depression, so new options are being developed and researched all the time.
One emerging treatment is CBD oil. It’s becoming more popular with each passing day, but there are still major questions about how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression—and how exactly it helps.
As a fairly new and little-understood product, it’s important to learn as much as you can about CBD oil for anxiety and depression—and speak to your mental health provider—before you decide to try it.
2. What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a type of cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is extracted from the plant and made into an oil.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another type of cannabinoid. It’s the chemical responsible for the “high” one feels after using marijuana. Because CBD is not THC, you cannot get high from using CBD oil.
CBD oil is suggested to have positive effects for people with:
- and other mental health disorders
- in addition to depression and anxiety
- Studies have shown inconclusive results for most of these uses, with the exceptions of epilepsy, anxiety, and depression
3. How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD oil for depression and anxiety is still being studied and doesn’t have as much research to back it up as many other treatments do. Make sure you talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good fit for you and how to incorporate it into your treatment plan.
4. CBD for anxiety
It isn’t known exactly how CBD oil combats anxiety, but it’s thought to work with a receptor in your brain called CB1. Researchers believe the interactions between CBD oil and CB1 alter serotonin signals.
The core problem at the heart of anxiety disorders is low serotonin—a neurotransmitter related to mood and well-being. SSRIs, for instance, work by blocking the absorption of serotonin in your brain, meaning you get more serotonin. CBD oil may do something similar.
Studies have shown that CBD oil can be effective in treating various types of anxiety, including:
- Social anxiety disorder (PTSD)
Behavioral symptoms of anxiety and physiological symptoms of anxiety, like rapid heartbeat, were reduced in some studies. It’s also been shown to be effective against anxiety-related insomnia.
5. CBD for Depression
CBD oil works similarly for people suffering from depression because depression happens when serotonin levels are low. Increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain has a positive effect on your emotions and motor skills.
CBD oil may also affect the hippocampus, which plays a large role in regulating your emotions. When you have depression, your hippocampus doesn’t function as well. CBD oil may help promote neurogenesis or the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus.
6. How to use CBD
You take CBD oil by either putting a few drops under your tongue with a dropper or mixing it with food. CBD gummies are also becoming popular.
7.Disadvantages of CBD Oil
While CBD oil for anxiety and depression holds promise, there are significant disadvantages to its use.
First, it isn’t widely available. You can only buy CBD oil in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Second, no CBD oil products are approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety or depressive disorders. Only one CBD oil product is FDA-approved, and that is for the treatment of epilepsy.
Without the oversight and regulation of the FDA, CBD oils vary widely in quality. Manufacturers can more or less put whatever they want on labels.
According to Marcel Bonn-Miller, adjunct assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 43% of CBD oil products contain too little CBD, while about 26% contain too much.
Due to its lack of regulation, approximately one in five CBD products contain THC, meaning they could give you a high. THC can increase anxiety instead of reducing it. The additional risk in taking CBD oil is that even if the product contains trace amounts of THC, you could still test positive for marijuana on a drug test.
Quality CBD oil is considered safe, but it does come with a few side effects.
- Dry mouth
- Sleeping problems
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
More concerning than these side effects is the potential harm CBD oil can inflict on your liver. About 10% of people taking CBD in studies showed increases in liver enzymes. This increase could indicate potential liver damage. These concerns were severe enough for 2% to 3% of participants in the study to drop out due to concerns from the people running the study.
There is also the potential for dangerous drug interactions when taking CBD oil with another medication. If you are taking an antidepressant or any other medications, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil.
8. Other Alternative Anxiety & Depression Treatments
Although CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders and depression is a potentially viable option, there are alternative treatments—besides medication—that are safe and effective.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is one such treatment. It offers hope for patients with anxiety disorders by restoring the neurons in the amygdala—the part of your brain involved in the fight-or-flight response—to a normal level of functioning. In those with depression, TMS stimulates the thalamus and hippocampus, which work to control the brain’s emotional responses.
TMS does this by stimulating your brain using electromagnetic pulses. It has very few side effects, and results can be felt in just two weeks.
Explore TMS side effects
Many people are searching for natural treatments for anxiety and depression, and it isn’t hard to see why.
It’s always a good idea to be open-minded to new treatments, especially when there is clinical evidence to back them up. The most important things to do are conduct thorough research and discuss any options you’re considering with your doctor.
CBD Oil — Rob’s Success Story
I am not someone who uses recreational drugs. I never liked the feeling of being high on marijuana and all it seemed to do was make me hungry and tired.
I know what people say about different types of pot, but no matter when I ever tried it only made me sleepy and tired.
Not only would I get sleepy and tired, but for the next couple of days after smoking marijuana I would always feel lazy and unmotivated to do much.
So as some may see, I was at first a little skeptical about trying CBD oil.
I work in a very stressful environment and on top of my main job I have been struggling to start a business.
For about a year now, all of my money has been put into my business. This has meant that for almost an entire year I’ve had to give up things I was used to doing as a family man.
I haven’t done much with my family in the past year. We haven’t gone to many places, I’ve had to sell things to pay bills, and my life has felt like it’s been stuck between a rock and a hard place for a while now.
The only thing that has really gotten me through it all has been bodybuilding, which has always seemed to help get me through difficult times.
One of the issues I’ve always had with bodybuilding has been the stress levels that training can put on the body.
It’s really a double-edged sword for me because bodybuilding is like my release from all of the chaos, but the diet and training can intensify the stress sometimes (at least when you do it to the level I take it).
Stress is a funny thing because sometimes we only think we are stressed out if we are on the verge of a mental breakdown.
You think of things like panic attacks, alcoholism, and other obvious tell-tale markers when someone is stressed out.
But if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s this: we can be stressed out and not even pick up on the signs!
Do you know what my biggest sign was from stress?
I couldn’t sit still! At night my mind couldn’t slow down enough to fall asleep. I had no idea what good sleep felt like for several years!
I got to the point where I began to take script meds each night to fall asleep and abuse caffeine throughout the day to stay awake.
Putting a halt on weight training wasn’t going to happen because it felt like my only release in life.
I was no longer going to the gym just for a good workout. I began going to the gym to unleash the mental hell I felt like I was in all of the time.
The intensity of my workouts became a direct reflection of my mind…CHAOS!
Some would call this dedication, some may call it good training intensity, but I like to call it, “The only way I know to free my mind.”
You might be shocked if you knew just how many bodybuilders turn to drugs to deal with stress. I’m not talking about mild things here either. Pot would be probably the mildest of what some of these guys do nowadays. I never wanted to turn towards anything recreational to take my mind off stress. For starters, I don’t like feeling like I don’t have control over myself.
After a few years of having to take 2mg of Klonopin, a bunch of 5HTP, magnesium powder, and 10mg of melatonin to fall asleep each night (and sometimes even that didn’t do anything), I decided to try CBD oil.
When I first heard about CBD oil I didn’t think anything of it really. I really didn’t have much desire to try it and something about it just sounded gimmicky to me.
But the more I spoke to my good friend about this oil the more convincing it sounded to me. You have to know who you can trust and this was someone I trusted.
We had too many conversations over the few years we’ve known each other not to establish a decent level of trust. So I finally decided to give CBD a shot.
I can remember getting in my car and making my way to the gym. I pulled out the bottle and figured what the hell, let’s give it a go.
I took a couple of droppers of the oil and within about 20 minutes I felt an incredible sense of calmness come over me.
Surely this must be a placebo effect I thought to myself.
I walked into the gym calm but not drowsy. My focus became clearer and I felt ready to try a different kind of workout while on CBD oil.
You see, usually, when you take a pre-workout supplement you become wide awake and ready to tackle anything and everything.
The problem with this is it almost gives you A.D.D. to the point you can’t slow the hell down and think clearly sometimes.
The claim of “increased mental focus” on a pre-workout isn’t exactly accurate to me.
You may FEEL more focused because you’re wide awake, but it’s never been the kind of focus where I can slow down and really zone in 100% within a given set, if that makes any sense.
It’s more of a feeling of a Jack Russell Terrier who cannot stop running around and just sit!
I’ll be doing a set and my mind is thinking, “Ok, ok, yea, yea let’s get this, and then let’s do that, and then we are going to do those 4 things and then something else!
LET’S GO, LET’S GO, I’M READY TO GO!” It honestly gets annoying sometimes when you’re this wired.
But what if there was a product that could slow down your thoughts and allow you to put 100% into a given task at hand.
What if rather than always wondering what’s next you could live in the moment and get every benefit possible out of that moment?
THIS MY FRIENDS, IS THE POWER OF CBD OIL! IT DOES JUST THAT FOR ME!
I truly believe the future of workout supplements is going to take a drastic turn towards what is able to give you the most focus while alleviating the most stress.
Stress is a killer on your gains. It’ll kill your sleep, your appetite, and before you know it your mind is a dense fog. IT SUCKS FEELING THAT WAY!
When I fell asleep that evening I slept deeper and more soundly than I had slept in years!
I didn’t even take the cocktail of things I would normally use to try to fall asleep.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t planning on it, I was just out like a light before I could bother to go into my kitchen and take all my sleep products I would normally consume before going to bed.
I knew something seemed up the next morning because I had a ton of dreams that night and I actually felt rested. I slept 9 straight hours that evening!
The best part about it was that the next day there was ZERO backlash.
No drowsiness like I took sleeping pills, no feelings of it taking half the day to wake up, and no depleted feeling like that of alcohol or drugs!
I tried CBD oil again the following day and I was working with my brother all day.
We both took some before filming that day and then going back to his house to edit the remainder of the day.
My focus and willingness to actually sit in a chair for hours on end and get work done was HIGHLY IMPROVED!
We both worked systematically and also bounced a bunch of great ideas off each other while editing videos.
We got a lot more accomplished together that day than we normally would.
When we met again the following day he told me that he slept like a rock.
I asked him if he had any crazy dreams and he said it was ridiculous how many dreams he had.
He had the same effect that I had on CBD oil. I started to believe that this stuff was really working.
That night I fell asleep again with none of the sleep med cocktails I would normally take, and it was the same type of quality sleep once again!
CBD Oil — All The Good, Without The Bad
The absolute biggest benefit to using CBD oil for me was that the effects are a magnitude of benefits.
Where something like marijuana can make a lot of people out of their heads, sleepy and/or hungry, CBD oil seems to have all of these positive effects with nothing bad for me.
I don’t get sleepy but when I do decide to lay down it helps me go to sleep.
But it’s not one of these deals where you take it and an hour later it wants to force you to sleep.
I can pop a couple of milliliters of the oil and just feel calm and down to earth. (note: you will need to test what dosage works for you and which CBD THC ratios work best. See our article on the subject: CBD vs THC for sleep.)
I can focus because I can slow down enough to actually pay 100% attention to the task at hand.
I can deal with stress better, and this includes dogs barking, kids always needing something and screaming for their parents, and just having a general feeling of knowing that everything will work itself out for me.
CBD oil doesn’t make you some sort of a zombie that isn’t in touch with reality like certain medications can do to you.
Sure, some of these medications can do what they’re intended to do, but the side effects are very prevalent.
Have you ever known someone on antidepressants?
Sure, there might not be a depressing feeling on them, but they become zombies!
How much is the medication really helping them if the backlash is of those side effects?
I truly believe that CBD oil is going to be a much bigger deal in the very near future.
I would almost rather ditch the pre-workout supplements and just use CBD oil instead.
Write Your Own CBD Success Story
Think about this for a minute, what would benefit you more?
I’d rather start getting a good night’s sleep and being awake and recovered rather than waking up tired and groggy and having to continue on this vicious cycle of popping workout stimulants to go to the gym.
Another benefit I’ve found to using the oil is that some of my joint pain has been easier to deal with.
As much as I’d love to tell you my joints are bulletproof, years of heavy lifting and putting my body through hell to achieve a certain look has taken its toll.
I don’t think about these aches and pains as much when I’m using the CBD oil.
I’m not going to come out and tell you some crazy claim like all my problems are solved from using CBD oil, but the pain in my joints feels more nullified and manageable when using CBD oil.
I was at first skeptical about trying this out, but all I can tell you at this point is that I’m a fan of it!
I t’s had an incredibly positive impact on my life and I believe it’s one of the safest products someone could use nowadays with the biggest impact on nothing but positivity in your life!
I would highly recommend the oil to anyone.
I have seen the improvements on my own stress management, workout recovery from improved sleep, a mild pain reducer for my joints, and just an overall improved sense of mental clarity, focus, and being a more fun person to be around.
I’m also going to make sure it’s a staple of every diet I do to get shredded up. Sometimes we just need something to mellow us out and get our minds off of stress and food.
CBD oil may help you stick to the course during those periods of hunger and stress on the body from intense training and dieting, along with dealing better with random life stressors along the way.
Give it a try and see if you get similar benefits to what I’ve gotten so far. You might soon be writing your own CBD success story!