Mental health problems are common in today's fast-paced society. Mental health problems range from stress which is common to everyone and often a precursor to other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, cognition, PTSD, schizophrenia and autism just to name a few.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for Cannabidiol is one of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana) called cannabinoids that are derived from the hemp plant which is a cousin of the marijuana plant and it does not cause a ‘high’. CBD is extracted from cannabis plants and is separated from other cannabinoids. CBD oil is made from hemp plants and can be purchased legally in the United Kingdom. CBD can be purchased in different forms such as tinctures, concentrates, capsules, sprays, tapes, vape oil and topical creams.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance found in cannabis that gives the ‘high’. CBD sold in the UK should contain less than 0.2% of the THC.
Is hemp oil and CBD oil the same thing?
Both CBD oil and Hemp oil are made from the same plant. CBD oil, however, is made from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the plant and not from its seeds like hemp oil.
When did cannabis become a medicine?
The medicinal properties of Cannabis are well documented and cannabis has been used as a medicine all over the world for thousands of years, including China, India and the Middle East.
It was a common form of medication in the UK until it became illegal in 1928 and was even used by Queen Victoria to relieve her period pain.
Is CBD legal in the UK?
CBD is legal in the UK as long as it does not contain THC, which is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In 2016, the MHRA officially acknowledged CBD oil benefits in terms of their therapeutic potential, but they also made it clear that anyone who sells CBD oil for medicinal purposes must have the products properly licensed as a medicine.
A CBD product that contains more than 0.2% THC is considered to be a controlled substance under the 1971 Act and is therefore illegal to possess and supply unless it meets the ‘exempt product’ criteria outlined in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
Cannabis CBD oils with higher amounts of THC are available by prescription use only in the UK since 2019.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
There are a few side effects that must be noted when using CBD oil although this can differ depending on the individual:
CBD oils may cause:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Dryness in Mouth
What about products available to buy?
Many cannabis-based products are available to buy over the internet without a prescription but their quality and contents are unknown. They may be illegal and potentially dangerous
It’s likely some of these products contain THC and will be illegal to possess or supply and more important might not be safe.
Health stores sell certain types of “pure CBD”. However, there’s no guarantee that these products will be of good quality. The CBD contained in these products is also very small so it might not have the desired health effect.
Mental health benefits of cannabidiol
CBD Oil Reported alleviating Stress
Research has highlighted CBD oil’s benefits associated with its capacity to help users effectively manage stress. Stress is the underlined cause of many anxiety disorders and can exacerbate the effects of most mental illnesses.
When we are faced with a stressful situation our bodies produce an excess of the stress hormone cortisol, designed to give us the energy. When we need to combat a stressor our bodies go into “fight or flight mode”, our blood pressure increases, our pupils dilate, and our heart rate accelerates.
Most common types of stress such as relationship, work, and family-related stress such as marital issues can put our bodies in this flight or fight mode. People with high levels of stress commonly develop anxiety disorders.
Cannabidiol interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system which is responsible for regulating mood, sleep patterns, appetite, and more.
Cannabidiol stimulates this system to release more endocannabinoids as well as other hormones and enzymes that may induce feelings of calm in the body and may also reduce the production of cortisol, taking the body out of fight-or-flight mode and into back in its natural state.
As a result, people who have anxiety disorders may prevent or alleviate panic attacks with the help of CBD oil. They may also rely on cannabidiol as a tool to manage other stressors in their lives.
CBD oil for Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are pathologies that affect human beings in many aspects of life, including their social life, their productivity and can have a massive impact not only in mental well-being but also on physical health.
The term Anxiety Disorder includes the following:
Social anxiety – a situation where you become apprehensive and scared of different social situations.
Panic disorder – Random panic attacks that suddenly come on. They can be associated with chest pains, sweat and even lead to heart attacks.
General anxiety disorder – you constantly worried about day-to-day situations.
Current research suggests CBD oil can function as a strong component of a natural health plan to alleviate anxiety.
In a 2015 meta-analysis, the authors concluded that CBD oil is a promising treatment for numerous forms of anxiety, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In another case study in 2016 that explored whether cannabidiol could reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety-provoked sleep disorder in a child with a history of trauma. Researchers found out that cannabidiol reduced the child’s anxiety and helped her sleep.
In another small trial, CBD significantly reduced the social anxiety associated with a simulated public speaking test in healthy subjects. CBD was found to affect the amygdala (fear centre) and hippocampus (memory and emotion) areas of the limbic system – an effect that was considered comparable to the anxiety medications, ipsapirone and diazepam.
A 2017 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that CBD could provide relief for a variety of debilitating conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer and diabetic complications, as well as general pain, anxiety and depression.
How Could CBD Help with Depression?
Although CBD does not cure depression it has been found being effective in the improvement of the symptoms.
CBD has been found to help improve depressive symptoms by modulating the actions of the endocannabinoids and also potentiating the effects of serotonin by enhancing the activity of the receptors onto which serotonin binds.
In conclusion, mental illness can deeply impact a person’s life and can affect relationships, social habits and careers. Medication and treatment are possible for most illnesses, but they do not come without risks.
CBD is a naturally occurring chemical substance found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have health benefits in conditions such as anxiety, depression and mood disorders,