Do CBD Gummies Help With Depression

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CBD Gummies for Anxiety and Depression Bottom Line Up Front: We recommend Hemp King Oil. Full Spectrum Hemp Oil contains CBD and other Cannabinoids, enabling maximize efficacy. CBD and CBD Oil Cannabidiol (CBD) in the Self-Treatment of Depression-Exploratory Study and a New Phenomenon of Concern for Psychiatrists This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the

CBD Gummies for Anxiety and Depression

Bottom Line Up Front: We recommend Hemp King Oil. Full Spectrum Hemp Oil contains CBD and other Cannabinoids, enabling maximize efficacy.

CBD and CBD Oil has become some of the most sought-after medicines on the market today. Not only is it able to treat a wide range of ailments ranging from cancer to arthritis, CBD is known to be effective without causing any obvious side effects. It can be used safely in the long-term without causing addiction and dependence.

There are tons of ways to use CBD, and one of the most popular is to use CBD gummies. These products provide patients with a tasty and fun way to medicate themselves. In this article, we’re going to talk about the use of cbd gummies for helping to fight off anxiety and depression. We recommend Asteroid gummies as a great starter product with a reasonable dosage at a great price.

Table of Contents

What is CBD?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis and hemp plants. cbd is known to treat a number of illnesses, both mental and physical. Some of the things that cbd is most commonly used to treat include:

  • Arthritis and other inflammatory conditions
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems
  • Cancer
  • Various diseases of the intestinal tract like IBS and Crohn’s disease
  • Various forms of pain, both chronic and acute

These are just a few of the things that cbd can be useful for treating. cbd works by affecting the body’s endocannabinoid system, a system of neurotransmitters that affects a huge number of our bodily processes. We’ll touch on that later in the neurochemistry section.

cbd is attractive to a number of people because it presents a holistic alternative to a lot of pharmaceutical medications. Many people find that their pharmaceuticals may be effective for treating a problem on the surface, but the side effects often compete with the benefits and in the long-run the illness is rarely treated.

CBD gummies, on the other hand, can help people manage the symptoms of their illnesses without actually becoming dependent on a drug or overwhelmed by side effects. This provides a unique opportunity to actually heal the root of the problem.

CBD vs THC

Many people are hesitant to use cbd because they know that it comes from the same plant as THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another cannabinoid. This one is largely responsible for many of the psychoactive effects that a person can experience when smoking marijuana.

Marijuana is quite a powerful drug and it’s understandable that some people would want to ensure that they’re not going to get high when using cbd. Rest assured, cbd and THC have vastly different effects, and cbd is not psychoactive at all.

This is interesting because structurally, cbd and THC are almost identical. Their molecules have the same number and same type of atoms; they are simply arranged differently. This contributes to the vast differences in experiences when using these two compounds.

CBD Effects

The interesting thing about cbd is that it will not have many effects if you are not treating an actual problem. That is to say, cbd works by helping to restore balance and function to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), as mentioned earlier. If your endocannabinoid system is in perfect health, then taking cbd won’t do much for you.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us have at least some imbalance in our ECS. These imbalances can come from a number of things that we’re exposed to on a daily basis: pollution, stress, unhealthy food, etc.

For these people, cbd is known for providing a number of positive benefits:

  • Reduced inflammation, improving pain and swelling for people with problems like arthritis
  • Increased relaxation and ability to fall asleep
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Improved sociability
  • Improved concentration
  • Improved digestion

All of these benefits can work together to help ward off various illnesses and diseases.

Does CBD Get You High?

cbd does not get you high. As mentioned earlier, the cbd molecule is nearly identical to the THC molecule. However, because of the arrangement of these molecules, the two compounds act entirely different inside the body.

THC directly affects the body whereas cbd indirectly affects the body. This is why THC is much more apparent when ingested than cbd.

CBD Products

There are a huge number of different products containing cbd available. The variety in products allows for patients to choose from a number of ways of consuming cbd. The different methods of taking cbd will provide differences in the effects and duration of the substance.

  • CBD oil and tinctures are among the most popular CBD products. These oils and tinctures are so popular that we have dedicated a section to them below.
  • cbd capsules. Capsules are great for oral use but they can also be broken apart and taken sublingually or under-the-tongue. Capsules tend to come on slower than the other methods of using cbd but they also last for a bit longer.
  • Smokeables and vape products are useful for people who have acute problems like pain or panic attacks. These products can be inhaled and the effects felt almost immediately, though they tend to wear off much quicker.
  • Topical products. There are a number of products made with cbd that can be applied directly to the skin. These products are great because the active ingredient can be absorbed into the skin and there won’t be any effects on a person’s mental or physical site except where they apply it.

CBD Oil

cbd oil is one of the most popular forms of using CBD. This is because the oil provides you with a concentrated form of the active extract that can be consumed in a number of ways

The most effective way to use cbd oil is to take it sublingually. This involves holding the oil under your tongue for about 5 minutes so the cbd can be absorbed into the blood vessels there. This causes it to hit you faster and you’ll end up using less of it this way, thus saving money.

cbd oil is also used in the making of a number of other CBD products, like edibles.

CBD Edibles

cbd edibles are one of the most popular ways to consume CBD. People have had great success using cbd oil to make snacks and treats filled with CBD that people can eat. Ranging from cbd gummies to CBD peanut butter, edibles are a great way to medicate yourself.

One of the best things about edibles is that they are more slowly metabolized than the other forms of cbd. This means that the active effects may come on a bit slower but they will linger for much longer.

CBD and Anxiety

One of the most popular uses for cbd gummies and other forms of CBD is for helping people manage anxiety.

Many people were baffled by the implications of this, particularly because THC is well-known for causing anxiety in many people. Folks were wondering how a cannabinoid – especially one so similar to THC – could be used for fighting anxiety.

We’ll discuss the reasoning a bit more in the neurochemistry section below. For now, the simple fact of the matter is that cbd helps to manage anxiety by relaxing the mind and body, as well as balancing out the endocannabinoid system.

cbd has been shown to be useful for fighting all sorts of anxiety, ranging from generalized anxiety to panic disorder. Many have found success using a vape pen to help them manage acute panic attacks. cbd has even been shown to help fight anxiety associated with serious conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder.

CBD and Depression

cbd has proven to be a very exciting alternative for helping people manage depression.

Many traditional antidepressants are known for causing a huge number of side effects. These drugs often take a long time to work – many people have to use them for up to three weeks before these drugs work – and they often have drastic effects on a person’s physical and mental health.

cbd might not be as potent as some of these antidepressants, but it targets the problem in a much more holistic manner. Instead of blunting your emotions or inhibiting your ability to feel depressed by overloading your brain with neurotransmitters, cbd helps you overcome acute symptoms of depression so you’re actually able to identify and heal the root of the problem.

cbd gummies and other forms of CBD are a great tool for helping some people get the treatment that they need to actually eliminate their depression. After this, they can stop using cbd. This is in stark contrast to traditional antidepressants which many people find themselves using for the rest of their lives.

Neurochemistry and CBD

We have touched on the subject of cbd and neurochemistry in this article, but only briefly. In this section we will give a bit more information about the way cbd affects our brain and nervous system.

As mentioned, cbd affects the ECS. This massive system of neurotransmitters and receptors is responsible for governing many facets of our brains and bodies. It helps to regulate our immune system, manage our digestion, regulate our mental health, and generally help to ensure that we function properly.

Unfortunately, many of us have an imbalance in the ECS. cbd works by helping to restore balance to this vast system by indirectly influencing it.

This is one of the reasons that cbd has such vastly different effects than THC. THC directly binds to what are known as cannabinoid receptors. By binding to these receptors, THC can have a direct, immediate, and profound effect on this entire system.

CBD, on the other hand, works indirectly. Not only does it not bind to the receptors, but it actually makes it more difficult for substances like THC to bind to them. Instead, cbd works ‘behind the scenes’ to have a positive and regulatory effect on certain neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and our own naturally produced cannabinoids.

CBD Dosage

The dosage that one requires when they are using cbd depends on their condition and how serious it is. Dosages vary greatly between people and since cbd hasn’t been approved by federal organizations there is no standard dosage.

However, there are certainly some standards that one could expect to use.

  • People with anxiety may need anywhere from 10 to 50 mg of cbd. 10 mg doses of capsules or oils can be useful for helping to treat mild-to-moderate social anxiety and general anxiety. Higher doses can stave off a panic attack in its tracks.
  • People with pain or inflammation often require slightly higher doses. 20 mg can be effective for mild-to-moderate inflammation, but doses of anywhere from 50-100 mg are quite common.
  • People with depression often take higher doses, beginning at around 50 mg. However, people with melancholy or mild depression caused by situations or events can find some improvement using around 20 mg.
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Keep in mind the way that you consume your cbd also has an impact on how much you need. Consuming cbd gummies or tinctures orally causes some of the drug to be destroyed by the liver before it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. Taking it sublingually helps to prevent this and reduces the amount required by about 40 percent.

CBD Side Effects

The vast majority of people won’t experience any side effects from cbd. Aside from the fact that higher doses might make you sleepy and unfit to drive a motor vehicle, cbd won’t cause any serious side effects unless you are allergic to cannabinoids.

That said, some people are extremely sensitive to the compound. These people may experience symptoms like dry mouth, diarrhea, and nausea. However, this may indicate that the medicine was not prepared properly or was produced in a facility with low safety and health standards.

One thing to be noted is that people using THC for recreational purposes might find the effects diminished if they use cbd. However, people who are using THC for medicinal purposes often find that the benefits are enhanced when they are using cbd in addition to THC.

Hopefully, this article has helped you to better understand cbd and the powerful benefits that it can provide for you and those that you love. Good luck healing yourself with this fantastic medicine.

Cannabidiol (CBD) in the Self-Treatment of Depression-Exploratory Study and a New Phenomenon of Concern for Psychiatrists

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Associated Data

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Abstract

Cannabis sativa, whose flowers are also known as marijuana or marihuana, is a recreational plant that contains many chemicals that are constantly being studied by scientists around the world. One of these substances is cannabidiol (CBD), which has gained widespread popularity on the internet as a cure for mental health problems, leading many people to use CBD to self-treat depression and anxiety. This article presents an exploratory cohort study (n = 90) of a group of people aged 16–69 using CBD to self-heal depression symptoms. The survey included basic sociodemographic questionnaire and validated Hospital Depression and Anxiety Scale. And was distributed via the Internet. The results were statistically analyzed. High school degree was the most commonly held education (46%), large city was the most popular place of living (33%) and majority of the respondents have a full-time job (53%). Only 19% of the respondents consult their doctor or pharmacists about taking CBD. On the group of psychiatric patients, only 49% of respondents tell their psychiatrist about using the compound. Psychiatrists should be aware of CBD use in their patients during their daily practice, as CBD use can be found within people from all walks of life, and due to public interest, there is a need for education and research on the efficacy and safety of CBD use for mental disorders.

Introduction

Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana or marihuana, is a plant with psychoactive properties used primarily for recreational purposes. However, in recent years, numerous studies have been conducted that have found its beneficial effects in the treatment of many diseases (1). Marijuana-derived compounds, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinecrotic properties, are considered promising agents that are increasingly used in research related to Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia, as well as in the treatment of chronic pain (2–4). The substances contained in marijuana are called cannabinoid com-pounds. The most potent constituent of cannabis is natural tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive properties of marijuana (1). Among other compounds, one is especially notable–cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound which could be useful in depression treatment, as the studies have demon-strated the activity of CBD as a partial agonist of 5HT1a serotonin receptors, which could be beneficial in the treatment of depression and anxiety by using this substance, but this still requires extensive research (5).

CBD appears to be relatively safe substance in preliminary studies, but there are several side effects that should be mentioned. CBD is one of the better tolerated substances compared to THC, mainly due to its lower addictive potential (6). In the available literature, the adverse effects described mainly refer to studies in animal models and depend on the dose taken and the duration of use. The use of CBD in animals resulted in the development of drug toxicity, increased fetal mortality, liver cell damage, inhibition of spermatogenesis, and hypotension, but it should be mentioned that the doses used in animals were above the recommended amounts for humans (7). The most common side effects reported in studies of cannabinoid use for epilepsy or psychotic disorders were fatigue, diarrhea, and appetite disturbances (8). Other side effects reported after CBD use included vomiting, insomnia, and hepatologic disorders. Nonetheless, in certain conditions CBD could be dangerous, as it is metabolized in the liver with the involvement of CYP3A4, which affects its interactions with many drugs that are also processed with the involvement of this enzyme system (including anti-fungals, clarithromycin, or rifampicin) (7).

The public is very interested in natural methods to treat depression. Scientists are focusing on the study of dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic substance found in many plants, and psilocybin, a psychedelic that occurs naturally in mushrooms such as psilocybin cubensis (9). The popularity of CBD in the treatment of depression is as great in society as the popularity of the use of DMT or psilocybin-on October 15, 2021, the Google search engine returns 6,370,000 results for the term “CBD depression treatment,” and information on this topic can be found on such well-known websites as the New York Times or Forbes (10, 11). Despite the great popularity that the use of CBD for depression enjoys on the Internet, in our opinion, the scientific data on the efficacy and safety of this substance in the treatment of depression remain sparse. It is not difficult to find groups on social media (e.g., Facebook) where experiences are shared about the use of CBD for self-care for mental health and where people (often without medical training) recommend certain products from the Internet along with dosage. Self-care for mental health has its limits, and that is when patients turn to supplements and products purchased online without the knowledge of their doctor, as this is potentially dangerous. There are documented over-the-counter uses of St. John’s wort in combination with serotonin reuptake inhibitors that resulted in the development of serotonin syndrome (12). Because we do not know much about CBD, we believe that people who use CBD to self-medicate should be closely monitored. We were unable to find appropriate studies describing this phenomenon in any disease, although previous literature suggests that self-medication with CBD exists for chronic pain, anxiety, and depression (13). In our opinion, the availability of CBD on the retail market is disproportionate to the number of scientific reports on the efficacy and safety of CBD, because in many European countries such as Austria, Spain, Sweden, Germany or France you can easily buy CBD legally (14). This situation is potentially dangerous from a medical perspective for both patients and medical staff, as people risk potentially treacherous intoxication by searching social media for unverified data on the ingestion of rather unknown substances. Therefore, as a group of psychiatrists, we decided to investigate the problematic phenomenon of using CBD to self-treat depressive symptoms, as it is important to learn more about the people who choose to do so. We aimed to explore the basic demographic and epidemiological characteristics of people who use CBD to self-treat their depressive disorders and to demonstrate the fact that this phenomenon exists. The study was exploratory in nature, therefore we did not rise any particular research questions.

Materials and Methods

The study was designed by psychiatrists from the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice and was conducted according to the guide-lines of the Declaration of Helsinki and Good Clinical Practice. It included 23 questions in Polish in the areas of: general sociodemographic parameters, general psychiatric interview of patients, questions related to CBD intake: frequency, dosage and form of consumption, improvement of wellbeing after CBD intake and additionally included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaire. The HADS is one of the most widely used self-assessment questionnaires for screening anxiety/depression symptoms and focuses mainly on the cognitive and psychological aspects. It is used in both the general medical population and the healthy population. The HADS consists of a total of 14 items on 2 separate subscales: Anxiety (HADS-A) and Depression (HADS-D), and the total score ranges from 0 to 42 points. Currently, the categorization system includes several groups: 0–7, normal; 8–10, mild; 11–15, moderate; over 16, severe (15). The survey was uploaded to the Internet via Google Forms, Google’s original online survey tool. The form consisted of 5 separate pages-consent to the study, questions about demographic data, questions about previous psychiatric treatment, questions about CBD use, and the HADS questionnaire. Data were collected via Facebook from August 27, 2021 to September 16, 2021. We asked administrators of depression, mental illness, and CBD use groups and websites to help us collect data, and they actively provided a link to the form on their websites, therefore we could not estimate the amount of people who received the link to the survey. Incomplete questionnaires were rejected. To ensure complete anonymity, as marihuana is still generally a taboo subject, no personal or contact information was collected, including email addresses or IP addresses that would identify respondents. For that reason, we had to avoid sampling methods that would be normally used in such study. We had to avoid using data collection enhancement methods, as they would require us to use more complex technical methods that would not allow data anonymization. Participation in the survey was voluntary, respondents were informed of the purpose of the survey and were required to answer in the affirmative to the first question “I use CBD oil to improve symptoms of depression and agree to participate in this anonymous study (or as a minor, I have the consent of my legal guardian to participate),” otherwise they were not given access to the questionnaire. Ninety seven responses were collected, of which 7 subjects, after reading the manual, did not agree to submit their anonymous responses to analysis.

The collected data were analyzed using STATISTICA 13.0 software (StatSoft, Kraków, Poland). Qualitative variables were tested using the chi-square test. The Shapiro-Wilk test was used to check whether quantitative variables conformed to the normal distribution. The test revealed that not all variables conformed to the normal distribution. In case of non-normal distribution, Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare two independent groups, while Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare multiple independent samples. Spearman’s rank order correlation test was used to test the relationship between the variables. Statistical significance was assumed at p < 0.05.

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Results

We collected 90 correctly completed questionnaires from the respondents. The study comprised a group of males and females of comparable size who did not differ significantly in age, education and type of occupation. One person reported being non-binary and was excluded from the statistical analysis. The youngest respondent was 16 years old and the oldest was 69 years old. High school degree was the most commonly held education (46%), large city was the most popular place of living (33%) and majority of the respondents have a full-time job (53%). Majority of the respondents claim that they either trust or probably trust the psychiatrists. The detailed characteristics of the study population are shown in Table 1 . There is no difference in trust in psychiatrists between the groups. Respondents’ place of residence differs between gender groups, but the significance level is borderline, which could be tested if a larger sample of respondents were used.

Table 1

All Male Female
n 90 42 48
% 100% 46,7% 53,3%
Average age 33,7 32,9 34,5
Education High school degree 46% 43% 50%
Vocational school 9% 7% 8%
Higher bachelor’s degree or equivalent 14% 14% 15%
Higher masters or equivalent 30% 33% 27%
Doctorate or higher academic title 1% 2% 0%
Place of living Village 21% 26% 17%
Small town (up to 50,000 inhabitants) 21% 12% 29%
Medium-sized city (from 50,000 to 200,000 inhabitants) 25% 19% 29%
A large city (over 200,000 inhabitants) 33% 43% 25%
Type of work Full-time job 53% 50% 54%
Entrepreneur 15% 21% 10%
Another form of employment 10% 10% 10%
Unemployed 7% 10% 4%
Seasonal job 7% 2% 10%
Student 5% 2% 8%
Pupil 3% 5% 2%
Do you trust psychiatrists? Definitely not 6% 2% 8%
Probably not 29% 36% 23%
Probably yes 44% 43% 46%
Yes 21% 19% 23%

Majority of the respondents were or still are treated by a psychiatrist (55%) and started using CBD for depressed mood (69%). The most commonly consumed other psychoactive substance was caffeine (47%). Only 19% of respondents consulted a doctor or pharmacists about taking CBD, and most respondents (59%) consume CBD daily. Majority of the respondents (57%) are currently under the supervision of a psychiatrist and a little over half (51%) do not tell their psychiatrists about their use of CBD. Majority of respondents said they felt better after CBD treatment (86%). The detailed characteristics of CBD use for self-treatment of mental disorders are shown in Table 2 .

Table 2

CBD consumption characteristics.

All Male Female
n 90 42 48
% 100% 46,7% 53,3%
Have you ever been diagnosed / diagnosed or treated / treated by a psychiatrist? Yes 55% 40% 67%
No 45% 60% 33%
Answers only from the group of people who have ever been diagnosed or treated by a psychiatrist (n = 50) Why did you receive psychiatric treatment? Anxiety disorders 76% 94% 66%
Depression 72% 76% 69%
Insomnia 36% 35% 37%
Personality disorder 16% 18% 13%
Addiction 14% 18% 13%
Bipolar affective disorder 4% 0% 6%
Schizophrenia 4% 6% 3%
Does your psychiatrist know you are taking CBD? Yes 49% 47% 50%
No 51% 53% 50%
Are you undergoing psychiatric treatment right now? Yes 57% 41% 66%
No 43% 59% 34%
Why did you start to use CBD? Depressed mood 69% 74% 65%
Anxiety 62% 60% 65%
Insomnia 58% 45% 69%
No motivation 48% 38% 56%
Problems with concentration 40% 33% 46%
Energy drop 37% 26% 46%
What other psychoactive substances are you using? Caffeine 47% 55% 40%
THC 38% 50% 27%
Nicotine 33% 26% 40%
Alcohol 21% 33% 10%
Hallucinogenic substances 7% 7% 6%
Psychostimulants 2% 0% 4%
None 29% 19% 38%
Where did you first heard of CBD? Internet 62% 76% 50%
Friends 29% 17% 40%
Family 8% 5% 10%
Television 1% 2% 0%
Have you consulted CBD consumption with a doctor or a pharmacist? Yes 19% 14% 23%
No 81% 86% 77%
Where do you buy CBD most often? Online shop 66% 67% 65%
Local store 22% 24% 21%
Pharmacy 2% 0% 4%
Friends 10% 10% 10%
What form do you most often consume CBD? CBD oil 73% 62% 83%
Hemp drought 26% 38% 15%
Pure CBD in the form of a spray 1% 0% 2%
How often do you consume CBD? Every day 59% 60% 58%
A few times a week 22% 21% 23%
Several times a month 13% 10% 17%
Several times a year 4% 7% 2%
Less often 1% 2% 0%
Do you usually measure the same doses of CBD? No, I’m not measuring my doses 38% 43% 33%
Yes, 1–50 milligrams a day 39% 33% 44%
Yes, 51 to 100 milligrams a day 9% 10% 8%
Yes, 101 to 150 milligrams a day 9% 10% 8%
Yes, 151 to 200 milligrams a day 3% 5% 2%
More than 200 milligrams a day 2% 0% 4%

Women were more likely to be diagnosed or treated by a psychiatrist compared to men (χ 2 =; 6.19 p = 0.01; chi-square test). Among the psychiatric disorders treated, men were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders (χ 2 = 4.87; p = 0.027; chi-square test). No significant difference was found between genders for the other disorders. Women were significantly more likely than men to take CBD due to insomnia (χ 2 = 5.07; p = 0.024) and energy depletion (χ 2 = 3.72; p = 0.05 (borderline); chi-square test). Men were significantly more likely than women to use THC (χ 2 = 5; p = 0.025) and alcohol (χ 2 = 7.06; p = 0.008 chi-square test).

Men were significantly more likely than women to learn about CBD from the Internet, while women learned from friends and family (χ 2 = 8.61; p = 0.04 chi-square test). Respondents most frequently purchased CBD from online stores, while the most common form of CBD consumption was CBD oil, which was significantly more frequently consumed by women (χ 2 = 7.12; p = 0.03 chi-square test).

Majority of the respondents (53%) claim that CBD made them feel overall better and 88% of the respondents would more likely take CBD than a prescription drug from a psychiatrist. Table 3 shows detailed psychiatric outcome analysis for respondents using CBD.

Table 3

Assessment of CBD effects on mental health of respondents.

All Male Female
n 90 42,00 48,00
% 100% 46,7% 53,3%
Did CBD make you feel overall better? Definitely not 6% 7% 4%
Probably not 8% 10% 6%
Probably yes 33% 31% 35%
Definitely yes 53% 52% 54%
With your current knowledge, would you be more likely to take CBD or prescription drugs from a psychiatrist? Prescription drugs 12% 64% 36%
CBD 88% 44% 56%
HADS–average result Anxiety 10,43 9,17 11,58
Depression 8,04 8 8,16
HADS categories in anxiety subscale Normal 31% 43% 21%
Mild 20% 19% 21%
Moderate 31% 24% 38%
Severe 18% 14% 21%
HADS categories in depression subscale Normal 53% 52% 54%
Mild 17% 21% 13%
Moderate 26% 21% 29%
Severe 4% 5% 4%

Out of respondents who are or were treated by a psychiatrist, the most commonly drugs prescribed were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (16%). Table 4 shows which prescription medications were or are being taken by respondents. Greater improvement in wellbeing was reported by younger respondents (r = −0.22; p < 0.02; Spearman's rank-order correlation). There was no correlation between reported improvement in wellbeing after CBD use and: (1) frequency of CBD use, (2) amount of CBD dose taken, or (3) form of CBD use.

Table 4

Psychiatric medications taken by respondents.

Substance n
Medications taken by respondents in the past Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors 16%
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors 12%
Trazodone 6%
Opipramol 4%
Alprazolam 3%
Hydroxyzine 3%
Pregabalin 3%
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors 2%
Quetiapine 2%
Aripiprazole 1%
Lamotrigine 1%
Mianserin 1%
Mirtazapine 1%
Olanzapine 1%
Risperidone 1%
I do not remember the names 16%
I have never received any prescription drugs from my psychiatrist 7%
Medications currently taken by respondents Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors 8%
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors 8%
Pregabalin 6%
Trazodone 3%
Alprazolam 1%
Aripiprazole 1%
Quetiapine 1%
Lamotrigine 1%
Mirtazapine 1%
Olanzapine 1%
Opipramole 1%
I am currently not using any prescription drugs 38%

Under the HADS Anxiety subscale, 69% of respondents qualified for the group that exceeded the norm criteria (score > 7 points), while in the case of the HADS sub-scale, 47% exceeded this cut-off point.

93% of the respondents did not observe any negative effects of CBD consumption. Two respondents reported the occurrence of anxiety disorders during therapy, while 1 respondent reported the following symptoms: depressed mood, addiction, diarrhea, xerostomia.

Only 17% of respondents reported that they were currently taking psychotropic drugs. This group is too small to perform a statistical analysis using the above statistical tests. 49% of respondents admit to having taken the above drugs in their lifetime. Individuals who admit to taking psychotropic drugs in the past are significantly more likely to trust psychiatrists (p < 0.0001; Mann Whitney U test).

Discussion

The path to the use of CBD in psychiatry is partially clear, as CBD has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a drug for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy, suggesting that the compound has a satisfactory long-term safety profile for this neurological condition (16). Data on the benefits of CBD in reducing the severity of depressive symptoms and anxiety are limited but promising. Some studies show that CBD is useful in treating depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and even problematic cannabis use, as well as in reducing the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, with little to no side effects such as diarrhea, which decreased over time (17, 18). Clinical studies are also encouraged by the authors of publications summarizing the achievements of science in the field of CBD use in psychiatry. They point out that studies in larger groups of people are necessary not only to determine the safety and usefulness of the substances in psychiatric treatment, but also to determine the efficacy of the treatment in the context of differences in symptoms of gender disorders, since most clinical trials have been conducted mainly in men (19, 20). There is still too many question marks to not monitor people who use CBD on their own. The situation in which patients decide to self-medicate their symptoms with a drug for which there is, for the time being, limited evidence of efficacy and safety is potentially dangerous because, apart from the side effects, such actions may worsen their mental state through the natural progression of depressive disorders, especially since some respondents choose to take more than CBD, including THC or hallucinogens, which may not be neutral among respondents.

The survey involved people of different ages (both minors and retirees), with different levels of education, and living in both rural and urban communities, which means that the use of CBD for self-treatment of depression is not limited to certain social groups. This information may be useful in further planning of scientific and educational activities in this area.

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When analyzing the above responses, it should first be noted that only 19% of respondents consulted their doctor or pharmacist about taking CBD. At the same time, in the group of psychiatric patients, only 49% of respondents informed their psychiatrist about the use of CBD during psychiatric treatment. This situation is potentially dangerous because when patients buy CBD outside the pharmacy, this sale escapes the control of the pharmaceutical regulatory authority, which may encourage the accidental ingestion of other substances than intended, because when sales are outside the control of pharmaceutical regulators, consumers need to trust the honesty of the sellers. The situation of physicians and pharmacists being informed by the patient of the use of a psychoactive substance that is not an approved drug for the condition being treated is also extremely difficult. Categorical prohibition is unlikely to be effective, but it will limit the patient’s honesty at subsequent visits, and acceptance of this state of affairs means that the patient accepts responsibility-at least in part – for the possible adverse effects of taking a psychoactive substance. The situation of physicians and pharmacists will not improve until they have accurate knowledge of the effects of CBD in various clinical situations and of interactions with the most common psychotropic drugs. There is an urgent need to complete this knowledge.

An important element in the mystery of the CBD phenomenon is the chemical composition of the oil itself or the dried fruit you buy. You should keep in mind that in addition to CBD and other cannabinoids, there are substances from other chemical groups, such as terpenoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids. It is possible that these substances may have an impact on the patient’s wellbeing (21). It is important to know this because a possible complex antidepressant effect of Cannabis sativa- derived substances cannot be excluded. Research suggests that CB1 and CB2 receptors are associated with depression and bipolar disorder, and a single nucleotide polymorphism in the CB1 receptor has been observed in patients with treatment-resistant depression (22). CBD is an agonist of the 5HT-1A receptor, which in combination with its action on cannabinoid receptors may lead to a new unique effect (5).

As mentioned in the introduction, the media is eagerly interested in the topic of using CBD to treat depression, and society is picking up on the topic in social media. In public discourse, healthcare professionals should stick to facts. There is not enough data to conclusively confirm or rule out the claim that CBD is useful in treating mental illness. Given the social aspect of CBD use, further research by interdisciplinary teams made up of psychiatrists and pharmacists seems well warranted.

The responses collected shed light on another aspect. When planning further research on the use of CBD to improve symptoms of depressive disorders, it is important to pay attention to validated instruments that help in the diagnosis of depression. The responses to the question about reasons for starting CBD use may suggest that although we asked about self-treatment of depression, and this was clearly explained in the survey instructions and in the first question, some of the public may not fully understand the nature of this disorder. Patients could be suffering from major depressive disorder or mixed depression-anxiety disorder, and since it makes a difference in terms of the proper medical solutions offered byphysicians, it may not make a difference to patients. They might just call both disorders “depression,” whereas according to our HADS-A and HADS-D results, anxiety is actually more prevalent in our study group. Differentiating the causes of depressive disorders on the basis of the currently used International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems will make it possible to reduce methodological errors, contribute to a more rapid resolution of scientific problems and avoid inaccuracy in providing data to other scientists.

Study Limitations

This study is probably the only study to examine the extent of self-treatment of depression with CBD, but it is not free of limitations. The data was collected during COVID-19 pandemic, which could have an impact on the respondents wellbeing in terms of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Due to anonymity of the study, the study was anonymous and was not prospective, therefore, we could not explain if CBD actually helps people who use the substance. The survey was conducted over the Internet, which limits the ability to rule out respondent error in completing the survey and prevents intentional bias from being ruled out. A small group of respondents does not allow for indepth statistical analysis and it is not necessarily representative for the population; furthermore, the selection of the group depends on activity on the Internet. However, the exploratory nature of this study provides solid justification for further research and analysis in this area.

Conclusions

Psychiatrists should be aware of CBD use in their patients during their daily practice, as CBD use can be found within people from all walks of life for self-treatment of depression due to depressed mood. Due to public interest, there is a need for education and research on the efficacy and safety of CBD use for mental disorders.

Data Availability Statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.

Ethics Statement

Ethical review and approval was not required for the study on human participants in accordance with the local legislation and institutional requirements. Written informed consent from the participants’ legal guardian/next of kin was not required to participate in this study in accordance with the national legislation and the institutional requirements.

Author Contributions

GW: conceptualization, project administration, and visualization. GW and MS: methodology and software. GW and RP: validation and writing—review and editing. GW, IS, and MS: formal analysis, investigation, and writing—original draft preparation. GW and IS: resources. MS: data curation. PG and RP: supervision. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Kombinat Konopny, HempNation, Dr. Konopny Siedlce, and Depresja, Stany Lekowe, Ataki Paniki, Fobie. Grupa integracyjna. Facebook group for making their networking channels available so the authors could collect the data.

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