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Five ways CBD can help your mental health



Depression, anxiety and stress are all conditions with that CBD can have an effect on

Many of us will face battles with our mental health at some point in our lives, and with a pandemic raging and our normal lives curtailed, such issues are more prevalent than ever.

Cannabis Health looks at some of the ways CBD can help with five mental health issues, including depression, OCD and anxiety.


According to the World Health Organisation, depression affects more than 264 million people worldwide.

There are numerous different approaches to treating low mood, all generally focused around medication and talking therapy, or a combination of the two.

However, such therapies don’t work for everyone; as many as 40 per cent of people do not feel any improvement with antidepressant medications.

Many are now turning to CBD, which interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to regulate appetite, body temperature, blood pressure, metabolism, pain and mood.

Researchers believe that CBD relieves symptoms of depression by binding to the CB1 receptor within the endocannabinoid system, reducing nervous system inflammation and regulating the body’s response to serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’.

Furthermore, CBD comes without the side effects that often accompany prescription anti-depressants, such as insomnia, fatigue and sexual issues.


Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders, with an estimated four per cent of the population suffering from some form of the condition.

Increasing numbers are turning to CBD to help; a 2019 poll found that 37 per cent of users take the supplement to relieve anxiety.

While research is ongoing, preliminary findings from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest that CBD may reduce stress in animals such as rats.

Study subjects were observed to have lower behavioural signs of anxiety, and physiological symptoms, such as increased heart rate, also improved.


Last year, a study by Washington State University found that the severity of symptoms for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, was reduced by about half within just four hours of smoking cannabis.

The study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, also found that higher doses and cannabis with higher concentrations of CBD, or cannabidiol, were associated with larger reductions in compulsions.

However, researchers were careful to point out that the effects were short-term, saying further research was needed to truly assess CBD’s usefulness.


Anecdotally, many people say that one of their primary reasons for using CBD is for stress relief.

And while many studies focus on short-term effects, research last year found that long-term cannabis use reduced stress – in rats at least.

Researchers measured levels of the stress hormone corticosterone before and after a 30-day period rats, who were in either a control group or one of three test groups that were given access to cannabis of low, medium, or high potencies.

After the 30-day period, the female rats that had access to the medium potency cannabis demonstrated a significantly muted physiological response.


With more than a third of adults not getting the recommended hour of sleep, CBD is becoming increasingly popular as a treatment for insomnia and related issues.

While the effect of cannabis on sleeping patterns remains an underdeveloped area of research, early findings are promising. 

A 2019 study found that levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – reduced significantly in participants who took between 300 and 600mg of CBD oil.

And even if CBD has no specific impact on sleeping patterns, its ability to reduce anxiety – a common cause of insomnia – is widely researched and accepted amongst the academic community.

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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