Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a cannabinoid in the marijuana and hemp plants. It boasts positive health benefits, both psychological and physiological benefits. Depression is a perfect example.
While CBD can’t cure depression, there is positive research stating CBD has antidepressant-like compounds.
300 million people in the world suffer from depression. One of the most common methods of treating depression is by taking antidepressant medication.
If you’re interested in using CBD alongside your antidepressants, you should understand the possible interactions between CBD and depressant medications. Here is everything you need to know about CBD oil and antidepressants.
What Are Antidepressants?
We already covered CBD, but what exactly are antidepressants? The definition depends on the type of medication you’re prescribed.
In short, antidepressants are prescribed to reduce depressive episodes, but can also be used to treat other ailments such as anxiety and even physical ailments such as migraines.
There are many different classes of antidepressants.
The most common include SNRIs, SSRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants. The exact mechanism isn’t clear. All we do know is they work by increasing your pleasure-inducing neurochemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Unfortunately, antidepressants come with a slew of side effects.
Some of these are harmless, such as increased appetite, slight nausea, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, dry mouth, insomnia, and constipation. Others are more dangerous, such as blurred vision and dizziness.
This is why many depressive patients seek a holistic and safer alternative to treat their depression.
How CBD Manages Depression
CBD is a cannabinoid in the marijuana and hemp plants. It’s non-toxic and comes with very few side effects. Even though it can’t cure depression, there’s enough research that shows CBD can manage your depression.
The secret comes from your endocannabinoid system.
Your endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a system that binds to the cannabinoid receptors when cannabinoids are introduced to your body. This enables cannabinoids to work in many ways.
CBD indirectly affects the CB-2 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors exist in various areas of the body, including the brain.
We’re not completely positive about the role of cannabinoid receptors and depression treatment. The experiments done with animals have shown the ECS does benefit depression.
What we do know is why so many people have depression. The secret lies in a genetic mutation that quickly breaks down the chemical anandamide.
Anandamide is known as the “bliss” chemical since it produces a joyous sensation.
In depressive patients, the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) quickly breaks down anandamide, meaning depressive patients don’t experience the joyous effects of anandamide.
Anandamide is part of the endocannabinoid system. This chemical is naturally produced in the body but anandamide levels can increase by ingesting cannabis.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take psychoactive THC — non-psychoactive CBD will help restore the anandamide levels you’re lacking.
With more anandamide in your system, FAAH won’t break it down as quickly. This means the joyous effects will last.
CBD Oil and Antidepressants: How They Interact
Not enough research has been done to prove this. With the research done and many anecdotal stories found online, many depressive patients want to try CBD while still taking their antidepressants.
But are there any interactions? We don’t know for sure. But here’s what researchers have found.
The CYP450 Pathway
The CYP450 pathway is located in the liver and made up of several enzymes.
These help quickly break down different substances in the body, including medications. The two enzymes that specifically control drug metabolism are CYP3A4 and CYP2D6.
CBD inhibits the function of both enzymes. This means CBD can increase the amount of the medication that’s metabolized in your body.
However, we don’t know the significance of this interaction. In addition, we don’t know how this interaction is caused — it could be by CBD serving size or the CBD ingestion method.
CBD and SSRIs
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the most common type of antidepressants prescribed. They are well-researched, effective, and come with the fewest side effects.
It’s still unclear how CBD interacts specifically with SSRIs. It is reported that many SSRIs are processed through CYP3A4 and CYP2C6 pathways, and CBD can also affect these enzymes, potentially increasing the amount of SSRI within the body. Since we’re unsure about the results of this interaction, always discuss taking CBD with your doctor.
Can You Replace Antidepressants With CBD?
If you want to completely forego your antidepressants and take CBD instead, this is something you definitely need to discuss with your doctor.
First and foremost, you can’t quit taking your antidepressants cold turkey. If you’ve been taking antidepressants for a long time, your body is used to functioning with the medication.
Stopping the medication will result in withdrawal symptoms and can even increase your depression.
Don’t decide on replacing antidepressants with CBD without your doctor’s approval. They will put you on a regimen to wean off antidepressants and increase your CBD quantity.
This usually involves taking fewer antidepressants with each prescription until your body can function without them. While you decrease your antidepressant use, you’ll increase your CBD use.
This helps your body become used to CBD, decreasing the risk of developing side effects.
How to Find the Right CBD Serving Size
No two people have the same CBD serving size. This is usually found with trial and error. While your doctor can help, it’s best you take what makes you feel comfortable.
Start by paying attention to the serving instructions on the CBD products you’re using. Increase or decrease your quantity, depending on your experience.
In addition, each type of CBD product has different serving sizes and instructions. For example, you would vape CBD differently than you would swallow the tincture.
Manage Your Depression with Our CBD Products
Even though CBD isn’t proven to cure depression, the research is positive. But what if you already take antidepressants? There are some interactions between CBD oil and antidepressants.
Talk to your doctor before adding CBD into your antidepressant regimen.