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For millennia, the Cannabis sativaplant has been used as a treatment for numerous physiological and psychiatric conditions. Currently, most studiesin the psychiatric field are focused on distinguishing the potentially therapeutic chemical components contained in the plant for use in treating different mood, and central nervous system conditions.
Of particular interest among these chemicals is cannabidiol (CBD). This a non-psychoactive compound that is found in the plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which has psychotropic effects, CBD, on the contrary, antagonizes these effects.
It is this characteristic together with CBD’s safety profile that triggered more investigations into CBD’s pharmacological properties. Now, it is clear that CBD possesses therapeutic potential in treating a wide range of psychiatric and non-psychiatric mood disorders. These include anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis.
What are Mood Disorders?
According to the FDA, mood disorders are elevated temperaments, which include hypomania or mania, depressed mood and major depression. Some mood disorders cycle between mania and depression and are called bipolar disorder. Patients diagnosed with these conditions often show unpredictable mood swings that cycle between despair and euphoria.
These extreme moods may impact a person’s quality of life by interfering with their routine activities and may end up in dangerous or impulsive behaviors. Even worse, most of these patients suffer from suicidal thoughts.
Mood disorders normally begin during the adolescent period and may last a lifetime. They are controlled using therapeutic remedies such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, psychotherapy and antipsychotics. However, due to the inefficiency and adverse side effects caused by most of these drugs, scientists are actively looking for better alternatives.
The Endocannabinoid system and the treatment of mood disorders using CBD
We all have a neuroactive lipid signaling system in the brain and throughout the body called the endocannabinoid system which controls the release and transmission of neurons. This system consists of endogenous ligands, enzymatic machinery and specific metabotropic receptors that have proven to have a critical influence on the body’s emotional balance (homeostasis) and response to stress. Data from animal modelsshow that this system plays a major role in the development of the brain and is thought to control emotional states from the earliest stages of development.
In addition, a growing body of evidenceexplicitly indicate that low levels of endocannabinoid signaling in the brain may result into both anti-depressive and anxiolytic behavioral responses. Together, both preclinical and clinical data agree that cannabinoid receptor signaling holds great potential for developing a novel class agent for treating mood and anxiety disorders.
The Science Behind CBD and Mood Disorders
Even though CBD’s therapeutic effects have been investigated widely in different biological systems , the mechanisms responsible for its numerous therapeutic effects is still unknown. Nonetheless, it seems to involve multiple pharmacological targets.
According to one study, the authors concluded that acute anxiolytic and anti-depressant-like properties seem to rely majorly on facilitation of 5-HT1A-mediated neurotransmission in critical brain regions such as the medial prefrontal cortex and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.
Other effects caused by CBD such as increased extinction, anti-compulsive behavior and facilitation of neurogenesis of the adult hippocampus could be as a result of anandamide-mediated neurotransmission. Lastly, scientists believe that CBD activates TRPV1 channels which gives the compound its antipsychotic effectsand a bell-shaped dose-response curve on a graph.
Considering its high safety profile and therapeutic potential, scientists are actively seeking to figure out the involvement of other possible mechanisms that could explain CBD’s behavioral effects. These include: inhibition of adenosine uptake, inverse agonism at CB2 receptor, PPARγ receptors agonism, CB1 receptor antagonism, GPR55 antagonism, intracellular increase of calcium ions, etc.
Despite offering a myriad of therapeutic effects, CBD also reduces unwanted side effects caused by antipsychotic medication. For instance, in a recent studyconducted in Italy, the researchers concluded that CBD has a potential to mitigate the symptoms caused by schizophrenia more effectively than some over-the-counter medication. Furthermore, those under CBD and antipsychotic medication reported a decrease in side effects. Another study showed that CBD can alleviate the side effectsof a specific drug called haloperidol.
Are there any side effects of using CBD for Mood Disorders?
The side effects of using crude CBD extracts to treat different types of mood disorders is not very well documented. However, from some of the clinical and preclinical studies, subjects have complained of various side effects which include:
- Increased appetite
- Decreased appetite
- Issues with memory
As suggested by these studies, CBD is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid derived from the Cannabis plant which demonstrates numerous therapeutic effects over a broad range of mood disorders. It reduces brain damage related to ischemic and neurodegenerative conditions, not to mention positive effects in alleviating psychotic and depressive-like tendencies. Even though the mechanisms of these effects still remain somewhat of a mystery, scientists and pharmaceutical companies are hopeful they will soon be able to pin-point the exact constituents needed to formulate the necessary medications.
Research and Case Studies on the effects of Cannabis to treat Mood Disorders:
- Multiple mechanisms involved in the large-spectrum therapeutic potential of cannabidiol in psychiatric disorders
- The endocannabinoid system &the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders
- The endocannabinoid system &psychiatric disorders
- The endocannabinoid system in the regulation of emotions throughout lifespan: A discussion on therapeutic perspectives
- Endocannabinoid system dysfunction in mood and related disorders
- Effects of CBDon regional cerebral blood flow
- Cannabidiol, neuroprotection and neuropsychiatric disorders
- Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Psychosis
- Beyond the CB1Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation?
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Research on Cannabidiol (CBD) as it Relates to:
- General Research Acne ADD - ADHD Addiction AIDS ALS Alzheimers Anorexia Antibiotic Resistance Anxiety Arthritis Asthma Atherosclerosis Autism ASD Bipolar Disorder Cancer Chronic Pain Depression Diabetes Digestive Issues Endocrine Disorders Epilepsy - Seizures Fibromyalgia Glaucoma Heart Disease Huntington's Disease Inflammation Irritable Bowel Syndrome Liver Disease Metabolic Syndrome Migraines Mood Disorders Motion Sickness Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Nausea Neurodegeneration Obesity OCD Osteoporosis Parkinson's Disease PTSD Rheumatism Schizophrenia Sickle Cell Anemia Skin Conditions Sleep Disorders Stress Stroke