Strangely, the recent pandemic focused the world’s attention on our mental health almost as much as on our physical health. Disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other conditions can affect anyone at any time. Being aware of the signs and symptoms associated with these disorders and understanding the available treatments and therapies is important to managing them, but there is a growing sense that CBD can be a part of a holistic approach to supporting mental health and might even help restore it.
Recent headlines in the healthcare field indicate that CBD is being studied by universities and the Veterans Administration as a treatment for various fear-based and memory-based mental disorders such as anxiety and PTSD. One PTSD study’s abstract helped explain why the researchers initially suspected that CBD could be an effective treatment and wanted to test this:
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a logical therapeutic target for combating PTSD and other fear-based disorders given that cannabinoid receptors and other molecular mediators crucial for ECS signaling are richly expressed in a variety of brain regions that govern the regulation of learned fear and defensive behavior.” (1)
Another study suggested, “CBD acts through CB1 receptors to facilitate fear extinction. Our findings suggest a potential therapeutic use of CBD for extinction-based therapies of aversive memories in humans.” (2)
Let’s break that down. What is the endocannabinoid system, anyway? The ECS is a physiological system in the body involved in maintaining homeostasis of a variety of crucial systems like the digestive system and the nervous system, among others. All vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system, so it’s been around in terms of evolution for a long time. Endocannabinoids are made by ourselves (“endo-”) and are so essential to everyday balance that they are even expressed in mother’s milk.
Since our ECS is essential to balancing our nervous, digestive, and sleep processes, it’s easy to see how it could affect mood, memory, sleep, and appetite. Research suggests that CBD helps balance these systems to produce potential therapeutic benefits, for example, increasing serotonin levels to reduce inflammation, which can help improve mood, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality.
When your ECS is not making enough of the right endocannabinoids, you can substitute phytocannabinoids to make up the difference and help balance these bodily systems. “Phyto-” means plant-based, and we extract phytocannabinoids like CBD and CBN from hemp plants.
What Other Mental Health Disorders Might CBD Help With?
Insomnia and an inability to get to sleep are often closely related to our mental health. Unfortunately, difficulties sleeping typically grow worse as we age, and can be worsened by grief, depression, and loneliness; and by menopause symptoms in women. 57% of people over 65 reported at least one sleep complaint over three years.
CBD and a sister cannabinoid, CBN, can support a better sleep cycle. Many consumers report that CBD alone, and CBD combined with CBN (“the sleepy cannabinoid,”) help them obtain a longer night sleep and help them fall asleep faster. Good mental health begins with a solid night’s sleep!
Evidence indicates that CBD may be an effective treatment for other disorders, particularly when used in combination with other therapies. One study was designed to test whether CBD could combined with traditional exposure therapy to reduce patient phobias.(3)
Although there have been several studies looking at the potential of CBD and THC to treat patients with schizophrenia, recent analyses of studies show such variation in test conditions that the studies’ analysts were unable to conclude anything about CBD’s potential for this tragic condition. Researchers did recommend more controlled and larger studies because some positive results were obtained.
Beyond simply balancing various systems, evidence suggests that CBD may have neuroprotective properties that can help protect the brain from damage associated with certain conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
What Else Can I Do?
Beyond taking supplements to assist in mental healthcare, self-care and lifestyle changes can make a big difference in managing these issues. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise and sleep, and practicing stress-reduction techniques are all key components of a holistic approach to mental health. One excellent, time-honored, self-care technique is practicing meditation, which is proven to help reduce anxiety and stress, and to help you focus.
Try to develop a regular nighttime routine that teaches your body to expect sleep after certain activities, like brushing your teeth and maybe reading a book quietly under dim, yellow light. Avoid blue light and physical activity for an hour or two before you want to sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and avoid long daytime naps which might disrupt nighttime sleep. Pure Hemp Botanicals’ Pure Sleep product line can be an important part of your nighttime routine. Our blend of CBD plus CBN with melatonin helps quiet the mind, promotes relaxation, and supports a longer, deeper sleep cycle. We suggest trying it as a part of a more-regulated sleep routine for several weeks before you decide if it’s right for you. To help with that, we’re offering a limited-time special – buy two jars of gummies and we’ll give you one free. We suggest testing one or two gummies per night, taken about an hour before you want to begin sleeping.
As we saw with schizophrenia, please remember that more research is needed before we understand how and why CBD may be helpful for mental health issues. So when considering using cannabinoids like CBD and CBN to help support or treat mental health conditions, it is important to do your research and speak to your healthcare provider to ensure it is safe for you.