CBD is a faster- and longer-acting antidepressant than conventional medicine
The belief that cannabis is helpful in treating depression is nothing new. It has been used for years as an antidepressant, allowing a large number of individuals lead more fulfilling lives. A new study, however, goes one step further and shows that cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in cannabis, is not just a fast-acting antidepressant; it results in sustained alleviation of depression.
The author of the study, Samia Joca of the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies in Brazil, points out, “The treatments that are currently available, although effective, suffer from partial and lacking response even after weeks of continuous treatment. These issues raise the need for better understanding of depression neurobiology, as well as developing novel and more effective treatment strategies.”
She adds, “In this scenario, CBD emerges as an interesting compound, since it has shown large-spectrum therapeutic potential in preclinical models and clinical trials. Therefore, we became interested in evaluating CBD effects in different animal models of depression with the aim to better characterize its potential as an antidepressant drug, as well as study its underlying mechanisms.”
To reach the conclusions, researchers studied rodents who had been selectively bred in order to develop symptoms associated with depression. They ran a series of common tests that are used to identify depression and concluded that “CBD increased animal’s resilience in stress models of depression, thus indicating an antidepressant-like effect. Moreover, this effect developed rapidly, within one hour, and remained for a week after a single administration, which is not the case for conventional antidepressants.”
In a separate study, the researchers found that CBD’s ability to provide relief to depression resulted in fewer side effects than what is seen with conventional treatments. Joca explained, “We showed that small doses of CBD allowed the effect of small doses of serotonergic antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, to be effective. This indicates that co-administering CBD with serotonergic antidepressants might contribute to the use of smaller doses of the latter, thus decreasing their side effects, without compromising the antidepressant effect. This is a strategy to be further explored in other studies and in the clinical setting.”
This is only a small step toward understanding the role cannabis plays in treating a variety of ailments, but it is still a step. As more research is conducted, the full scope of the drug’s capabilities will be realized.