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It has been a tough few months, with a pandemic and lockdowns for most nations across the world, as well as a struggling global economy, and many have struggled with a decline in mental health. The statistics for the number of people affected by mental health are staggering. It is estimated that 10% of the world’s population has a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. With the sudden surge in people being affected, a dialogue has opened up, enabling people to make some proactive changes to manage their mental wellbeing.
There has been a shift towards adopting a more holistic approach to our health, which often coincides with conventional mental health coping practices. Some are turning to CBD to help supplement their day-to-day experiences with mental health disorders. This, perhaps, has much to do with CBD’s reputed connection with anxiety relief and its increased availability since being legalised in many countries. Anxiety is now considered the most prevalent mental health condition globally and has now overtaken those suffering from depression in numbers.
This article will explore how a holistic approach to mental health can be incorporated into our daily lives, and the possible ways CBD may support a healthier mind. First, let us understand the basics of CBD, its legality, and how it could be connected to managing mental health.
Introduction to CBD for Mental Health
For many years, cannabis plants have been utilised for their holistic, potentially therapeutic properties. The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different compounds, which are known as cannabinoids. While THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is well-known for its psychoactive properties, we must notice another prominent compound. CBD (otherwise known as cannabidiol), does not have any intoxicating effects, and may, in fact, play a role in supporting our mental health.
CBD is made by extracting the cannabinoid from cannabis plants. Once the CBD oil is extracted from the plant and any solvents have been removed, the CBD oil can then be refined and formulated into various products. There are currently three main types of CBD available on the market:
- CBD Isolate - Contains only CBD. An isolate CBD product is an excellent option if you do not like the notion of using any THC in or on your body. Although the other CBD types only contain trace amounts of THC (not nearly enough to cause any intoxicating effects), many do not want to risk experiencing associated side effects or consuming an illegal amount of THC.
- CBD Full-Spectrum -Comprises CBD, THC and other compounds found in the cannabis plants. Some people choose to use a full-spectrum product as various research has revealed that when cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, are taken in conjunction, it amplifies the potential beneficial impacts. This is a phenomenon identified as the entourage effect. Some studies also suggest that CBD can counteract the adverse effects caused by THC.
- CBD Broad-Spectrum -Includes other cannabis compounds, apart from THC. Similar to full-spectrum CBD, products labelled as broad-spectrum contain multiple cannabinoids, which are still said to provide the benefits of the entourage effect without any risk of the psychoactive effects of THC.
The variety of products now available on the market makes CBD an excellent option for people who prefer alternative methods to establish wellness. The ways CBD can be used include:
- Oral: This includes CBD infused oils, CBD oil drops, CBD tinctures, sprays, and capsules.
- Edible: This can include CBD infused mints, chocolate, gummies, and drinks.
- Inhaled: CBD oil can be specially formulated to be used as a vaping oil.
- Topical: These products include CBD salves, CBD lotions, and CBD creams, which are applied directly to the skin. While topical applications may produce localised effects, only CBD products taken by mouth are likely to have any psychological benefits.
It is important to note that, while hemp-derived CBD that contains less than 0.2% THC is legal in the UK, you should always check that a third-party lab has tested the product for safety and efficacy. These lab results will tell you how much CBD is in the product, whether there are any other cannabinoids present (such as THC), and confirm it is safe and legal for use. While there is considerable progress being made in strengthening the regulations of CBD production, as a consumer, it is still worth only buying and using products that are accompanied by a certificate of analysis (COA).
Now that we have a basic grasp of CBD, let’s move onto how it can be included as a complementary method to mental health. After all, we are all different, and our emotions need a tailored approach to be personally managed in order for us to achieve a positive outlook on our lives and emotional wellbeing.
Why Consider A Holistic Approach to Mental Health?
Complementary and alternative approaches, such as the introduction of CBD, take a holistic method to your mental and physical wellbeing. Holisticism aims to consider all aspects of your physical and emotional wellbeing as a whole, rather than focusing on any single or particular symptom. For example, CBD has the potential to support the mind and body whilst potentially helping to establish an overall balance in the body.
Many holistic approaches have origins found in ancient Eastern philosophies of health and the types of traditional healing methods used commonly before the development of modern treatment models. There are several reasons you might decide to try complementary or alternative therapies to support mental health. For example:
- You would like to try an all-natural product to support your mental health journey.
- You have already tried many conventional treatments and would like to include a more holistic approach to your self-care.
- You are on a conventional treatment waiting list and would like to try something to help supplement your symptom management during the interim.
- You want to care for your mind and body simultaneously with one natural product.
- You are curious to explore the potential benefits of an alternative approach to looking after your mental health.
Can CBD Support Mental Health Problems?
Complementary and alternative therapies can be applied to support both physical and mental health challenges. The particular difficulties that they can support will depend on your overall health and lifestyle. When CBD is used as part of a holistic approach, this may help some with their battle through anxiety and depression. Some people also find CBD may help with sleep problems, feelings of stress, and supplementing relaxation.
In the 1990s, scientists discovered that the body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). There is still a lot that is unknown about the endocannabinoid system; however, it is understood that the ECS takes care of many essential regulatory functions, such as immune responses, sleep, and mood.
The endocannabinoid system’s receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as throughout the brain. Our bodies actually naturally produce their own cannabinoids, which are known as endocannabinoids. Studies are currently indicating that CBD cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system in the same way as our endocannabinoids.
The effects of serotonin on mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are well known. Serotonin is a chemical produced by the brain, and it helps regulate mood, as well as many other bodily functions. By increasing the serotonin levels in the brain, it may be possible to improve mood, certain bodily functions, and general wellbeing.
Researchers have found that the brain regulates serotonin levels in different ways in people with mental health conditions. They often have lower levels of serotonin, which can cause depression and generally pretty low moods. There is a theory that CBD may have the potential to target the brain’s serotonin receptors and help boost mood.
One 2018 clinical study found that CBD may have mood supporting properties due to its impact on serotonin levels. The exact way CBD may be able to do this is still unclear. Still, ongoing studies show that CBD (when compared to other cannabinoids) had possibly significant and potentially mood-lifting effects.
There have been some additional studies that support the conclusion that CBD may be helpful in helping to manage anxiety symptoms often caused by stress. One particular study
took place in 2019, where test subjects were put in circumstances that they found stressful, such as public speaking. It was found that CBD may help improve performance anxiety for those with and without pre-existing anxiety disorders.
Does a Holistic Approach Work?
As with most things in life, different things work for different people. The important thing is not to give up, and to try different approaches until you find the most useful or effective strategy.
The majority of evidence to back up complementary and alternative methods is based on traditional use, rather than modern scientific research. This makes it challenging to provide solid evidence for how different holistic approaches are performing for those with mental health problems. However, if we examine the overwhelming reports from people who have adopted complementary methods, many people say they find natural or holistic methods helpful in managing or relieving their symptoms.
If you are interested in trying CBD in addition to conventional treatment, monitor your symptoms closely. A daily record of how you feel can help check that you are on the best possible dose of CBD for supplementing your symptoms. With CBD, it is recommended to start on a low dose, and to slowly increase the amount until you achieve the desired results.
CBD and Common Mental Health Disorders
With mental illness being one of the most prevalent health issues worldwide, no matter who you are or where you live, it is no surprise that people are searching for additional ways to make their lives healthier and happier. The root cause of a diminishing of mental health is usually due to a combination of psychological, environmental, and even genetic factors.
When a mental health disorder transpires, it can affect your mood, behaviour, and thinking patterns. It is essential not to leave it untreated, and to find a way to help remedy the symptoms when they first begin to appear. Whether you are receiving conventional treatment or are looking to include a natural product in your mental wellness routine, CBD supplements have been found by many as a practical addition to your mental self-care routine.
There are many different types of mental health disorders, and each one can affect us individually.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - This is one of the most widespread mental health disorders. It occurs when a sufferer is having difficulty recovering from a traumatic experience. Unsurprisingly, the number of people with PTSD has increased since COVID-19, as it has been a distressing experience for many people.
This condition can remain with the sufferer for years and is generally characterized by experiencing ‘triggers’ that bring back the traumatic experience. CBD oil has been found to possibly support the relief of some PTSD symptoms, including the possible prevention of nightmares and flashbacks, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and much more. If PTSD is left untreated, it can affect your ability to function normally, making it challenging for you to perform your job or cope with everyday life.
CBD is a fantastic choice for people living with PTSD, as CBD may help support a healthy life and be used alongside any conventional therapy that may be required. CBD is a totally natural option that works with your body and is a great way to take back a bit of control over your mental health.
- Anxiety Disorders -Health Europa reported that nearly 4% of the global population suffer from anxiety. Although anxiety is a natural biological response when your brain senses danger, in some cases, it can spiral into a severe mental illness if the symptoms are constantly present.
People with an anxiety condition have symptoms that include persistent worrying, fear, intrusive thoughts, and general emotional distress. These can cause them to become self-inhibited. Anxiety is actually one of the biggest ‘success killers’, as it causes the sufferer to develop a distorted perception of reality, which can then lead to self-sabotage.
Some have turned to CBD oil to help ease the distress of anxiety, and there have been many purported reports that it can support a calm mind and promote stable emotions. It may also help lower blood pressure and inhibit overthinking, which can lead to a heightened state of anxiety. Another attraction to CBD is any potential effects may be pretty quick to kick in. Some have found it can reduce symptoms like chronic fatigue, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and excessive sweating.
- Overcoming Depression - Although depression is no longer the leading mental health condition in most parts of the world, the symptoms (for those who do live with them) are just as harsh as ever. It is natural for us all to experience sadness at some points during our lives, but for some, it becomes a crippling depression that follows them for what seems like forever- typically for weeks at a time.
Depression can appear in many forms, but the two most prominent symptoms include having low moods and losing interest in what you previously enjoyed. This mental health disorder is very complex, and can go undetected for some time, especially if the sufferer is accustomed to putting on a brave face.
Similar to anxiety, CBD and cannabinoids may support those living with depression by potentially boosting serotonin levels. CBD supplements may also manipulate the brain receptors to induce mental and emotional stability. When CBD is used alongside extended exposure to vitamin D and an active lifestyle, it can potentially support the relief of depression in a holistic approach.
- Overcoming Addiction - This is a horrendous condition that can be very difficult to treat. Addiction is often triggered by a psychological over-dependence on an activity or substance. This disorder can often lead to other mental health and behavioural problems. This disorder can cause the addict to be impulsive, take unnecessary risks, misuse their resources, and fall out with essential people in their lives.
The most common form of addiction is substance use disorder. This is where the person is addicted to substances like nicotine, alcohol, or drugs. However, you can develop an addiction to just about anything, even the internet, and this can be just as damaging to your daily life.
CBD has been found to bring a sense of balance to many of its users, which could be beneficial to those struggling with their mental health. It may help support clearing the mind to induce determination and focus, which are all vital for tackling mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Is CBD safe?
Yes, CBD is considered safe. Research has suggested that CBD appears to be well-tolerated by most people at low to moderate doses. While CBD does come with little risk, it is vital to consider the potential side effects, however rare. Some anecdotally reported side effects include:
- Appetite changes
With the above in mind, understanding each CBD product type’s potential side effects is tricky due to the absence of regulation and manufacturing guidelines. There is currently a lack of consistency in terms of the purity and labelling of CBD products in the industry, making it difficult to determine if the side effects are the same across all CBD types.
You can take some steps to ensure the CBD you are buying is top quality and deemed safe to use. As mentioned above, only purchase CBD products that a third-party laboratory has tested. The results are typically made available on the company’s website, and if there is no evidence of testing being completed, it is best to avoid the product.
It is also a good idea to avoid CBD products that make claims which are too good to be true. CBD is not a miracle compound. It should be used as part of a way of supporting a healthy lifestyle. This is part of what makes CBD a good option for a holistic approach to mental health. It has the potential to promote an internal balance and enable you to focus on a positive mindset.
The Need For More CBD Research
Although the research into CBD is well on its way, there is still not enough to show the long-term effects it has on mental health. No long-term risks have been identified, so CBD has been regarded as safe to use.
The majority of people do not experience extreme side effects when using CBD. However, there is a small proportion of people who do have a sensitivity to CBD. These side effects include fatigue or diarrhoea after taking CBD products. The most evident reason some people have experienced adverse side effects is that some CBD products do not have the CBD levels they purport.
While the use of CBD as part of a holistic approach to mental health is becoming prevalent, there is still a need for improved and continued scientific research into CBD for depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It would be best to keep this in mind when using it to support the relief of anxiety or any other mental health disorder. CBD certainly isn’t a replacement for conventional treatments.
It is natural for life events to have an impact on our mood, and we cannot be happy all the time. However, certain events and circumstances can have a more significant effect on some people than others. As a general rule, make an effort to live a healthy life. As part of this, try to:
- sleep well
- exercise regularly
- drink plenty of water
- eat balanced meals
- stay aware of your mental health and thoughts in general
CBD may be a natural supplement to help lift your mood and help you refocus on your mental health. Whatever CBD product you decide to use, remember to always check the labels before buying them to make sure they have been tested by a third-party laboratory. Check that the title clearly states the CBD level so that you can accurately measure the amount personally needed by you to achieve your desired results. Try to stick to high-quality products made from organically grown CBD, such as those made by Amphora.
Holistic methods do not need to be complicated. Sometimes, something as simple as a massage with CBD oil could potentially improve your mood. It is amazing what effect a bit of muscle tension can have on the body. A sore back, for example, can lead to pain, which (for some) can trigger anxiety. Just having some physical contact and showing a bit of compassion can do wonders for our mental health.
Having faith in yourself is incredibly important in all walks of life, and CBD may allow you to build more self-worth and conference in your ability. These changes in attitude can determine the difference between the success and failure of positive mental health. Whichever type of holistic approach you choose, ensure it is received and performed in a compassionate and respectful way. Amphora is here to support you and your CBD needs.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.