When feelings of sadness become a part of daily life with no end in sight, this can morph into depression. Depression is a medical illness that can negatively impact how you feel, the way you act and think. If left untreated, it can become extremely harmful to your body and mind.
HOW DOES DEPRESSION FORM?
Depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance as previously thought, in fact, this hypothesis, sometimes referred to as ‘the chemical imbalance’ theory has been refuted by the medical community in recent years. Mental disorders are now believed to be caused by a combination of inflammation, trauma, chronic stress, and possibly low serotonin levels. Overall, there are a multitude of influences contributing to a person's mental well-being. Let’s look at some facts and stats regarding depression and its most common causes:
Genetics- At least 10% of people in the U.S. will experience major depressive disorder at some point in their lives. Scientists believe that as many as 40 percent of those with depression can trace it to a genetic link.
Physical illness- Many people with chronic illness experience depression, in fact, it is estimated that up to one-third of individuals with a serious medical condition will experience symptoms of depression.
Chronic stress- Too much stress (or chronic stress) can lead to a depressive episode and is a major factor in the development of depression in susceptible people.
Social isolation- Human beings are social creatures. Strong evidence now links loneliness (or perceived loneliness) and social isolation with depression.
Trauma- Distressing experiences can cause emotional and psychological trauma and induce depression. An example of this can be seen in people suffering with PTSD.
Certain medications- Drug-induced depressive disorders are more common than ever based on people’s over-reliance on medication. Prescribed meds, those used to treat various medical conditions can cause depression symptoms as a side effect.
Treatment of depression is specific for each individual but a combination of holistic health treatments and lifestyle changes can be a positive option for change. Additionally, a growing number of people have turned to cannabidiol (CBD) to assist in balancing the brain's chemical receptors linked to serotonin. Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter that is responsible for many functions in the body, including mood and gut health. Adding a few droplets to your self-care routine can be beneficial in the healing process of your brain. CBD will work best for depression when paired with other interventions like exercise, restorative sleep, meditation and supplementation.
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HOW CBD RESTORES NEURAL REGENERATION
When people suffer from depression, the region of the brain (hippocampus) that is responsible for memory, emotion, and learning shrinks. Luckily, this portion of the brain can regrow. Through the process of neurogenesis, (where neurons can regenerate and form new connections) the hippocampus can recover. This process can take a few weeks because the neurons need ample time to regrow. The best part is that cannabinoid-based medications protect neurons in the hippocampus, not only providing relief during a depressive episode but also potentially reducing neuron atrophy in the hippocampus.
In epileptic rats, CBD treatments reduced neuron atrophy (shrinkage) and death in the hippocampus.
Chronic users of THC tend to have a smaller hippocampus, but higher CBD cannabis can help prevent atrophy.
CBD has shown to increase the levels of the anandamide in the hippocampus, as seen in trials with mice.
HIPPOCAMPUS PATHWAYS AND CBD
Endocannabinoids: The endocannabinoid system helps achieve balance in the body. It can help regulate memory, inflammation, gut health and so much more. CBD's effects on this system is complex, but research has shown that it can increase the brain's natural endocannabinoid levels.
Serotonin Receptors: CBD can modulate serotonergic transmission and treat anxiety-like behavior. In other words, CBD interacts with the serotonin (5-HT)1A receptor, actually mimicking serotonin- by binding and activating this receptor in the body. This is a major contributor to CBD’s anti-anxiety properties.
Neurogenesis: CBD can suppress inflammation and neuropathic pain by targeting the glycine receptors. Recent findings suggest a restorative effect of CBD is its protective effects against the brain. This area is still being actively studied, and new research is being published every year. As more experts become familiar with the benefits and concerns of CBD, more information about its healing properties will become more widely available.
LEAVING THE DARKNESS OF DEPRESSION
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