Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed more often is an annual occurrence for many Americans.
But a detailed analysis of data from U. S. adults collected during the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI-funded) Primary Prevention study found that rising daily amounts of CBD — which is found in the cannabis plant’s high-THC, or high-CBD, compounds — was linked to a decrease in depressive symptoms during the month following the month when the person found out they’d been diagnosed with depression. The study’s authors used the data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Only Patients Study and its Massachusetts General Hospital Neuroimaging Initiative (MEGI-CNS) to analyze the impact of daily cannabis use throughout the month following annual screening. They report their findings in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.
“We report the clinical impact of increasing daily CBD in a subset of adolescents with mood and anxiety disorders, which suggest that these symptoms may be improved by regular or over ‘sleepless’ periods of daily cannabis use, ” said lead author Cody Wilson, Ph. D., of Rhode Island General Hospital’s (RGH) Center for Addiction and Mental Health. “This possibility is concerning because the current ‘sleep studies’ that assessed how much people slept and how they affected their perception of their surroundings may not capture the long-term impact of regular cannabis use. “
A manic or cycling day is the prime time for the drug to be used, and this compound helps keep a person awake and alert throughout the day. Wilson and co-author Naheen Dutta, Ph. D., of Harvard Medical School recruited more than 50 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18, who completed a 24-hour daily visit to a comprehensive depression remission clinic. Upon study completion, they were randomized into two groups. One group was given a placebo; the other received a weekly dose of 50 milligrams, the base dose of 100 milligrams administered by smoking a joint. This dose was repeated at the end of the 30-day scan period. “We assessed depressive symptoms during the 24-hour scan period by having the participants rate their subjective depression symptoms on a floating mood scale, ” said Dr. Dutta, who worked on the team that conducted the study. “We also determined the daily amount of CBD in their blood and brain tissue, which was associated with reductions in depressive symptoms during the month following the screening, ” she explained.
These results suggest that daily doses of this compound may help reduce symptoms of depression in individuals who avoid marijuana for fear of intoxication or for other therapeutic reasons, Wilson said.
In addition to opening the door for CBD to be used alongside medications to treat bipolar and depressive disorders, Wilson’s study also indicates that marijuana, which is still a Schedule I controlled substance in the U. S. and other countries, is less-potently addictive and more-affordably-molebricated than other drugs.
“This compound appears to be able to reduce sway among social and work-related people, ” she said. “This effect of CBD may be due to its ability to regulate certain neurons in the brain, ” she said. “In contrast to many other compounds, CBD does not affect dopaminergic neurons, one of the primary brain areas that control reward-seeking behavior and motivation. Therefore, CBD appears to avoid the severe abuse potential of other widely abused substances, ” said Brown University Department of Public Health Professor Lawrence Goodman, Ph. D.
The study used a double-blinded placebo-controlled study design to allow for comparison of the efficacy of CBD and placebo. They also investigated the potential long-term effects of CBD on mood disorders, both manic and depressive symptoms. They report that the adjustable dosing regimen — 50 mg daily versus baseline, 50 mg daily versus placebo or placebo — was safe, and prolonged its effects beyond the typical seven days.
These data indicate that the compound’s potential as a treatment for mood disorders is ethically sound.