Your Guide To Medical Cannabis

Depression – including anxiety – affects 1 in 6 Australian adults aged eighteen and older every year, making it one of the most common medical problems in Australia. It affects young and old, and is twice as common in women as in men.

There is no doubt that attitude affects health. Study after study has shown that optimistic people are not only happier but also healthier. They suffer less illness, recover better from illness and surgery, and have stronger immune defenses.
CBD oil has shown promise in initial studies as a treatment for depression, with fewer side effects than traditional prescription medications. Research findings indicate that, in most studies, CBD appears to have a positive interaction with the serotonin receptors in the brain.

Depressing Statistics

  • 1 in 6 Australians will experience depression in their lifetime
  • ¼ of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime
  • 1 in 16 Australians are currently experiencing depression
  • 1 in 10 women will experience depression during pregnancy
  • 1 in 6 women will experience postnatal depression
  • 1 in 10 fathers experience postnatal depression
  • 1 in 14 females are currently experiencing depression compared with 1 in 19 men
  • Men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women
  • 10-15% of older adults experience depression
  • An estimated 30% of people living in residential care are likely to suffer depression
  • Indigenous Australians are 3 times more likely to suffer depression than non-Indigenous Australian
  • Asylum seekers and refugees are 4 times more likely to suffer depression than the general population
  • 1 in 5 LGBTQI are currently experiencing depression
  • Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to be depressed

Before exploring nature’s anti-depressant - CBD Oil - as a treatment for depression, it’s important to understand what depression actually is

Depression is a whole-body illness, one that affects the body, nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behaviour. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. There are many types of depression, with variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence.

People with depression typically withdraw and hide from society. They lose interest in things around them and become incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances (either insomnia or excessive sleeping), changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Many think of death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. A person with depression may be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some try to “sleep off” depression, or do nothing but sit or lie around.

Older adults with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) are more likely to have depression than older adults without the coronary disorder, according to a study by Dutch researchers. This study, reported in the Journal of General Psychiatry, suggested a relationship between vascular factors, such as hardening of the arteries of calcium deposits in the blood vessels, and late-life depression. A theory has been put forward that atherosclerosis may have an effect on the brain that leads to depression. Depression is not a normal part of growing older, but rather a treatable condition.

There are three main types of clinical depression

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Bipolar depression (the depressed phase of bipolar disorder)

Within these types are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, their severity, and their persistence. Unlike major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder – a chronic but less severe type of depression – does not strike in discrete episodes, but is instead characterised by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. Although it usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks, people with this milder form of depression rarely feel like they are functioning at their full capacities.

Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression, but as they progress, they involve alternating episodes of depression and mania, which is characterised by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. As a result, bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. Other symptoms of mania include overly inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking. Because bipolar disorder required different treatment than major depression or dysthymia, obtaining accurate diagnosis is extremely important.

Causes of Depression

The causes of depression are not fully understood, but they are probably many and varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. One of the most common causes of depression is food allergies. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is another common cause of depression. Heredity is a significant factor in this disorder. In up to 50% of people suffering from recurrent episodes of depression, one or both of the parents also experienced depression.

Death rates can be higher for depressed people, too. A recent study based on the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest study of US women’s health ever undertaken, shows that depressed women had a 50% greater chance of dying of heart attack, and 30% higher chance of dying from other causes, than non-depressed women. This was in spite of the fact that the depression was only mild or moderate, and was under treatment. Why this should be, is still unknown.

Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression begins with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses; their bodies readjust to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.

Perhaps the most common type of depression is a chronic low-grade depression called dysthymia. This condition involves long-term and/or recurring depressive symptoms that are not necessarily disabling but keep a person from functioning normally and interfere with social interactions and enjoyment of life. Research has found that this type of depression often results from (unconscious) negative thinking habits. Double depression is a variation of dysthymia in which a person with chronic, low-grade depression periodically experiences major depressive episodes, then return to his or her “normal”, mildly depressed state.

Some people become more depressed in the winter months, when the days are shorter and darker. This type of disorder is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Women are more likely to suffer from SAD than men. People who suffer this type of depression in the winter months lose their energy, suffer anxiety attacks, gain weight as a result of craving the wrong foods, sleep too much, and have a reduced sex drive. Many people get depressed around the December holidays. While most of them probably just have the “holiday blues,” some of them may be suffering from SAD. Suicides also seem to be highest during this time of year.

Foods greatly influence the brain’s behaviour. A poor diet, especially one with a lot of junk foods, is a common cause of depression.

CBD oil has been shown to have anti-oxidant properties, which means it is capable of “mopping up” toxic substances obtained from food or generated in the body.
The levels of brain chemical called neurotransmitters, which regulate our behaviour, are controlled by what we eat, and neurotransmitters most commonly associated with mood are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is eased. When it produces dopamine or norepinephrine, we tend to think and act more quickly and are generally more alert.

At the neurochemical and physiological levels, neurotransmitters are extremely important. These substances carry  impulses between nerve cells. Serotonin, for example, plays a role in mood, sleep, and appetite. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. The substance that processes serotonin is the amino acid tryptophan. The consumption of tryptophan increases the amount of serotonin made by the brain. Thus, eating complex carbohydrates (not simple carbohydrates such as fructose, sucrose, and lactose), which raise the level of tryptophan in the brain (thereby increasing serotonin production), has a calming effect. High-protein foods, on the other hand, promote the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, which promote alertness.

Studies have shown that CBD oils have therapeutic benefits for brain disorders, including depression, and the results are instantaneous. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists estimate that most cases of depression can be treated effectively, but that 80% of people who suffer from depression do not get the help they need. Many people do not seek treatment because they are ashamed, or they feel lethargic and despondent. In many cases, people with major depression only seek help when they are at the point of breakdown, or when they are hospitalised following a suicide attempt (an estimated 15% of chronic depression cases result in suicide). A good support system from friends and family members is often crucial in getting a depressed person to seek help for his or her illness.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), most people with a depressive illness to not get the help they need, although the great majority – even those whose depression is severe – can be helped. Without treatment the symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or even years. With treatment, many people can find relief from their symptoms and lead a normal, healthy life.

Considerations

Finding the right treatment for depression can be as difficult as convincing someone that he or she needs help. Even so, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, clinical depression is one of the most treatable of all medical illnesses. Today, most people with depression can be treated with antidepressant medications, “talk” therapy (psychotherapy), or a combination of the two. Experts agree that successful treatment also hinges on early intervention. Early treatment increases the likelihood of preventing serious recurrences. Medications, such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are helpful. SSRIs generally produce fewer side effects than the older drugs (tricyclics), making it easier for people, including older adults, to adhere to treatment. Both generations of medication are effective in relieving depression, although any given individual may respond to one type of drug and not another. It is difficult to predict which people will respond to which drug, or who will experience what side effects.

Despite the relative safety and popularity of SSRIs and other antidepressants, some studies have suggested that they may have unintended effects on some people, especially adolescents and young adults. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a thorough review of publishes and unpublished controlled clinical trials of antidepressants that involved nearly 4,400 children and adolescents. The review revealed that 4% of those taking antidepressants thought about or attempted suicide (although no suicides occurred), compared to 2% of those receiving placebos. This information prompted the FDA, in 2005, to adopt a “black box” warning label on all antidepressant medications to alert the public about the potential increased risk of suicidal thinking or attempts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants.

In 2007, the FDA proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications extend the warning to include young adults up through age twenty-four.
A “black box” warning is the most serious type of warning on prescription drug labeling.Results of a comprehensive review of paediatric trials conducted between 1988 and 2006 suggested that the benefits of antidepressant medications likely outweigh their risks to children and adolescents with major depression and anxiety disorders. (The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health).
The FDA issued a warning that combining an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant with one of the commonly used triptan medications for migraine headache could cause a life-threatening serotonin syndrome, marked by agitation, hallucinations, elevated body temperature, and rapid changes in blood pressure. Although most dramatic in the case of MAOIs, newer antidepressants may also be associated with potentially dangerous interactions with other medications.

CBD oil is a natural compound that has gained popularity in recent years, thanks in part to a growing body of research into its potential therapeutic health benefits. Initial results of some studies into CBD and depression look promising, and cause fewer side effects. In most studies, CBD appears to have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. Keeping serotonin levels balanced is a key therapy for people suffering depression. In short, CBD is a fast-acting antidepressant.
Recent studies also found that CBD oil compound worked without activating the brain’s endo-cannabinoid receptors directly, which indicates there is less risk of CBD becoming habit-forming or addictive in the same way as prescribed antidepressant medications.

How can CBD oil treat depression?

CBD improves the symptoms of depression by enhancing the activity of the receptors to which serotonin binds. CBD’s effects of the endo-cannabinoid system and its ability to release the optimise serotonin are responsible for producing the calming and relaxing effect that is typically associated with cannabidiol.

Many people find that THC can be particularly effective for sudden flare-ups of depression. This is because THC stimulates a release of dopamine in the brain. Because both dopamine and serotonin can be affected by things like physical exertion, diet, stress, and mental state, people suffering with depression typically produce less of them. As such, a combination of the two cannabinoids could potentially function as a quick “pick-me-up” during periods of acute depression.

Depression doesn’t discriminate!

The public profile of mental health experienced a world-wide boost when Princes William and Harry opened up about the impact of their mother’s death nearly 20 years ago. Harry’s admission that he ignored his own emotional distress for almost two decades, before eventually getting help was a valuable contribution from a public figure seeking to combat the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and encourage people to speak more openly about their difficulties.
SMXLL

Image of a word cloud based on depression

Symptoms of Depression symptoms we don’t talk about

  1. Crying over nothing
  2. Feeling “detached” – staring into space
  3. Forgetfulness
  4. Guilt
  5. Irritability
  6. Intrusive thoughts – self harming
  7. Loss of libido
  8. Personal Hygiene neglect
  9. Limbs feel like they are made of lead
  10. Food and drink problems
  11. Toileting problems
  12. Negative coping mechanisms

Statistics for Australian MEN…
“Beyond the Emergency” is a ground-breaking study of male mental health presentations to ambulance services. Facilitated by Beyond Blue, funded by Movember Foundation, and led by Turning Point and Monash University, in partnership with ambulance services across Australia.Key Findings male self-harm and suicide:

  • Current available data seems to significantly underestimate the impact self-harm has on men in Australia
  • Coded ambulance data (in 6 Australian jurisdictions) showed rates almost three times higher than hospitalisation data
  • There were 30,197 ambulance attendances for men who had thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide between July 2015 and June 2016, yet hospitals identified only 9,999 presentations in the same period.

Statistics for Australian WOMEN

  • In 2014-2015 women aged 18-34 years had the highest rate of psychological distress of any age group
  • Women report higher rates of depression
  • One in five mothers of children ages 24 months or less, is diagnosed with depression (more than half of these mothers reported that their diagnosed depression was perinatal)

Every day, at least six Australians die from suicide and a further thirty people will attempt to take their own life. While suicide accounts for only a relatively small proportion (1.6%) of all deaths in Australia, it does account for a greater proportion of deaths from all causes within specific age groups. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australian’s aged 25-44 and the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Australian’s are more likely to die by suicide than skin cancer, yet we know comparatively little about the processes that lead to suicide and when to effectively intervene.