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What Is A Natural Alternative For Antidepressants?

Looking for a natural alternative for antidepressants? According to medical and anecdotal evidence, your options are (1) CBD oil and hemp extracts. (2) omega-3 fatty acids. (3) lavender, ginseng, saffron or chamomile. (4) massage therapy, exercise, aroma therapy, and dietary changes.

Overreliance on traditional antidepressants is problematic in that it may cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, and, in some cases, anti-depressants may exacerbate or cause depression-like symptoms.

What is a natural alternative for antidepressants, and how do you use it? Below is everything you to know.

Quick take: A natural alternative for antidepressants.

  • Antidepressants are medicines created to alter mood by causing chemical changes in the brain.
  • CBD oil goes beyond altering chemicals in the brain. The cannabinoid can relieve pain, relax muscles, improve confidence, and induce relaxation.
  • Hemp extracts, including hemp seed oil, provide multiple anxiolytic chemicals, antioxidants, and compounds, including terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and omega acids.
  • Full-spectrum hemp extracts are best used to manage anxiety, but you may also use isolates.
  • THC/Marijuana can increase anxiety and stress symptoms, depending on one’s dispositions. In some, THC causes deep relaxation, while in others, it can cause panic, psychosis, or temporary anxiety.

Can Antidepressants Make You More Depressed?

When you take antidepressants, chemical changes in the brain occur that alter mood and emotion.

Chemical changes in the brain will not alter external stressors and depressants.

Meaning, that if you are depressed, anxious, or stressed, your first move should always be to identify your stressors and either confront them or make peace with them. That is in my opinion.

In short, what antidepressants will do is:

  • Treat mild to severe depression. However, some may develop antidepressant-resistant depression, causing one to up their dosage or increase medication that may do more damage to mental health.
  • Create dependence. Anti-depressant prescriptions typically last a week or two, depending on severity. One may experience side effects such as blurry vision, dizziness, drowsiness, and dry mouth. Remember, antidepressants are psychoactive drugs, and so is THC/marijuana. The debate over antidepressants as psychoactive drugs with abuse and dependence potential is still ongoing. Some evidence proves it while others disapprove of the assumption.

Is There Any Harm In Taking Antidepressants?

In the short term, antidepressants are considered safe if taken as instructed by a care provider. However, extended use or abuse will cause the following side effects.

  • Sexual dysfunction, or changes in sex drive.
  • Insomnia.
  • Blood clots.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Appetite changes and weight gain or loss.
  • Suicidal thoughts/depression-like symptoms.

CBD And Hemp Extracts: A Natural Alternative For Antidepressants.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine claims that, quote:

“These findings suggest that CBD can reduce anxiety severity and has an adequate safety profile in young people with treatment-resistant anxiety disorders. Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the efficacy and longer-term safety of this compound.”

But how true are these claims? Can CBD oil cure depression, stress, and anxiety, and should you use it as a natural alternative to antidepressants?

After reviewing multiple studies, we know that:

  • If overused, CBD oil may cause mild side effects, including hot flashes, cold chills, low mood, or fatigue. The effects wear off within minutes or hours if use is discontinued. In other words, CBD has a positive risk profile i.e. The benefits outweigh the risks, as explained below.
  • In human and animal studies, CBD oil exhibits antipsychotic, antidepressant, and anxiolytic properties.
  • CBD’s chemical structure is similar to THC, but the effects are not similar. The difference lies in spatial conformation. In other words, CBD will not cause intoxication or euphoria in users (no abuse potential).
  • CBD oil can regulate depression-induced behavior, locomotion, cognition, and anxiety.
  • CBD oil can reduce PTSD symptom severity, including night terrors.

According to a related study, quote:

“All of the presented results show that CBD plays a significant role in the regulation of anxiety- and depressive-related behaviors, cognition, and locomotion.”

From anecdotal evidence, we know that CBD oil improves sleep quality, relieves pain, and alters mood when ingested, applied topically, or inhaled.

CBD Oil As a Natural Remedy For Depression: How Do You Use It?

Stress and anxiety are part of the human experience. We all experience one or all at some point in our lives. If stress and anxiety are left unchecked for too long, they can progress into depression, a mental health condition that requires treatment.

What you can do to lessen the effects said ailments have on your hair, mind, and overall well-being is:

Improve Confidence Through Therapy And CBD Oil.

Depression therapy need not be a group activity or weekly visits to a psychologist. Sometimes all you need is a good conversation or people who understand you. For some -gaining the confidence or motivation to speak can be a problem.

Think about it. Does your heart race when in the presence of people? Do you prefer to be in isolation?

What can CBD do?

A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that cannabidiol can reduce public speaking-induced anxiety symptoms. According to the study’s findings, we know that:

  • Repeated CBD treatment will not cause tolerance or dependence.
  • CBD oil can reduce drug-seeking behavior.
  • Compared to traditional antidepressants, CBD oil will not cause sedation, impairment, or induce withdrawal symptoms.
  • CBD can abolish self-negative evaluation in users.

In short, if you need a confidence boost or a natural alternative for antidepressants, sublingual administration of CBD oil a few minutes before engagements could be all you need.

Recap.

  • CBD can treat treatment-resistant depression and is a safe alternative treatment for antidepressants.
  • CBD boosts confidence and alters mood, but not in a similar fashion as antidepressants.

What Else Can You Do With CBD To Relieve Stress, Anxiety, And Depression?

When applied topically, researchers have found that CBD oil interacts with endocannabinoid receptors on the skin to relieve pain, relax muscles, alter mood, and manage stress levels.

The best way to use CBD oil as a natural alternative to antidepressants is:

Incorporate CBD Oil Into Your Exercise Routine.

The more you sit and think, the more stressful or depressing situations will appear. Studies and medical practitioners recommend regular exercise.

Exercise should be what suits you. It could be a walk, bike ride, cardio, and so on.

We know that CBD oil is a mild stimulant when administered in low doses and can thus stimulate a workout, improve oxygen and mineral delivery to organs and muscles via vasodilation, and promote mobility by relieving pain.

Post-workout, you may use CBD for recovery or to relieve muscle pain and spasms.

Massage CBD oil to the scalp, muscles, and skin to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety.

Massaging CBD, according to medical and anecdotal evidence, is beneficial for depression and anxiety in that:

  • It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system -that helps relax the mind and body during and after a stressful or dangerous situation.
  • Regular CBD massages increase tissue elasticity.
  • Massages lower heart rate, improving cardiovascular health.
  • CBD massages cause the body to release serotonin, a feel-good chemical that alters mood. 

Take Better Care Of Your Gut.

The gut is connected to all systems in the body. When there is an issue such as poor gut health, the effects will be felt throughout the body, including the brain.

As mentioned long-term use or overreliance on anti-depressants can damage gut health.

If you notice an increased occurrence of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, or develop irritable bowel syndrome, antidepressants could be the cause.

It will also benefit you to make dietary changes, that is:

  • If stressed, depressed, or anxious, avoid highly processed food or foods that have negative effects on gut health.
  • Avoid sugary and salty foods, as they can cause mood swings.

References:

  • Berger M, Li E, Rice S, Davey CG, Ratheesh A, Adams S, Jackson H, Hetrick S, Parker A, Spelman T, Kevin R, McGregor IS, McGorry P, Amminger GP. Cannabidiol for Treatment-Resistant Anxiety Disorders in Young People: An Open-Label Trial. J Clin Psychiatry. 2022 Aug 3;83(5):21m14130. doi: 10.4088/JCP.21m14130. PMID: 35921510.
  • García-Gutiérrez, M. S., Navarrete, F., Gasparyan, A., Austrich-Olivares, A., Sala, F., & Manzanares, J. (2020). Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders. Biomolecules, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111575.
  • Bergamaschi, M. M., Costa Queiroz, R. H., Nisihara Chagas, M. H., De Martinis, B. S., Kapczinski, F., Quevedo, J., Roesler, R., Schröder, N., Nardi, A. E., Martín-Santos, R., Cecílio Hallak, J. E., Zuardi, A. W., & S Crippa, J. A. (2011). Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology, 36(6), 1219-1226. https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2011.6
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Author

David

David is a hemp and cannabis researcher with five years of experience in the industry.

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