Depression and anxiety are battles that many wage throughout their lives. However, during the winter months, both conditions can be magnified by the lack of sunlight, decrease in temperatures, and increase in the amount of time spent inside. This condition caused by these factors is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Who SAD Can Affect
Some of the many symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include: feeling depressed most of the day, losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, having low energy, and having severe anxiety. According to Norman Rosenthal, MD, “Six percent of the US population, primarily in northern climates, is affected by SAD in its most marked form. Another 14 percent of the adult US population suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood changes, known as winter blues.”
While some of the existing treatments for SAD can help, there is currently no true “cure” to what can become a suffocating condition. There is evidence, both scientific and anecdotal that cannabis and more specifically CBD could work as a tool to help alleviate some of the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
How CBD Can Help to Treat SAD
Cannabis is made up of more than 100 compounds, each of which affect the body in a different way. One compound that is highly useful in treating things like inflammation and anxiety that could be useful in treating seasonal affective disorder is cannabidiol or CBD. CBD is beginning to become better understood by scientists and medical experts who are able to narrow down what conditions could be best treated by the compound. A study released in 2013 by the United States National Institutes of Health found that, “CBD has been shown to elicit anti-panic effects through the activation of 5-HT1A receptors in the dorsal periaqueductal gray, a critical area for the modulation of emotional reactivity to stress.”
What the 2013 NIH study found is that CBD attaches to receptors in the brain that regulate how someone reacts to stress and the level of panic one feels when placed in a stressful situation. The 5-HT1A receptors that are activated by CBD work to lower the level of panic or anxiety experienced.
Seasonal affective disorder can be a major hamper for people during the winter months. While there are no “cures” for SAD, evidence suggests that CBD may be able to alleviate some of its nagging symptoms. For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, the opportunity that CBD provides is welcoming.
Know Your Cannabinoids
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.