A Comprehensive Look at CBD and the Pathways of Mental Health

A Comprehensive Look at CBD and the Pathways of Mental Health

Research on CBD and mental health

 

 

We're wrapping up 3-4 months of diving into research on CBD and a range of mental health issues.

 

We've covered all the big hitters with almost 100,000 words under our belt, dozens of NIH studies, and multiple pathways.

 

The same players keep popping up across the spectrum and you realize just how important they are to feeling "right".

 

We'll get into those below.

 

It's also fascinating to watch the focus shift over time.

 

The last 50 years has been stuck in monoamines (serotonin, dopamine, etc).

 

Yes, these neurotransmitter are powerful but rarely does taking a mallet (or boost) to them work long term and for many people.

 

They're just too powerful and interconnected.  We'll get into that below.

 

The stars of mental health are facets of the immune system of all things!

 

Who would have known that our immune system going side ways can cause so much trouble in our brains (and minds).

 

Inflammation.  Oxidative stress.  Excess glutamate.

 

Don't worry, you'll be familiar with them soon enough.

 

The newest player (still not household knowledge...yet!) is neurogenesis.  The process of rewiring, repairing, and growing brain connections. 

 

Hello BDNF!

 

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Again...this is isn't the same tired review based on decades old information.

 

We're looking at cutting edge research on what drives mental health issues and illness.

 

Then we'll turn to CBD.  What is its role in these pathways.  It turns out that CBD has nifty tricks across the range of pathways because of how it fits in a system tasked with balancing other key systems.

 

Let's get into it along these lines: 

  • CBD and mental health issues (a listing)
  • CBD and neurotransmitter balance for mental health
  • CBD and inflammation for mental health
  • CBD and oxidative stress for mental health
  • CBD and neurogenesis for mental health
  • CBD and mitochondria for mental health
  • Research on how much CBD for mental health
  • What type of CBD for mental health

 

Let's get started!

CBD and mental health issues (a listing) 

Before we jump into, let's reference the other reviews: 

 

This is by no means the full listing but it's what we have deep dives into. 

 

For example, the Anxiety page links to roughly 40 different reviews on every aspect of anxiety such as: 

 

We'll add new reviews as we slowly slog through the research.

 

The interesting piece is that you find lots of overlap across different mental health illnesses.

 

The brain is a very dynamic yet fragile organ.  

 

More importantly, if a pathogen gets in, it can be life ending.

 

To this effect, our brain's immune response is highly tuned and every vigilant.

 

This vigilance can actually turn against us if there are breaks in our brain blood barrier or even gut barrier.

 

It can even get "primed" by mother's immune response while pregnant.

 

We see this effect across a range of the illness listed above...especially developmental ones (autism, schizophrenia, bipolar) but even anxiety and depression.

 

We'll cover in more detail in the inflammation section below.

 

Before we jump into the various main threads below, we have to understand CBD's effect.

 

Let's go there now.

CBD's role in mental health  

CBD is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant.  It's very different from its cousin, THC.

 

In fact, it has an opposing result in most pathways from THC.

 

Check out CBD versus THC to learn more.  Night and day.

 

Why?   They both come from the same plant?

 

We all have an endocannabinoid system.  "Endo" just means "inside" as in inside us.

 

It's dated back to about 650 millions year and every living animal has one.

 

This system is tasked with balancing other key systems: 

  • Nervous system - neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, dopamine, etc
  • Endocrine system - hormones both steroidal and metabolic
  • Immune system - inflammatory response - more than meets the eye as we'll see below

 

Right away, you can see this system is squarely in the sights of mental health.

 

In fact, almost every medication prescribed for mental health hits one of these areas...primarily the neurotransmitters.

 

Both CBD and THC operate within this system.  Why so different?

 

THC pushes in one direction.  It boosts level of CB1 activity, our brain's main receptor.

 

It essentially mimics anandamide, our naturally occuring endocannabinoid.

 

Anandamide was named after the Hindu goddess of bliss so you can guess as to its effect.

 

Here's the issue with THC.

 

Anandamide is "made on demand" chemical.  The nervous system makes it when needed and almost immediately re-absorbs it (via an enymed called FAAH - see FAAH and the woman who can't feel pain, anxiety, or depression).

 

The brain can't break down THC in the same way.  It lingers and brain doesn't like this.

 

First, this speaks to the potential and dose-dependent side effect of cannabis (anxiety, psychosis, etc) 

 

More importantly, with longer term use, THC builds tolerance which means the brain will actually reduce CB1 activity and even receptor numbers.

 

Not the right direction.

 

Interestingly, research shows that CBD counters these effects of THC?  How?

 

CBD is technically called a allosteric negative modulator for many key pathways.

 

Goodness...what does that mean?

 

Essentially, it works like a feedback mechanism in the endocannabinoid system.

 

It sends a message backwards from the receiving neuron.

 

  • We're all fine here...stop sending
  • We're running low...send more.

 

This is why CBD can actually have 3 different results depending on the state of the system.

 

It's effect with oxidative stress (a type of inflammation) is a great example of this: 

  • Healthy cell or neuron with low inflammation - CBD has no effect
  • Healthy cell or neuron with high inflammation - CBD reduces inflammation
  • Cancerous or inflected cell or neuron -CBD INCREASES inflammation

 

Read that back over because it's profound.

 

Why would it increase inflammation in cancerous cells?

 

Simply because this is how our immune system gets rid of faulty cells.  Chemo and radiation essentially work by causing large amounts of oxidative stress in cells.

 

Unfortunately, it's a scorched earth approach.

 

So...CBD works within the system that's tasked with balancing other key system but does so in a feedback way. 

 

It doesn't directly pump up certain pathways indiscriminately.

 

Let's jump into the various sections tied to mental health direction.

 

We'll start with the old stand-bys.

CBD and neurotransmitter balance for mental health 

Again, the last 50 years of mental health has focused on really two key pathways.

 

  • Serotonin - a master regulator of brain and gut balance - the main target for SSRI and other antidepressants
  • Dopamine - a driver of the reward circuit - focuses down on what's important for success and drives action - primary target for antipsychotics
  • GABA - our brain's "brake" pedal - key to benzos, barbituates, sleep aids, etc

 


Interesting, dopamine flows from serotonin so we're really dealing with one primary pathway.  They're completely interconnected.

 

Newer to the party: 

  • Glutamate - the opposing force to GABA - our "gas" pedal
  • Acetylcholine - key to dementia, ADHD, and probably most mental health issues

 

We have major reviews on all the key neurotransmitters: 

 

We left out norepininphrine since it's derived from dopamine.  That's your get up and go and even adrenaline response chemical.

 

So...right away...we have "families" of neurotransmitters: 

  • Serotonin - the general - tied to every human behavior with a hidden power (neurogenesis)
  • Dopamine - driven by serotonin - the foot soldier to reward certain thoughts and actions
  • Norepinephrine - derived from dopamine - the energy to carry out the orders

 

Then we have the energy regulators: 

  • Glutamate
  • GABA

 

We literally mean energy in the neurons and brain to drive activity in any of the pathways above (and beyond).

 

Acetylcholine is a whole different animal….it has almost two opposing roles: 

  • Critical to learning and brain activity (hello caffeine and nicotine)
  • Critical to the flip side - rest and digest recovery part of the autonomic nervous system.

 

Goodness.  Two opposites.

 

Both are important but the latter is fascinating.

 

The vagus nerve is the fascinating hub between the brain and gut (second brain) and it runs on acetylcholine.

 

You can calm your state just by stimulating the vagus nerve (and acetylcholine release).

 

This is obviously a rough overview of the big players but it gives you a good sketch of a very complicated set of moving pieces by the millisecond….all interconnected.

 

So...what does research show for CBD and these master players of mental health?

 

We cover this in detail at our reviews above but here's a great chart: 

 

Essentially, CBD works like a feedback player (balancing essentially) for: 

  • Serotonin - 5ht and by default, downstream dopamine
  • GABA - and by default, it's opposing force glutamate
  • Opioid system - not just for pain but a shaper of mood and behavior by evolution's design

 

Goodness.  All the big players showed up.

 

CBD can interact with acetylcholine but likely though other pathways.

 

The effect on serotonin is profound for almost every mental health issues since it works like a maestro in the brain.

 

Master regulator.

 

That's why SSRI have such strange potential side effects (see CBD versus SSRIs).

 

Just read the list here: 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ssri-antidepressants/side-effects/

 

We covered serotonin and suicidal and homicidal thoughts in detail as an example.

 

It runs the gamut but that's serotonin….master regulator.

 

As for CBD, just one example of many on the serotonin review or CBD versus SSRI.

 

Researchers studied the effects of CBD after nerve injury and the effects: 

Since serotonin governs pain sensitivity, prolonged injury will exhaust it with time.

 

Seven days of treatment with CBD reduced mechanical allodynia, decreased anxiety-like behavior, and normalized 5-HT activity. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/

 


Allodynia is technical word for overall pain.  Anxiety, we know all too well.  5HT is short for serotonin.

 

The key word there is "normalized".  

 

Remember, we also don't want serotonin to go too high.  That's called serotonin syndrome and we see that with SSRIs usually in combination with other serotonin meds.

 

It's very dangerous and has its own suite of side effects.

 

Check out CBD and serotonin syndrome here.

 

In almost every mental health issues, there's some implication with serotonin.  It's that important.

 

As for dopamine, we can cut to schizophrenia and psychosis even though it's also in play across the gamut.

 

This makes sense since there's a direct relationship with serotonin.

 

Most of the anti-psychotics work by dampening dopamine.

 

This makes sense for ½ of schizophrenia where dopamine is too high in the striatum.  That's the so-call "positive" symptoms like paranoia, hallucination, and delusions.

 

The issue is that dopamine is also too low in the prefrontal  cortex.

 

Those are the "negative" symptoms like low affect, depression, and reduced cognitive ability.

 

There have been very interesting studies on CBD and schizophrenia which you can find here.

 

One compared CBD to amulsipride.

 

Here's amulsipride's story: 

a highly effective second generation antipsychotic, selectively antagonizing D2/3 receptors

 

D2/D3 are dopamine receptors.  Antagonizing just means that amulsipride suppresses dopamine activity.

 

The comparison: 

Both drugs resulted in significant clinical improvement of both positive and negative symptoms of psychosis. The efficacy of cannabidiol was comparable to that of amisulpride, but, importantly, cannabidiol revealed a superior side effect profile when compared to amisulpride.

 

The side effects of anti-psychotics...even the newest ones can be brutal.

 

Again, dopamine is another chemical that wears many hats.

 

By suppressing dopamine, we can actually cause parkinsonism since Parkinson's in driven by a drop in dopamine activity (after acetylcholine goes by the way).

 

We can infer that since CBD at very high doses does not cause these side effects that it doesn't just push dopamine in one direction and may even have different effects in different brain areas according to need.

 

Remember the cancer study.

 

Again, check out the CBD and dopamine response here.

 

What about the gas and brake pedal?

 

GABA and glutamate are equally involved in every facet of mental health.

 

They are cogs in the wheel that other big players like serotonin and dopamine use and are affected by.

 

GABA/Glutamate balance is obvious with  the following issues: 

  • Anxiety
  • OCD (repetitive and obsessive thoughts)
  • ADHD (although acetylcholine is major player)
  • Bipolar
  • Autism

 

Anything where there's too much or too little activity.

 

That's only half the story though.

 

Think of depression.

 

Glutamate is the most prominent and possibly most destructive chemical in the brain.

 

Keeping it balanced is a multi-pronged effort that's critical.

 

Too much glutamate will literally fry nerves and cause brain loss.

 

  • Stress drives glutamate
  • Immune response drives glutamate

 

If glutamate is not kept in check, you can see loss of brain neurons and connectivity which may show as depression, bipolar, and a host of issues.

 

Check out the review of glutamate here or GABA here.

 

As we saw in the chart for CBD's effects, it's a feedback instrument for GABA.

 

This is really important as we don't want to push GABA in one direction.

 

Benzos drive GABA activity as well but two things go wrong.

 

First, they also pump dopamine which is why they're so addictive (see CBD versus benzos here).

 

Secondly, the brain pushes back and actually reduces GABA activity and receptors.

 

We did a whole review on how we used CBD to wean off benzos.  It's brutal!

 

This effect on GABA may be one of it's biggest roles but mainly as a way to keep glutamate in check.

 

Also, check out NAC, glycine, and magnesium as offsets for glutamate excessive activity.

 

Finally, the opioid system.  

 

It's not just about pain!

 

This is one of the most complicated systems with tentacles reaching everywhere.

 

Just one angle: 

We suggest that endogenous opioid abnormalities can lead to altered social bonding, which is a symptom of various mental health disorders, including depression, schizophrenia and ASD.  

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666354619300031

 

One of the interesting and least understood player is dynorphin, an opioid receptor.

 

Think of dynorphin as a big player in emotional pain.  Sound important to mental health?

 

In fact, this may the critical chemical in regulating dysphoria.  What is dysphoria?

 

Just this... 

profound state of unease or dissatisfaction. In a psychiatric context, dysphoria may accompany depression, anxiety, or agitation.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysphoria

 

It's the state of feeling "wrong".  

 

Again, the opioid system is only now getting respect and research in mental health.

 

Stress and trauma both drive dynorphin levels and are equally tied to many if not all mental health issues.

 

Dynorphin is especially important for psycostimulant addiction such as cocaine or methamphetamines.

 

Check out CBD and cocaine addiction.

 

One example: 

Cannabidiol inhibits priming-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine in REM sleep deprived rats 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027858461730218X

 

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This is really important.  First, it was stress triggered from lack of sleep.  That's a major signal for dynorphin imbalance.  

 

The opioid system is only recently being studied in terms of mental health but we know that CBD is an allosteric modulator there as well.

 

We can quickly get lost in the neurotransmitters but you have a good introduction here.

 

Let's turn our attention to a key driver of mental health issues.  The immune system.

CBD and inflammation for mental health 

First, inflammation is under the control of our immune system.

 

It's often given a bad rap but inflammation is critical for repair, growth, and even removal of cancerous and virally infected cells.

 

The issue is when we have too much inflammation for too long.

 

Chronic inflammation.

 

For mental health, there's also an issue when we come in contact with infection during key periods of brain development such as in-utero, puberty, and around age 2-3.

 

Newest research is finally showing that the immune system's response is all over mental health.

 

About time.

 

Read The Inflamed Mind by Edward Bullmore for a primer (albeit, an in-depth one).

 

In the brain, our immune system wears a second hat which is critical.

 

Microglia are the main immune responders in the immune system and they also operates as architects for brain connections and tissue.

 

So, the very cells that govern unleashing glutamate and little chemical assassins called cytokines to attack bacteria also govern the build out?

 

You can see how this would astray if out of balance.

 

In fact, microglia are all over mental health issues.  Even the more common ones like anxiety and depression.

 

As researchers put it:

mounting evidence that non-neural microglia play critical and specific roles during brain development, homeostasis and plasticity, with consequences on neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders, 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758507/

 

In each specific review, we address the role and research of inflammation in that particular mental health issue.

 

Check out CBD and microglia for anxiety here or CBD and depression.

 

Then, there's the raw levels of inflammatory agents that coincide with mental health issues.

 

We detail that in the reviews above.

 

Again, the issue may be "priming" of the immune response while in-utero.

 

There's a huge review here with references to rubella, Hong Kong flu, toxoplasmosis, herpes type 2 and  

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3797953/

 

So, what is CBD's effect on both microglia hyperactivation and cytokines?

 

First this (a full review is available at the link): 

cannabidiol (CBD) has emerged as a promising strategy to treat inflammation that results from microglial hyperactivation [78], with no psychotropic side effects. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3386505/

 

One important note...we have to get to the root of the issue.

 

What is the immune system responding to?

 

  • It could be initial priming in utero (mother's exposure to virus, etc)
  • It could be bacteria or viruses actually entering the body and brain

 

For the latter, we have to address the brain barrier and the gut barrier.

 

Otherwise, the immune response will just continue.

 

We've covered CBD and leaky gut or CBD and the blood brain barrier.

 

This is the root of autoimmune diseases and mental health as well.

 

Most of our serotonin is made in the gut and if you read the reviews of CBD and probiotics, it's amazing to see how the trillions of bacteria in your gut actually drive mood and behavior in the brain.

 

The gut is called the "second brain" for a reason.  It's the one other place outside of the brain with a fully functioning nervous system.

 

The two are connected by the vagus nerve where...acetylcholine operates.  

 


Check out CBD and neuroinflammation or CBD and inflammation here.

 

Next up...a different type of inflammation.  Far more dangerous!

CBD and oxidative stress for mental health 

The brain uses more energy than any other part of the body (pound for pound).

 

Energy production comes with a cost.  A tremendous amount of waste.

 

This waste mostly comes in the form of various combinations of oxygen.

 

Oxygen is nature's little scissors….they cut up everything they come in contact with which makes them very useful.

 

Unless they're coming up against our brain matter.

 

In fact, we have a full system to neutralize this oxidative stress and its most powerful agent is glutathione (see CBD and glutathione).

 

As for mental health: 

Therefore, the fact that oxidative stress is implicated in several mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is not surprising. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3964745/

 

Oxidative stress is highly destructive in the brain if left-unchecked.

 

In our big review of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), its effect on a range of mental health issues is fascinating.

 

As we mentioned above, NAC is a sink for excess glutamate but its primary role is that of boosting glutathione.

 

NAC is a slam dunk with our without mental health issues!

 

As for CBD, what's its effect: 

Fourth, CBD has been shown to have potent actions in attenuating oxidative and nitrosative stress in several human disease models, 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/

 

Check out CBD and oxidative stress or CBD and glutathione for mreo.

 

In fact, it's a more powerful antioxidant than Vitamin C and E combined.

 

Keep in mind that this antioxidant effect is also very important in our second energy hog...the heart.

 

Let's look at the source of most of our brain's energy.

CBD and mitochondria for mental health 

We've looked at how stress is intimately tied to every mental health issue and even severity of symptoms.

 

Interesting new research is pointing to our energy generators: 

Mitochondria seem to be central to the very existence of a stress response, serving both as mediators of it and targets for the damage it can do.  

https://www.quantamagazine.org/mitochondria-may-hold-keys-to-anxiety-and-mental-health-20200810/

 

Newer studies are finding low level of energy creation in mitochondria for both depression and anxiety.

 

Mitochondria are also the signal spreaders of cortisol, our stress hormone throughout the body

 

The net effect for mental health?

 

A growing body of evidence suggests that there is mitochondrial dysfunction in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder, including evidence from electron microscopy, imaging, gene expression, genotyping, and sequencing studie 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098560/

 

Mitochondria may be the intersection of stress, oxidative inflammation, and mental health.

 

This is brand new work and we look forward to further research.

 

NAD is an interesting supplement of this system.

 

What about CBD?

 

CBD appears to balance and protect mitochondria function depending on the situation.

 

We'll explain.

 

First, this (don't worry...we decipher after): 

Cannabidiol attenuates OGD/R-induced damage by enhancing mitochondrial bioenergetics and modulating glucose metabolism via pentose-phosphate pathway in hippocampal neurons 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221323171630338X

 

First, they deprived oxygen and glucose to mice.  This causes damage as the mitochondria are unable to function.

 

Afterall, oxygen and sugar is their primary source of energy and means of action.

 

CBD rescued this activity and balanced glucose levels.

 

Where did they look?  The hippocampus!

 

This is a very important part of the brain tasked with memory and mood control.

 

It's also very vulnerable to stress and inflammation since it's so dynamic (changing all the time due to memory).

 

Check out CBD and hippocampus neurogenesis.

 

Another study dove deep into the chemistry of how CBD worked: 

Thus, under pathological conditions involving mitochondrial dysfunction and Ca2+ dysregulation, CBD may prove beneficial in preventing apoptotic signaling via a restoration of Ca2+ homeostasis. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6666323/

 

The key there is "pathological".  Imbalance.  Excessive stress.  All the hallmarks of mental health.

 

CBD stopped the "cell death" that leads to brain damage.

 

Neurotransmitters are one thing but now we're talking about actual brain mass and connectivity.

 

Here's the fascinating piece.

 

What if it's a cancerous, infected, or senescent cell (zombie cells that linger and leak out inflammatory agents)?

 

Here we have shown that cell lines derived from acute lymphoblastic leukemia of T lineage (T-ALL), but not resting healthy T cells, are highly sensitive to CBD treatment. 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41419-019-2024-0

 

What they found is that CBD would increase oxidative stress in cancerous cells across a range of different types of cancer.

 

Without affecting healthy cells.

 

Remember, oxidative stress is the way our immune system kills off awry cells.

 

So...CBD's effect on mitochondria depends on the state of the cell and it's inflammatory stress load.

 

It's absolutely beautiful but the praise goes to the endocannabinoids system it works in.

 

Check out CBD and mitochondria to learn more.

 

Let's turn our attention to the repair side.

CBD and neurogenesis for mental health 

This may be the most important part of this review.

 

We've looked at the damage side quite a bit.

 

  • Overactive microglia and immune response
  • Excess glutamate or not enough GABA
  • Various chemicals or drugs
  • High oxidative stress and stress in general
  • Neurotransmitter imbalances 

 

Let's now focus on the other side of the coin...the system designed to constantly keep up repairs in the brain and nervous system.

 

The term is neurogenesis which literally means to build new neurons and connections between them.

 

We did a deep dive at our CBD, exercise, and mindful meditation for neurogenesis or CBD and brain repair.

 

Remember how serotonin was deeply implicated in almost every mental health issue above?

 

Serotonin has a side trick that you won't find mentioned many places.

 

It directly drives neurogenesis by boosting a chemical called BDNF.

 

BDNF is literally brain fertilizer and we reviewed it in detail at CBD and BDNF here.

 

All the exciting and new options for mental health end up relying on neurogenesis.

 

There's a gold rush among venture capitalist going on right now with psychedelics like psilocybin from magic mushrooms.

 

We did a full review of psilocybin here for mental health since it's probably going to eliminate large swaths of the current medications for mental health.

 

It's main pathway?

 

An explosion of BDNF and neurogenesis.

 

Ketamine?  Neurogenesis.

 

SSRIs?  Studies now show that if you block BDNF process (via an enzyme called TRSK), neurogenesis goes away and SSRIs lose their antidepressant effect.

 

That's why it takes them 2-3 weeks to kick in.

 

Check out how SSRIs really work here.  Fascinating!

 

So...BDNF and neurogenesis.  What about CBD?

 

Well, we know that CBD "rescues" serotonin function (NIH study's word, not ours).

 

Let's zero in on two brain areas key to mental health.

 

  • Hippocampus  - mood control area very vulnerable to stress
  • Prefrontal cortex - the newest kid on the block - what makes humans "human"

 

You can google "hippocampus and " any mental health issue and there's a direct connection.

 

It's a hub of control for mood.

 

Likewise with the prefrontal cortex which acts like a rational agent of our newer brain to constrain our older "reptilian" brain.

 

This plays into anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar, and more.

 

Again...powerful houses of mental health.

 

So first the hippocampus.

 

One study (of many) looked at CBD's effect to restore hippocampus loss due to long term cannabis use.

 

The results: 

Our findings suggest a restorative effect of CBD on the subicular and CA1 subfields in current cannabis users, especially those with greater lifetime exposure to cannabis.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908414/

 

This is just one reason why CBD is a must if you use cannabis (more research here).

 

As they put it: 

CBD may be a useful adjunct in treatments for cannabis dependence and may be therapeutic for a range of clinical disorders characterized by hippocampal pathology (e.g., schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and major depressive disorder).

 

Another study looked at CBD after stress (which is very destructive to hippocampus volume): 

These data are supported by evidence that repeated administration of CBD to wild-type mice increases hippocampal NPC proliferation via CB1 receptors, which may underlie the anxiolytic effect of CBD in chronically stressed animals (Campos et al., 2013). 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4543605/

 

To translate, CBD boosted the creation of new neurons in the hippocampus and that could be the cause for reducing anxiety with chronic stress.

 

One note on chronic stress...if a key pathway (dopamine, glutamate, immune response, etc) is imbalanced, that is a different kind of stress.

 

We covered how addiction may really be the result of self-medicating these pathways at our review on CBD and addiction here.

 

Each addictive drug fills in a gap of specific neurotransmitters + dopamine (our reward circuit).

 

It really makes addiction a mental health issue!

 

Again, we cover hippocampus neurogenesis and CBD here.

 

What about the prefrontal cortex?

 

One study looked at the neurogenesis pathway as a cause of CBD's antidepressant effect: 

Moreover, CBD induces cellular and molecular changes in brain regions related to depression neurobiology, such as increased Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) levels and synaptogenesis in the medial prefrontal cortex, as well as it increases neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891061818302114?via%3Dihub

 

Yes, we love the BDNF but synaptogenesis is even better.

 

It's literally the creation of new connections and brain pathways in the prefrontal cortex.

 

Part of mental health is chemistry but part of it is actual brain structure.

 

The latter may be the result of prior injury, immune pruning response, neurotransmitter imbalance, etc.

 

Remember that many  mental health issues are tied to immune response, trauma, etc at specific periods of brain development (in-utero, age 2-3, puberty).

 

Synaptogenesis is the key to rewiring the brain.

 

We even saw studies where CBD would offset the reduction in white matter tracts from heavy THC use.

 

White matter makes up the communication superhighway of the brain connecting various areas.

 

Very fascinating!

 

This effect on neurogenesis also leads to research on how much to take.

 

Let's go there now.

Research on how much CBD for mental health 

We'll borrow from our review on CBD and addiction.

 

For more severe mental health issues or situations (schizophrenia, public speaking for people with social anxiety, etc), the doses were generally around 600-800 mg per incident or per day.

 

With addiction, the more severe period is the initial stage of withdrawal which might be 2-10 days depending on the drug and length of use

 

For that period, research points to a higher amount of 600-800 mg initially.

 

Afterwards however, 300 mg is showing as the level for peak neurogenesis.

 

Beyond that, other pathways kick in and neurogenesis effects reduce.

 

So, 300 mg per day may be a long term goal for neurogenesis as it applies to mental health.

 

300 mgs of what kind of CBD?

 

Let's go there now.

What type of CBD for mental health 

First, we have basic requirements...many of which are not met on the market.

 

  • Organically grown hemp in the USA at an FDA registered farm
  • CO2 processed
  • 3rd party tested
  • No THC - THC normalizes which is not a good long term strategy for mental health
  • No heavy metals
  • No solvents
  • No pesticides
  • No bacteria
  • No mold

 

We actually test our oils twice to be safe.  Our whole family uses it after all.

 

Let's quickly touch base on the THC point since many people view it as a "treatment" of mental health.

 

We were so fascinated by this question that we actually did the work to figure out what was going on.

 

We did a whole article on whether THC is used to calm down glutamate.

 

If glutamate, our brain's "gas" pedal,  is running hot, which is the case in many mental health issues, THC acts like a wet blanket to slow things down.

 

The problem is that it slows everything down and the brain eventually pushes back.

 

This process of "normalizing" is not a long term strategy as you end up worse than when you started.

 

Another way to get this effect may be NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) which we covered here.  

 

In fact, the research on NAC and the expected mental health issues as well as addiction are very fascinating.

 

CBD obviously works the same way but without the normalization and addiction (see CBD and normalization).

 

Then there's the question of CBD isolate versus CBD full spectrum which is pushed so hard on the market.

 

All the research above and the dozens we reference across the site are  based on CBD isolate...CBD by itself.

 

The bigger issue with full spectrum is that 40-60% of the population has histamine issues.

 

This number goes up for women (as progesterone drops) and as we get older.

 

Many people have side effects from full spectrum (anxiety, etc) that go away with CBD isolate.

 

Histamine is also a powerful player in the brain.  Antihistamines are known to reduce anxiety.

 

In general, it's excitatory like glutamate and we saw above why too much can be an issue.

 

It's also part of the immune system which we've explored above.

 

For these reasons, we focus on CBD isolate which has clear research and avoids the histamine response.

 

Then, there's cost.

 

Most people don't realize that the research on mental health is pointing to between 300-800mg of CBD.

 

Many companies are more than happy to sell products with 250 mg per bottle to take advantage of all the hype.

 

The key is cost per mg of CBD.  Our 6000 mg bottle (about 30 doses of 200 mg) is priced at 2-3 cents per mg of CBD and that's before discounts up to 30%.

 

We discovered CBD through trauma...a brutal perimenopause that led to anxiety, panic attacks, and psychotic break as the result of medications (Lexapro and anti-nausea drug). 

 

That story is here.

 

It almost killed me.  It's reason we even found CBD and started researching how to get out of the hole I was in.  

 

shop cbd isolate oil online

The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

 

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