Discover supporting research and information on how cannabidiol (CBD) relates to the treatment of Depression.

Every person experiences fluctuations in mood, sadness, and a lack of pleasure in daily activities from time to time. While these feelings are normal, if they persist for long periods or negatively impact a person's daily life, they may be signs of major depressive disorder. This serious mental illness negatively impacts the way a person thinks and acts resulting in a decrease in the ability to function at home or at work.

Depression is a very common mental illness that results in over 3 million cases in the United States each year. An average of one in six people will experience depression in their lifetime. While depression can occur at any time, it most commonly first appears during late teens to mid-twenties. Women are more likely to experience depression than men and the average depressive bout lasts from 6 to 8 months.

The good news is that depression is treatable through various forms of medication and psychotherapy.


The symptoms exhibited by those who suffer from depression range from mild to severe. Depression is diagnosed when symptoms last for at least two weeks. Symptoms include:

  • Feelings of sadness or a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
  • Loss of sexual drive and desire
  • Changes in appetite including weight loss or gain unrelated to diet
  • Fatigue
  • Problems sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death
  • Mental cloudiness impairing the ability to think, concentrate or make decisions


The root cause of depression is varied and often made up of many factors including:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Environmental and situational
  • Changes in neurotransmitter levels
  • Social
  • Stress

Factors that Increase the Likelihood of Depression

  • Previous major depressive disorder increases the risk of subsequent episodes.
  • Life-impacting events including divorce, bereavement, relationship issues, financial problems, medical concerns, or stress.
  • Immediate relatives with depression.
  • Those who exhibit inferior coping strategies.
  • Childhood or any type of previous trauma.
  • Prescription drugs including corticosteroids, some beta-blockers, interferon, and others.
  • Abuse of alcohol, amphetamines, and other illicit drugs.
  • Past head injuries.
  • Those who suffer from chronic pain.


  • Major Depression or major depressive disorder is diagnosed when a person feels depressed for most days of the week for at least two weeks straight.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder is when a person suffers from depression for two years or longer.
  • Bipolar Disorder is characterized by wide swings up and down in mood. During the low periods, major depressive symptoms will occur.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is depression caused by changing seasons. Most often SAD occurs during winter months when the days grow shorter and darker.
  • Psychotic Depression is experienced when major depressive disorder is accompanied by psychotic symptoms including hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions.
  • Postpartum Depression is major depression experienced by mothers in the immediate weeks and months following childbirth.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is depression experienced by women corresponding with the start of their period.

Treating Depression with CBD

Current antidepressant medications display a substantial time lag to induce a therapeutic response. Some medications need to be taken for 1-2 months before full effect can be observed. The extended onset is often followed by a relatively low efficacy. With depression being such a common and major issue in modern society, the development of effective, fast-acting drugs is key.

Studies have long pointed to CBD's potential use as an antidepressant. Recent studies have shown encouraging evidence that CBD exerts fast and maintained antidepressant-like effects thanks to the interaction with 5-HT(1A) receptors in the brain. These findings point to the compounds promising future use as an antidepressant medication.


Most current research is animal-based and does not reference dosages for humans. Standard generalized dosages range from 10-25mg per dose.

For more information, see our dosage guidelines for CBD.

Recommended CBD Product Types for Depression

Supporting Research

The contents of this page are not medical advice. Please seek professional medical assistance for any condition and before starting, stoping, or changing medication or supplements.

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