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About CBD and depression

Depression is a term which is often loosely used to describe feeling sad and low. However, major depressive disorder is a much more complicated medical condition and a proper mental health disease. It refers to a clinical diagnosis, which is determined by a specific group f symptoms. It allows to distinguish between the sadness we all feel at times and proper clinical depression. In order to be diagnosed with a depressive disorder, according to the DSM-5, at least 5 symptoms need to present every day for at least 2 weeks and must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

These symptoms include

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.

  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).

  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

  • URecurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

How CBD works and helps during depressions?

In the "serotonin hypothesis" of clinical depression, researchers think that a deficit in serotonin activity is a cause of depression. That is why antidepressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) target serotonin receptors in an attempt to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Despite causing fewer side-effects than previous types of antidepressants, SSRIs still come with a baggage of unwanted and adverse effects, including an increased risk of suicide.

The cannabis plant (but also stronger psychedelics, but that’s an entirely different topic) have shown positive effects for treating anxiety and depression.. Please note that none of the research is currently supported by clinical trials, whether in the United States or any other country. Scientists hypothesize that the benefits of CBD in cases of depression are due to:

1) The way in which it affects serotonin levels

One particular study, showed that CBD moderates activation of the 5-HT1A receptors involved in brain development and mood, showing antidepressant effects that are comparable to the well-known antidepressant Imipramine. Furthermore, in a 2016 mouse study, researchers found that serotonin and glutamate levels significantly increased after dosing with CBD.

2) The way in which it interacts with the Endocannabinoid System

In a 2011 study, researchers investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in depression and found that a deficiency in endocannabinoids can lead to pre-clinical depression. They also found that CBD restores endocannabinoid signalling similar to conventional antidepressant treatments.

Recommended CBD product types and dosage against depression


It's important to use a high-quality product and do so regularly, when using CBD for a condition such as depression.

  • Sublingual Treatments & Ingestibles

    For daily prevention and maintenance we recommend using a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum potent CBD oil (15% and more), CBD tincture or CBD capsules. This will allow for a slow onset of action that lasts throughout the day.

  • Vaping & Smoking

    For acute flare-up of depression, vaping CBD or smoking CBD flowers can provide almost immediate relief due to its fast onset of action.


There are currently no studies exploring CBD dosage for depression in humans. In laboratories , effective antidepressant effects for CBD was found at dosages from 7 mg to 30 mg/kg on rats, but extrapolated to humans, this might translate into too high a dose. For cases of depression and given the severity of the ailment, we would rather recommend higher than lower doses and would start with 35-50mg of CBD taken twice daily. If the symptoms are not alleviated with this dosage after 3-4 weeks, increase the daily intake by about 35mg.

To help you figure out the right dose for you, head over to our page CBD usage and dosage.

Recommended CBD products

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) or Swissmedic. The information provided here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult with a doctor / physician if you have any medical condition or use any prescription medications. Medical advice should always be sought before starting any new treatment, including the intake of CBD products.


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