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CBD And Antidepressants: Safety And Effectiveness

Key Takeaways

  • CBD is a safe way of managing mild to moderate depression. However, it may not help with severe depression, as it is not a medication or treatment.
  • When taking antidepressants, always consult a doctor before starting CBD, as it may interact with some medications.

Depression is now among the most common mental health disorders in the US. It is so common that most adults experience depression during their lifetime. In fact, more than 10% of adults are likely to experience depression each year. Every year, about 3-4% of adults experience major depression episodes in the UK, a severe mental health condition. What is worrisome is that depression is on the rise, and it is showing no signs of declining.(1)

Before we continue exploring the topic, I would like to bring attention to one important thing. Though antidepressants are mainly for treating depression, we doctors also prescribe them for many other health conditions like headaches, different mood issues, pains, and even gut problems.

Before we explore the role of CBD in managing depression, there is a need to understand a few other things. All adults experience some depression, which essentially means low mood and loss of interest in various activities. However, major depression is different, as it means thoughts of self-harm and even ending life. Many people do not realise when relatively mild depression becomes major depression. Hence, using CBD early enough may help.

Yet, another thing to understand is that depression used to be a rare issue till the middle of the 20th century. This raises many questions. Why is depression on the rise? There must be something that people are not doing correctly. It means that lifestyle changes have much to do with depression. Hence, lifestyle interventions like exercise, dietary changes, and using Novel Foods like CBD may help.

How do Doctors Treat Depression?

When it comes to medical treatment, there are two ways to manage treatment: psychotherapy or cognitive behaviour therapy and medications. I would generally use both these methods in combination for best results. It is always good to combine these ways, as psychotherapy helps alter thinking patterns, whereas medications help.

Doctors use a range of antidepressants to manage depression, like sertraline, Xanax, amitriptyline, and many more. These drugs mainly increase the brain’s serotonin levels, influence dopamine pathways, and thus improve mood. One of the issues with these drugs is that they also affect other brain pathways. Hence, they are not very selective, and this causes many side effects like sedation, hallucination, and sometimes even worsening of health conditions.

Although there are tens of antidepressants, their use for managing depression is highly controversial. That is why it is worth exploring natural remedies, including CBD use for managing depression.

Perhaps the most groundbreaking study to date was published in 2010 in one of the most reputed journals, JAMA. This was a systemic review, which means that researchers analysed data from all the existing studies regarding the benefits of antidepressants. They concluded that antidepressants have little to no value in managing mild depression. Antidepressants are also not very effective for moderate depression. They found that antidepressants are only good for severe or major depression.(2)

This is one of the most reputed studies and, regretfully, least discussed. This is because it shows that medications have a limited role in managing mild depression. Medicines are good for those with severe depression, those living with suicidal ideation or those engaging in self-harm.

It also means that doctors have very few ways of managing depression effectively, especially in its early stages.

CBD and Depression

One may ask why one should consider CBD oil for depression. Well, chronic mood issues are best managed by making lifestyle changes. Doctors in this condition can help, but patients must also make efforts. This means one should make significant lifestyle changes like exercising, practising mindfulness, and using different health supplements.

There is some sound evidence that CBD can help with depression. That is why CBD is used for depression.

CBD helps you stay relaxed. It acts on both endocannabinoid receptors like CB1 and CB2 receptors, and may alter brain chemicals like serotonin.(3)

Of course, CBD is not a medication or a treatment. It is just one of the helpful tools. However, if used along with other efforts, it may help significantly.

Surely, there are some concerns regarding CBD use, especially with medications. So, people ask can I take CBD oil with sertraline? Is it good to use CBD oil and sertraline UK? What about combining CBD oil and antidepressants UK? And also, they want to know more about CBD oil vs. antidepressants.

Of course, some medicines should not be taken with CBD. Fortunately, one can take CBD with antidepressants, but with caution. Since both antidepressants and CBD act on certain brain centres, the end result may sometimes be difficult to predict. Of course, using CBD along with antidepressants is mostly safe, but one should take precautions and share all information with doctors.

CBD will generally enhance the activity of certain drugs. Thus, CBD oil vs. Xanax means a greater relaxing effect. CBD oil and amitriptyline may mean greater depression relief, but then one should know that amitriptyline is an old-generation medication still widely used, and it has many side effects.

Of course, one can combine CBD with antidepressants. However, we strongly recommend that people should share all information with doctors. Another important thing is not to overdose on CBD. Many people living with severe depression might do that. People with depression have an inclination to self-harm, and they often neglect various safety advice; thus, they are more likely to abuse drugs and even CBD.

There are different ways of using CBD. One can buy CBD oil and take a few CBD drops every morning to feel relaxed for the rest of the day. If you experience insomnia, then using CBD oil in the evening may be a great choice.

Additionally, CBD can be vaped to help with depression. However, only use high-quality CBD vapes. Vaping is only an option for those who want to quit smoking or already vape. We do not recommend that people start vaping to overcome depression.

The Bottom Line

Depression is a severe mood disorder that may even kill. It is among the leading causes of suicide attempts and even death among young adults. Advanced depression or a major depression attack is challenging to manage, and medications can help. However, even the best medical treatment can cure depression only in some cases.

So, when it comes to depression, prevention is the best policy. One should identify depression early. Mild to moderate depression is best managed through lifestyle interventions like exercise, meditation, and even through CBD use. It is my strong advice to seek early help with depression, as chronic and established depression is challenging for us doctors to manage.


  1. Arias de la Torre J, Vilagut G, Ronaldson A, Dregan A, Ricci-Cabello I, Hatch SL, et al. Prevalence and age patterns of depression in the United Kingdom. A population-based study. J Affect Disord. 2021 Jan 15;279:164–72.
  2. Fournier JC, DeRubeis RJ, Hollon SD, Dimidjian S, Amsterdam JD, Shelton RC, et al. Antidepressant Drug effects and Depression Severity: A Patient-Level Meta-Analysis. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. 2010 Jan 1;303(1):47.
  3. de Mello Schier AR, de Oliveira Ribeiro NP, Coutinho DS, Machado S, Arias-Carrión O, Crippa JA, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953–60.
Dr Preet Pal Singh Bhinder

This article was authored by: Dr. Preet Pal Singh Bhinder.

This article was peer-reviewed by Dr M Mansoor Siddique (PhD). Dr Siddique has over eight years of experience working with CBD and CBD products.

Disclaimer: All of our products are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. It is recommended to check with doctor before starting a new dietary supplement program. All CBD products sold have less than 0.2% THC content and abide by both EU an UK law.



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