What is Seasonal Depression?
This time of the year marks the changing of the seasons, many holidays and gatherings of friends and family. This is also the time of year that people begin experiencing seasonal depression. Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), generally begins in the fall and persists throughout the winter months. SAD tends to resolve in spring, but some people experience the effects into early summer. Others may find SAD begins in spring and continues throughout the summer months.
SAD directly correlates with the change of the seasons, causing it to begin and end around the same time each year. According to the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms include feeling depressed almost every day, losing interest in activities, irritation, lack of energy, change in appetite and/or weight, problems concentrating and issues with sleep. More severe symptoms include a sense of hopelessness and thoughts of self-harm. Mayo Clinic also notes that seasons may have a direct effect on those with bipolar disorder, with summer and spring inducing manic episodes while fall and winter bring on depressive ones. Substance abuse rates are often increased while experiencing SAD. The authors recommend to seek treatment for symptoms and stress the importance of not “brushing” it off.
It is important to take control and actively seek to improve your overall well-being, regardless of the season. For SAD, popular treatments include light therapy, medication, and therapy. We will look at a natural approach to alleviating seasonal depression.
What is CBD? How Does it Work in the Body?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid compound found in its highest concentrations in the hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t adversely affect mental processes. Used in therapeutic doses, people don’t experience adverse side effects unlike many medications. Cannabidiol works with a physiological system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS works to create and maintain internal balance, or homeostasis, within the body. The ECS utilizes cannabinoids to fuel itself, interacting with two receptors: CB-1 and CB-2. CBD is highly effective since it works with both receptors, unlike some other cannabinoids.
How Can CBD Support Those with SAD?
Cannabidiol powers the ECS to balance functions like sleep patterns, pain management, balanced mood, reduced inflammation, and immune system responses. In regards to insomnia, CBD and the ECS work together to promote restful sleep and regulate sleep patterns to treat insomnia. With anti-anxiety properties, anxiety and stress are reduced which makes it easier to fall asleep. Cannabidiol increases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released when one does something pleasurable. This promotes relaxation and can help induce sleep. A restful night’s sleep will help every function in the body, including improved concentration and focus. Energy levels will also increase as the mind and body obtained quality rest.
Mood imbalances, such as depression or irritation, can make it harder to combat SAD and function normally. This can cause someone to withdraw from social or leisurely activities, over or under eat and struggle at work or school. Cannabidiol has the ability to improve and balance mood significantly. It influences the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that promote a sense of calmness and well-being. This can also help to regulate emotional responses, such as agitation. With a balanced mood, emotional eating based associated with moods should regulate in correlation. CBD shows evidence in reducing appetite, whereas other cannabinoids like CBN, can increase it.