Winter is here. It's a time of year when the world around us (in the northern hemisphere) can get pretty dark, cold, and dreary. For many, this means a lot of time spent indoors. For some people, this can lead to a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The long nights can lead to depression, anxiety, and even increased risk of suicide. You’ve talked to your doctor about treatments, and want more options to boost your wellness.
Read on for the full story on how CBD could help keep you happy all winter long.
SAD is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons. It usually starts in the fall and lasts through the winter. Symptoms may get worse as the winter season continues, and they tend to go away in the springtime.
SAD shares a lot of the same symptoms as other types of depression. These symptoms include:(1)
Many people feel a little more down than usual in the winter months. In fact, about 10 million people in the US suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and women are four times more likely than men to get diagnosed with it.(2)
If you’re concerned about whether your bleak outlook is just passing winter blues or seasonal affective disorder, talk to your doctor.
Scientists aren't totally sure what causes SAD. But, they think it may have to do with the amount of daylight you get. We know this because people who live farther from the equator are more likely to get SAD.(2) It's possible that the reduced sunlight you get in the winter messes with your overall serotonin levels and biological clock.
The lack of sunlight during the fall and winter months can lead to lower levels of vitamin D.
Your chances of developing seasonal affective disorder also increases if you have a family history of it. Lastly, if you already have a mood disorder — like depression or bipolar disorder — it may become worse during seasonal changes.
There's a lot of interest around CBD's ability to help with anxiety and depression. Some people believe that it could help relieve symptoms of SAD.
There's some evidence behind this theory.
Antidepressants — the main medical treatments given to combat depression — have been shown to reduce inflammation.
It gets even more interesting. Research has also demonstrated the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol.(5)
So, it's possible that CBD could help reduce inflammation and, in turn, alleviate some symptoms of SAD.
CBD is well known for having anti-anxiety properties.(6) There's also some evidence that CBD could help with mood disorders like depression.
Other studies have also found that medical cannabis users have lower levels of depression than non-users.(8)
How is CBD working to combat depressive symptoms? It may be interacting with your endocannabinoid system to modulate the serotonin levels — a neurotransmitter that's often low in people with SAD and depression.
First, it's a good idea to check in with your doctor before taking CBD. Your doc will be the best one to guide you in the right direction. For instance, he or she will be able to properly diagnose you. And your doctor can tell you if your current meds may interact with CBD and give you a sense of safe CBD usage for your needs.
Remember, CBD is not an approved treatment for seasonal depression. But it might be something that complements your treatment plan.
If the doc gives the okay, here are some general guidelines for best use:
CBD may be a great natural option to help you manage your symptoms. But there are other things you can try, too. To support your efforts to stay rosy this winter, you can give these tips a shot:
With a multi-pronged approach, you’re sure to boost your overall wellness all winter long. (Dare we say you might even feel a bit springy, your summery disposition shining through?)
Many people feel down during the colder seasons. If your low mood seems to persist and makes it difficult to enjoy life — it could be seasonal affective disorder.
CBD is a natural substance that might help relieve some symptoms of SAD. It's possible that the anti-inflammatory properties in cannabidiol have a positive impact on mood. CBD may also help boost serotonin levels — a neurotransmitter often low in people with SAD or other types of depression.
If you're looking to improve how you feel during these winter months, consider making CBD a part of your winter wellness kit this year.
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