Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) treatment consists of medication, light therapy, psychotherapy, Vitamin D, or a combination of those therapies. But another treatment may now be available: CBD.
The Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines SAD as a type of depression – Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. SAD can happen in the summer, but it’s more prevalent in the fall as the seasons change and the days get shorter. According to the American Psychiatric Association:
“SAD is more than just ‘winter blues.’ The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning.”
SAD can occur in the summer, but it’s much more common in the winter. About 6 percent of people with SAD require hospitalization.
Seasonal Affective Disorder Diagnosis
A SAD diagnosis requires a person to have major depression for at least two years and that the depression coincides with winter or summer seasons. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, signs of major depression include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Having low energy
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having problems with sleep
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
Additionally, symptoms of winter SAD include:
- Having low energy
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Weight gain
- Craving for carbohydrates
- Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”).
An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from SAD, and several factors make one more susceptible. Women are four times more likely to suffer from SAD than men. It often starts between ages 18 and 30 and is more likely to occur in people who live far north (such as New England) or south of the equator. SAD tends to be at its worst in the Northern Hemisphere in January and February. Family history and a history of depression or bipolar disorder can also raise the risk.
Seasonal Affective Disorder and CBD
Here’s where CBD comes in. The most common medication prescribed for SAD is antidepressants alone or combined with counseling, Vitamin D, or light therapy.
But CBD may be an alternative because it is effective in relieving some of the symptoms of SAD. For instance, insomnia and anxiety can be symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. A 2010 study found that CBD decreased social anxiety, and a 2014 study determined that CBD had antidepressant and antianxiety properties.
In a 2015 study, researchers concluded that CBD has “considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders.” A 2016 study Updated in the journal Neuropharmacology reported that “findings indicate that CBD could represent a novel fast antidepressant drug.”
What is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol, a compound that occurs naturally in both marijuana and hemp. Most CBD comes from the agricultural hemp plant, a fast-growing member of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. Marijuana belongs to the same family of plants. While marijuana and hemp are similar in many ways, they differ in their phytochemical composition. Hemp has lower concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you “high,” and it has higher concentrations of CBD, which doesn’t produce the “high” of marijuana.
Antidepressant therapy can be a trial-and-error process. Many undesirable side effects, such as shakiness, nausea, weight gain, and sex drive loss, are associated with antidepressants.
CBD, on the other hand, has almost no side effects. Some side effects are minor and may include drowsiness and dry mouth. And CBD is safe: Clinical trials have prescribed CBD doses up to 1,200 mg daily for months without observing any serious side effects. And a US Government patent concludes that “No signs of toxicity or serious side effects have been observed following chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers … even in large acute doses of 700 mg/day.”
CBD Dosing Factors
There are several factors in deciding on how much CBD to take. First, quality, purity, and concentration are factors. The CBD product should be made from 100% pure CBD, and the label should also show how much CBD there is per mg. Reputable brands, such as Sunrise CBD, have their CBD tested by a third-party independent lab, and the results posted on the company website. That way, you can be sure you’re getting the amount of CBD on the label and that the product is free from THC, contaminants, and other harmful substances.
Other factors include weight, metabolism, method of consumption, and how and when you take it.
And finally, the dosage matters. It’s important to know that CBD is currently unregulated, and there are no guidelines for a standard dose of CBD; everyone’s experience is different. It’s advisable to “start low and go slow,” although many people don’t take enough CBD to see the results they seek. Here are our recommendations:
As with any new therapy, talk with your physician about CBD and possible interaction with any prescription drugs you are taking.
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With Sunrise CBD, you get 100% pure CBD from organic hemp grown legally in Colorado. Our final products are compounded in our lab in California and then sent to a third-party lab for verification. We promise you’ll get consistent quality and 100% pure CBD — and nothing else. See all our products at sunrisecbd.com/shop.