Does CBD Oil for Depression Actually Work?

CBD Oil for Depression

Thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, have started using CBD oil for depression and other mental health disorders (not to mention a number of other symptoms). This natural substance is derived from cannabis, but doesn’t get you high. It’s completely safe and has no severe side effects. People love it because it’s easy to take, fairly inexpensive, isn’t addictive, and highly effective for a number of symptoms.

Depression affects millions of people around the world and it is one of the most common reasons people use CBD for. If you’re suffering from depression, you might be curious and wonder if CBD actually works. This article shares research and reports about cannabidiol for depression.

What Is CBD?

Let’s start off with a little introduction about cannabidiol, also known as CBD. This is one of the many substances that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. In order to make legal CBD, hemp (industrial) is used for extraction because it’s high in CBD and low in THC.

What is THC? This other type of cannabinoid is responsible for the “high” you feel when smoking marijuana. CBD oil doesn’t contain high amounts of THC because it’s extracted from a completely different strain of cannabis (industrial hemp).

Industrial hemp is bred with trace amounts of THC and high CBD – it’s used to make CBD oil as well as hemp products. This is why you see products like hemp milk, rope, and more in stores.

Depression and the Brain

Why does CBD help with depression? What is depression? One way to try and learn these answers is to target the root of the problem and how the brain is involved.

Depression can happen for different reasons – people can be more prone to it due to their genes, or it can result from negative circumstances.

Due to advertisements for medications, some people believe depression occurs because of a serotonin imbalance in the brain. Unfortunately, commercials don’t have to be 100% accurate and like to exaggerate. We do know that low serotonin levels are linked to depression, but this doesn’t always mean it’s a chemical imbalance that you’re born with and will have forever.

Serotonin is believed to help regulate mood, social behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual function. It also plays a part in gut function, which is why many people see improvement in their depression and anxiety when they improve their gut health.

Many people discuss using CBD for anxiety and depression because these two symptoms often go hand-in-hand. CBD works just as effectively for anxiety, as well as many other mental disorders. These include schizophrenia, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and so on.

These aren’t even the extent of the benefits of CBD – there are many other symptoms and illnesses that it can target.

Is CBD Oil Safe & Legal? 

Yes, CBD oil is both safe and legal! The Farm Bill passed in 2018 allowed for CBD to be sold in all 50 states, as long as it is derived from hemp and contains 0.03% or less of THC.

Why is it safe?

  • It doesn’t get you high
  • You can’t overdose or get addicted
  • It doesn’t show up on drug tests
  • Side effects are rare and minimal (drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, and similar symptoms)

The Research

For many people, scientific research is important when deciding whether or not to consume a new substance. Although there is an abundant amount of general research concerning CBD, there are only a few studies regarding CBD for depression.

Even so, the overall safety of CBD is fantastic. There is no possibility of overdose (doses up to 3,000 mg have been given to humans with no severe effects). Side effects are rare. If you do experience them, it will only be small things like drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, and so on.

Here are some examples of these studies:

How to Take CBD Oil for Depression

There are many ways to get your dose of CBD – oils, tinctures, pills, supplements, edibles, the list continues. For depression, in particular, there are a few ways that work best (and some that don’t work as effectively). We’ll list them all.

Sublingual (Oils & Tinctures) 

Using a CBD tincture or oil is one of the most common methods. These come in a dropper bottle for easy application. They contain CBD extract combined with a carrier oil, usually hemp oil. Sometimes there are flavors added as well. Sublingual means that the oil is dropped under the tongue and left there for about 60 seconds before swallowing.

CBD oil drops administered this way are a great method because they’re very simple and more effective than just swallowing CBD. It has a higher bioavailability, which means more CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream.

These are often simply called CBD oil. “Tincture” isn’t always in the product name. The true definition of a tincture is related to the alcohol extraction of the CBD, but companies don’t always follow this rule when labeling products. However, oils and tinctures taken sublingually work the same.


Vaping is another great way to take CBD oil for depression. This method has the highest bioavailability (40%–60%) since the CBD goes straight into the lungs and is absorbed into the blood. The only downsides are that vape products can be spendier than tinctures, plus you have to invest in a vape pen if you don’t already have one.

While the effects of vaping will hit you quicker, they will also fade more quickly than if you were to take them orally.

Oral (Pills, Edibles, Gummies, etc.)

You may have heard about marijuana gummies, but what about CBD gummies? This is one popular way you can consume your CBD in a delicious way. More oral applications include supplements, edibles, and drinks. Although this method doesn’t have as good bioavailability (4–20%), these are easy and often tasty! Plus, the effects last longer than vaping.

The downside? Oral methods are usually not the best deal (price-wise). It’s almost always a better deal to buy a regular CBD oil.

Side note: You can often make these products yourself if you want to save money by adding CBD to your food or drinks!


Topical CBD includes creams, salves, and any other products that are applied to the skin. Unfortunately, these don’t work for depression because the CBD doesn’t absorb into the bloodstream. Although this form of CBD and depression wouldn’t work out, these products are effective for symptoms like localized pain and skin issues.

The biggest downside is that topicals tend to be much more expensive than a simple tincture (but they’re easy to make yourself).

When Shouldn’t I Take CBD? 

CBD is generally very safe, but there are some instances where you should take extra precautions. For example, there could be potential CBD oil drug interactions if you take medications. It’s always recommended to check with your doctor first.

If you take medication that says not to eat grapefruit, you shouldn’t take CBD with it. Pregnancy is another circumstance where you might want to hold off – there has been little research on the effects of CBD on a fetus.

Healing from Depression

CBD is such an exciting discovery for many because there aren’t many reliable natural, easy remedies for depression. Is CBD oil good for depression of all types? People have reported CBD working for various levels of depression, whether you’re just having a bad day or have been feeling clinically depressed (or even suicidal) for months.

Side note: If you are feeling suicidal, we don’t recommend CBD oil on its own. Please get professional help – the suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

If you’re determined to heal from depression, congratulations! You’ve already made a huge step. CBD oil isn’t the only way to do this, and there are many actions you can take to improve.

We know that serotonin and depression are linked, and some people are more prone to serotonin deficiency. So, what are some other ways that can help you recover from depression?

  • Changing your diet and eating healthier. Other than the brain, serotonin takes action in the gut as well. This is why improving your gut health can help improve depression and other mental health issues. Gut health can be improved by taking probiotics, avoiding animal products, avoiding processed foods, and eating more veggies. Scientists have also found certain foods have been linked to the improvement of depression, such as curcumin.
  • Talking to your doctor about subscription medications. If CBD for depression isn’t working well enough in your case, you might want to consult a doctor and start with subscription medication.
  • Getting professional help (therapy). Depression is all in the brain. Working with an educated professional can help you pinpoint why you’re depressed and how to reprogram your thinking habits.

To Sum Up

As you can see, CBD oil for depression can be a great way to reduce your symptoms. Although research behind cannabidiol for depression, in particular, is limited, it’s a very safe substance. There is plenty of research and studies behind the overall safety and effectiveness. It’s also legal, inexpensive, and easy to get. With all these benefits, why not try it out?


How much CBD should I take?

It’s hard to say an exact dosage to follow. If you’ve never taken CBD before, we recommend starting small. Some products are pre-measured (like CBD oil pills and gummies), which makes them easier to take. CBD oils or tinctures can be more difficult because you need to take a certain number of drops. The package or bottle will almost always give you a recommended dosage.

How often do I need to take CBD oil?

This also depends on how you choose to take it. If you vape, you’ll need to take it more often since the effects fade quicker. Oral methods last longer. People take it 1–3 times per day, on average.

How long does CBD oil last?

First off, this depends on how you decide to take your CBD. If you vape it, the effects will fade more quickly than taking it orally. Why? When taken orally, the CBD needs to endure a longer process through the digestive system. When vaped, it’s absorbed quickly through the lungs.

Is THC oil the same as CBD oil?

No – THC is a different cannabinoid that gets you high. Products containing 0.03% or more THC can only be purchased at a dispensary. As you might guess, THC is most prominent in marijuana. There are trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum CBD oil, but this is too small to affect you.

Does CBD oil work as a cure for depression for everybody?

Unfortunately, some people report that CBD doesn’t work for them. It’s hard to say why it doesn’t work for everybody. We also wouldn’t call it a “cure” for depression, as you’ll need to use it regularly.

What is the best CBD oil for depression?

It’s difficult to summarize which particular brand of CBD oil is best in just a couple of sentences. That’s why there are many reviews of the top CBD brands! They talk about quality, price comparisons, the origin of hemp, and more.

Should I use full-spectrum or isolate CBD for depression?

If you’re just trying to target depression, both types are equally effective. What’s the difference?

Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the hemp terpenes and molecules. These have additional health benefits you can take advantage of, and some evidence shows that all of these molecules work more effectively together. Isolate processes all of these extra substances out, leaving a 99.9% or higher pure CBD extract. Either way, the CBD is also effective.

Can I use CBD oil for depression during pregnancy?

Unfortunately, this isn’t recommended. There is very little research behind taking CBD while pregnant. It could be devastating if there were side effects. Marijuana has been found to have effects on babies such as smaller birth weight, so it might be safe to avoid consuming cannabis-related substances altogether. It’s probably not worth the risk.

Can I use CBD as depression supplements for pets?

Yes! Since cats and dogs have the same endocannabinoid system as humans, it’s safe and works just as effectively. Many people find their pets happy and excited again after giving them CBD oil (make sure to purchase one made especially for pets).

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