CBD and Suicidal Thoughts in Teens
Posted on May 24th, 2023 to Uncategorized
Teens are at a higher risk of suicide today than in previous generations. This is due to many factors, with the 2020 lockdowns being a major contender, but even experts disagree as to what the main cause is. Many parents have noticed mental health changes in their teens, but might have been unsure what steps to take. Suicidal thoughts and actions are a major public health risk that can affect anybody regardless of class, ethnicity, age, or gender. The World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 people die by suicide annually, or one every 40 seconds. The suicide rate increased by 5% in just one year from 2019 and 2020. This is the largest annual increase in the suicide rate in the United States since 1941.
Numerous disorders, such as mental illnesses, substance misuse, physical illnesses, trauma, and other pressures including marital issues or financial hardships, can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. However, there are many available treatments for depression and anxiety, which often cause suicidal thoughts. It’s critical to recognize the warning signs of suicide as early detection and prevention is critical. Warning signs include: talking about wanting to die or kill oneself, withholding support from friends and family, and having dramatic mood swings. If you recognize these warning signs in someone you love, take action. There are many resources available such as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Here is a guide on what steps can be taken to help: What to do when someone is suicidal.
Suicidal ideation is a serious concern that requires immediate treatment from a mental health professional. In this article we will be looking at the potential benefits of CBD in mental health prevention, specifically pertaining to anxiety and depression. CBD may be used alongside other mental health treatments, but should not replace professional therapy and intervention.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a “high” or psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD can have a number of therapeutic benefits, including anxiety relief. CBD is not known to cause addiction or dependence, and in most studies patients report minor side effects or none at all. CBD is a cannabinoid that interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a complex system of neurotransmitters, in the human body. Human’s naturally produce endocannabinoids that help regulate processes like sleep, inflammation, our nervous system, etc. CBD is able to hijack this system and interact with endocannabinoid receptors to produce a variety of effects.
CBD and Mental Health
The use of CBD as a potential treatment for suicidal ideation and associated mental health issues has drawn increasing attention. CBD has a calming effect on the nervous system which helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep. CBD achieves this by reducing activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is a part of the brain involved in processing emotions such as fear and anxiety. In one study, researchers found that CBD reduced activity in the amygdala in response to negative stimuli in people with social anxiety disorder.
Research also shows CBD can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, and researchers have linked low serotonin levels to anxiety and depression. Due to its antidepressant and anxiolytic qualities, CBD may help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety that are linked to suicide ideation.
CBD has been demonstrated to possess neuroprotective qualities as well. This means that CBD can protect neurons in the brain from harm, which can often happen due to stress brought on by mental illness. While there is still much to learn about the relationship between CBD and suicidal thoughts, early research points to CBD as a potentially effective treatment. The use of CBD in conjunction with therapy and medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional may be beneficial. While there is still much to learn about CBD’s effect on mental health, early research points to CBD as a promising treatment.
Is CBD Safe?
Most people tolerate CBD well. However, like any medication, it can produce side effects. Possible side effects include fatigue, diarrhea, or changes in appetite or weight. CBD can also interact with other medications such as blood thinners, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before using it.
Patients should ensure they are buying CBD from a reputable source. Look for products that have been third-party lab-tested for purity and potency. Lab-tested CBD products should display a certificate of analysis detailing the type and amount of cannabinoids in the product. Patients with existing mental health conditions should exercise more caution when using products that contain significant amounts of THC, as they are more at risk of experiencing adverse side effects.
Interested in CBD?
If you would like to learn more about potential CBD treatments, fill out our patient intake form, and our pharmacist, Dr. Peggy, will reach out to you for a consultation.