There has been increasing talk about new moms and how they have been utilizing CBD to help battle postpartum depression (PPD) and improve their mental health. It is true that many moms are realizing the potential of cannabinoids when it comes to mental health. I see more and more moms becoming more conscious of the things they consume when it comes to PPD. More moms are opting for healthier alternatives that not only improve their mental health, but can increase their overall wellness altogether. This is where cannabinoids like CBD come into play.
There is increasing evidence that CBD (as well as other cannabinoids) have a high therapeutic potential to improve how we deal with depression, improve social interaction by offering acute stress relief, offer anti-anxiety properties (anxiolytic), stimulate appetite (which may be lost in cases of depression), improve sleep quality and mood (both which are affected by depression), and reduce nausea and vomiting, all which are common in PPD (1).
Previously, medical researchers were unsure of these phytochemicals (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids) and how they produced the effects and benefits that they did. As we learn more about these medicinal plant compounds, researchers are starting to get a better understanding of what is going on at a receptor level.
Our body makes endogenous cannabinoids called anandamide and 2-AG, which attach to two known receptors that are present in mammals known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. While there is still so much to learn about these cannabinoids and their interaction with receptors, we do know that CBD can attach to CB1 and CB2 receptors and produce some amazing effects. Anandamide, which is also known as the "bliss molecule" attaches to CB1 receptors in our CNS (brain and spinal cord). Anandamide is the endogenous cannabinoid that was shown to improve mood and happiness. We may be familiar with some of anandamides effects. When we are out for a run and get a spontaneous burst of energy, also known as “runners high”, it is actually due to anandamide and its interaction with CB1 receptors that give us that bliss feeling.
It is known that CB1 receptors (where anandamide attaches to) can be activated by cannabinoids like CBD, which is where many benefits come from psychologically. This means that we can use exogenous cannabinoids like CBD to manipulate our endocannabinoid system to improve our mental state by mimicking anandamides effects through CB1 activation. This is one proposed thought of why CBD can be so great for mental health and helping to improve PPD, although there is still so much to learn about cannabinoid medicine.
If there is one thing I have noticed, it’s the huge spike in moms that are looking for a more natural approach to manage their health, especially when it comes to PPD. While I always tell everyone to do their own research and follow up with their primary care physician, there is no doubt of the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and addressing symptoms that come with PPD, including mental health support and anxiety control.
A safe and effective herb with seemingly endless benefits. What more could we want?
Cheers to these amazing plant compounds!
- Ayisire, O. E., Okobi, O. E., Adaralegbe, N. J., Adeosun, A. A., Sood, D., Onyechi, N. P., Agazie, O., Shittu, H. O., Akinsola, Z., Nnaji, C. G., Owolabi, O. J., Umeh, N. J., Imobighe, I. C., Adedoyin, A. M., & Usman, M. (2022). The Use of Cannabis and Its Effects on Postpartum Depression. Cureus, 14(8), e27926. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.27926