CBD and Delta-8 for Dealing with Mental Illnesses
The cannabinoid revolution is being led by cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These two cannabinoids not only serve as alternatives to the more popular and widespread delta-9 THC that a vast majority of people know from cannabis, but also as powerful cannabinoids in their own right with their own strengths and benefits.
One of the big things that both CBD and delta-8 have become known for is their ability to relieve anxiety, which they do better than delta-9. That one effect has made cannabis more palatable to the general public, which has been garnering public support for the legalization of cannabis. It has now sparked the conversation on CBD and delta-8 as viable alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs in the field of mental health.
Let’s take a look at how CBD and delta-8 can help in the improvement of mental health, particularly in how they can help combat anxiety and depression.
Main Difference Between CBD and delta-8
CBD and delta-8 get confused due to both being derived from cannabis. You can’t really blame people since they’re both cannabinoids with fairly similar properties and effects. However, there’s a fundamental difference—delta-8 is psychoactive, CBD isn’t.
Pure CBD is not meant to cause euphoria as it’s not a psychoactive substance. If your source of CBD is high quality, you should not get any “high” feeling from taking only that. Meanwhile, delta-8 does, even if its effects aren’t as pronounced as regular delta-9 THC.
This is important to emphasize as people who are struggling with their mental health may not respond well to psychoactive effects of delta-8, which can exacerbate dissociative disorders. But since delta-8 creates a stronger connection to CB1 neurotransmitters, it can create a stronger anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) effect that can also be found in CBD.
It’s that euphoria that also makes delta-8 great in promoting better sleep, especially since it creates a sense of relaxation. CBD also imparts these effects, but the way it does that may be through its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects that relieve pain and enhance memory.
Consult with your physician to determine whether you have to choose one over the other. If you choose to take both, make sure to take a light to moderate dose to minimize side effects. But if you don’t have any underlying conditions that may be exacerbated by either cannabinoids, you can eventually try using both, although it’s advised to ease into it.
How CBD and delta-8 Can Help With Mental Health
The endocannabinoid system has numerous receptors that interact with cannabinoids like CBD and delta-8. In particular, CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which then alters the flow of serotonin, which is responsible for mood, happiness, and sense of well-being.
Obviously, being able to boost the flow of serotonin can definitely help with mental health. While the effects of CBD on CB1 receptors is still not fully understood by medical science, we do know that it boosts low serotonin levels, one of the main physiological factors of depression.
That can also help decrease anxiety. While it may not be solely due to low serotonin levels, it can certainly exacerbate anxiety and lead to a snowball effect when combined with other physiological, emotional, and environmental factors that can cause both anxiety and depression.
A study from 2014 that involved animal models showed that CBD exhibited anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. Meanwhile, a research published in 2019 had mixed results in studying how different cannabinoids can affect anxiety on animal models. It yielded pronounced anxiolytic and antidepressant effects from THC and a lack thereof from CBD.
Therefore, it must be emphasized that CBD and delta-8 mostly help with mental health through its physical effects, which can improve your sense of well-being, which can then help improve your mental health. If you feel good, it can help make you less down and anxious, which can then lead to a boost to your mood. When it comes to mental health, every bit of help counts.
Which is Better for Your Mental Health?
From what we can gather from both scientific research and anecdotal evidence, both CBD and delta-8 have fairly similar effects in anxiety relief. However, we must consider a number of factors before you make a choice on which one is best for your particular case.
For instance, delta-8 is still THC, so it can still show up on drug tests. If you work for a company that institutes mandatory drug tests, then it may not be for you. CBD would then be a much safer option, granted that you have a reliable source of CBD products that contain little to no THC. Not all CBD products that say it has no THC actually has no THC, especially due to lax regulation and lack of oversight by the FDA.
Also, according to a 2004 comparative study, delta-8 can increase one’s appetite, thus it may make you eat more. If you’re looking to lose or maintain weight and stay fit, then delta-8 can negatively affect that. It may not be the best for health conscious individuals, especially those who are currently on weight loss regimens.
Therefore, CBD is better for this use case. It must also be noted that CBD has been known to decrease appetite and help in reducing weight, thus making it a better option. Also, due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, CBD can also aid in recovery from strenuous exercise, thus letting you exercise more and become fitter in the long run.
However, it does matter that delta-8 can help promote better sleep due to its effects. Mental health can be significantly improved by getting better quality sleep for longer hours, thus relieving stress and symptoms of mental illness that may be caused or exacerbated by sleep deprivation. Instead of sleeping pills and night caps, you can take delta-8 to better fall asleep.
As you can see here, both are viable for improving mental health, but each has a different approach to the problem. Consider what factors in your life that can be improved by each and weigh your options carefully before taking the plunge. You may want to consult with a mental health professional to determine which one would be better for you.
It’s important to note that you can’t just rely on CBD or delta-8 alone to improve your mental health. In a world where selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are being pushed hard in the ongoing fight against depression, the message of improving physical health to help improve mental health must be made louder.
While CBD and delta-8 can indeed be used as alternatives to SSRIs and other pharmaceutical drugs in relieving anxiety and depression, they can be made even better with a better diet, more exercise, and a more conducive environment. No substance can replace better living conditions, so it’s important to manage your expectations.