CBD against depression - a good alternative

CBD against depression - a good alternative

Published: 18.04.2023 (Updated: 21.07.2023)
Reading time: Min.
Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Health expert

More and more people are suffering from depression or other mental illnesses. Stress, anxiety and depression can quickly trigger each other, which is not necessarily particularly beneficial. Because it is precisely this vicious circle that makes your life increasingly difficult. Getting out of it is partly impossible without help from others or without medication altogether. Unlike conventional antidepressants, however, CBD can get you out of depression without manoeuvring you into a new dependency.

CBD and its effects

Before you decide on CBD for depression, you should first know a little more about this cannabidiol. Like 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, it is an ingredient of the female cannabis plant. However, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means that it can neither make you high nor addicted.

Unterschied zwischen THC und CBD; Hanf-Pflanzen gegen Depressionen


Instead, CBD has a relaxing effect on your muscles. This is why it is often referred to as a pain reliever and has therefore been considered a herbal remedy since time immemorial. However, you should keep in mind that this cannabinoid cannot heal in the traditional sense. It will not make cancerous tumours disappear, nor will it free you from depression. Nevertheless, it can be helpful for mental illnesses and effectively support other forms of therapy.

When used and taken as CBD oil, cannabidiol can have the following effects in your body:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic
  • cell renewing
  • antiemetic against nausea, vomiting or even cancer symptoms
  • antibacterial
  • mildly psychoactive, for example to relieve anxiety and panic attacks

Tip: You don't have to smoke a joint to use CBD against depression. This would not necessarily be beneficial in this case anyway, as the resulting intoxication can quickly bring you even deeper into the next depressive phase. For this reason, it always makes more sense to use CBD oil to combat anxiety or depression.

CBD-Öl Dosierung; CBD-Öl Pipettenflasche Nahaufnahme

What ingredients are contained in CBD oil?

Cannabidiol oil, in its extracted form, can be most effective against low moods or even depression. Taken in droplets through the oral mucosa, you will feel an improvement quite quickly. This CBD oil also contains other ingredients that can be absorbed particularly well by the human body.

Besides polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, fibre and proteins, CBD oil also contains vitamins. In detail, this oil is composed of the following components:

  • Vitamins
  • Trace elements and minerals, such as iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • gamma-linolenic acid
  • the colouring agent chlorophyll
  • carotenoids

Note: Of course, CBD oil can be used for many areas or complaints. However, it will never replace a consultation with a doctor or an individual therapy for certain medical conditions. You should always use CBD only in support of the medical measures.

Depression and its causes and symptoms

First of all, you should of course know whether you are suffering from depression or are simply experiencing a temporary low mood. Not every day when you feel a little more relaxed and listless is the same as a depression. Often such phases can also be due to insufficient or less restful sleep, to name just one possibility. But be careful! If, for example, sleep disturbances are a daily occurrence for you, they can already be a symptomatic indication of a depressive phase.

Depression can have very different causes and never progresses in the same way. The main reason for this is that there are always different factors that, in a certain interplay, can trigger a depressive illness. So if in your case it may be a genetic predisposition in connection with stress factors, in another person it may be due to a trauma.

Frau liegt mit Stress-Migräne und Depressionen auf dem Sofa und massiert sich die Schläfe

How do you recognise depression?

Doctors differentiate the causes according to psychosocial or neurobiological aspects. So it always depends a little on whether you fall into depression because you have a genetic predisposition to it. Or whether this mental illness has developed in you as a result of traumatic experiences.

Tip: When researching the causes, you can and should seek the help of professionals. As a layperson, you will not always be able to correctly assess the cause of your depressive mood.

Depression can often be recognised by the following symptoms, which can also appear somewhat atypical:

  • Unexplained pain in the head and stomach
  • Lack of energy and drive
  • Constant tiredness and fatigue
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • rapid irritability
  • Anxiety
  • steadily increasing listlessness and lack of motivation in everything
  • Sad and discontented mood
  • insomnia and/or sleep disturbances
  • loss of appetite

Note: If you experience these symptoms on several days in a row or at very short intervals, it would be a good idea to talk to a doctor you trust. You can also look into the causes together with your family doctor or psychologist. Only if you can fight the causes or triggers for your depression will you quickly be on the road to recovery.

Frau sitzt beim Psychologen und freut sich, weil es ihr schon besser geht; CBD kann Therapien unterstützen

How can CBD oil help you with depression?

Very often, depressive phases occur when anxiety and stress are particularly hard on you. This means that it can be a particularly hectic time in your professional life or a major problem in your private life that triggers the symptoms of depression. Often it is even events that you have experienced several times before. But at some point you reach a point where you may be overwhelmed by a situation.

By the way, researchers have found out that those affected have a lack of serotonin and dopamine. The important messengers that are responsible for your well-being and your feelings of happiness are missing. That's why they are also colloquially known as the happiness hormones.

If you now also use CBD oil in addition to the measures taken by your doctor to reduce your depression and leave it behind, the following basically happens:

  • The serotonin level in your brain is increased, which reduces environmental and physical influences.
  • The increased serotonin level ensures that you can experience and feel many things more positively again.
  • Anxiety is reduced because you feel increasingly better and happier.
  • By taking CBD oil, you can sleep better again, which also brings recovery and regeneration for your body and mind back on track.
  • Through its anti-inflammatory effect, CBD oil can work to stop the loss of dopamine.

Note: Just as the causes of depression never depend on just one factor, the treatment is also all interrelated. So you should never just fight a symptom, but also the causes and triggering factors. Comprehensive treatment is always helpful. It is not enough to just make you feel better and experience more moments of happiness. Healthy and restful sleep is at least as important. For example, it will give you more energy.

CBD-Dosierung; CBD einnehmen; Frau tropft sich CBD auf die Zunge

What should you consider when dosing CBD oil?

It is of course perfectly clear that every person is different. This also applies to the effect of CBD oil against depression. But as a rule, it is recommended that you take 25 milligrams per day. But here you have to pay a little attention to which oil you use or how strongly it has been extracted.

If you notice after a week or so that the effect is no longer as strong or that your symptoms are getting worse again, you can increase the dose a little. You have to test how much. In no case, however, should you increase the dose if you notice that you are feeling better. It is not necessary to increase the daily dose even if you feel that you are getting better. Even if this condition remains practically the same over a slightly longer period of time.

Note: CBD oil will not fundamentally cure your depression. It can only help you to minimise the symptoms, to get back into a better mood, to have more energy for everyday things and to generally feel happier and less anxious.

Incidentally, it has proven effective to put the CBD oil drop by drop under the tongue, leave it there for about 1 minute and then swallow it. It works particularly well this way. You can also mix your daily dose into your food if you prefer.

Tip: Never make successful treatment dependent on CBD oil alone. Change your lifestyle habits. Because spending time outdoors every day can also lead to increased release of happiness hormones in your brain. This works especially well when the sun is shining. But even on duller days, exercise in the fresh air can make you feel better. Perhaps outdoor exercise is an ideal complement to CBD oil and the other measures your doctor suggests?

Frau; Wald; Hände im Nacken; Yoga machen; Glücklich sein


[1] Deutsche Depressionshilfe "How does depression develop?", https://www.deutsche-depressionshilfe.de/depression-infos-und-hilfe/ursachen-und-ausloeser, (accessed 08.01.2019)

[2] Apotheken-Umschau "Depression: Causes, symptoms, help" , https://www.apotheken-umschau.de/Depression/Depressionen-Ursachen-Symptome-Hilfe-551273.html, (accessed 08.01.2019)

[3] Neurologists and Psychiatrists on the Net "Causes of Depression", https://www.neurologen-und-psychiater-im-netz.org/psychiatrie-psychosomatik-psychotherapie/stoerungen-erkrankungen/depressionen/ursachen/, (accessed 08.01.2019)

[4] Medicine Aspects "CBD - Miracle Cure or Marketing Hoax", https://medizin-aspekte.de/102677-cbd-wundermittel-oder-marketingschwindel/, (accessed 08.01.2019)

[5] Neurologists and Psychiatrists on the Net "Early symptoms and first signs of depression", https://www.neurologen-und-psychiater-im-netz.org/psychiatrie-psychosomatik-psychotherapie/stoerungen-erkrankungen/depressionen/fruehsymptome/,(accessed 09.01.2019)

Dr. Harald Stephan
Dr. rer. medic. Harald Stephan
Graduate Biologist, Medical Information Processing Officer and Doctor of Health Sciences
About the author

After studying in Saarbrücken, Dr Harald Stephan worked in research and teaching at the Universities of Marburg and Bochum as well as at the University Hospital in Essen before becoming a self-employed publicist in 2016. He sees acquiring and passing on knowledge as his life's work.

In addition to his publications on cell biology and tumour research in renowned specialist journals, hundreds of his articles on health topics can be found on the internet. In them, he explains the causes of diseases, laboratory values, diagnoses as well as traditional and novel therapy options.