Depression Posts

How Medical Cannabis and CBD can be used to Manage Postpartum Depression

Postpartum (or postnatal) depression is a mood disorder that affects many new parents, and new moms in particular. Scientists are yet to establish a cause for this condition, which can induce intense feelings of sadness and anxiety. And unfortunately, the lack of attention that this area receives means moms are often left to deal with postpartum depression themselves – the anxiety can also cause feelings of inadequacy and embarrassment which can make a new mother reluctant to speak out and seek a suitable treatment.

Anti-depressants are available; however, these can be accompanied with harsh side effects. Counselling is also recommended and talking therapy can certainly help to get to the root of anxieties and various uncomfortable emotions. But interestingly, an increasing number of new moms are turning to medical cannabis and specifically the primary non-psychoactive component of the plant, cannabidiol (CBD).

How Medical Cannabis and CBD can be used to Manage Postpartum Depression

CBD is a therapeutic compound that doesn’t produce any of the psychoactive effects cannabis is historically known for, and there is growing evidence that this cannabinoid exhibits anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects. A 2014 study from the Institute of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio concluded that CBD had these effects by reviewing animal studies which looked at these aspects of the compound.

Cannabis scientists made a significant breakthrough in the 1990s, with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which we now know is responsible for regulating a plethora of mental and physiological functions in the body. It just so happens that cannabinoids, a group of compounds found almost uniquely in the cannabis plant, can interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the ECS.

America’s Postpartum Depression Problem

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered some worrying data during a study conducted between 2004 and 2005, estimating that around 600,000 American women were battling the condition. This figure was reached by asking mothers in 17 states to take part in a self-reporting study.

The research found that around 1 in 7 new US moms either had or had gone through postpartum depression, with the condition affecting young mothers and those with low incomes and education levels more than most. Researchers have speculated that the extent of the postpartum depression could be even greater, given that it was a self-reporting study. Not to mention, new moms whose symptoms reflected postpartum anxiety more than postpartum depression were not considered by this research.

How Medical Cannabis and CBD can be used to Manage Postpartum Depression

Depression can be a very difficult mental disorder to overcome on its own, and the pressure and responsibility of being a new mother can make things even tougher. The CDC has noted doubting one’s ability to be a successful mother, guilt for “not being a good mom” and feelings of disconnect from the baby as common symptoms of postpartum depression. Sadly, Postpartum Progress reports that around 85 percent of new moms with PPD do not seek professional help for their condition – perhaps some of this is due to a mother not even knowing that they are experiencing a pain which is ultimately treatable.

The decision to take a cannabis-derived medicine as a new mom can be challenging, even despite the gradually declining stigma surrounding the herb. Many are still unaware about the non-psychoactive potential of cannabis, and that it’s now possible to get the plant’s therapeutic benefits without feeling high. Furthermore, the argument that cannabis can cause memory problems and cognitive impairment no longer holds, with CBD and other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG), displaying neuroprotective properties.

However, before going further, it is important to point out that research into cannabis and new mothers is thin on the ground, and that concerns about the psychoactive THC compound are very valid. It would not be recommended for a new mother to take THC, even though there is no research to suggest that cannabinoids pose a neonatal risk.

But even for treating general depression, THC can be problematic, with the compound inducing anxiety and paranoia in some due to its stifling of the GABA transmitter. GABA has a calming effect on the brain, and interestingly GABA receptor activation helps CBD to produce its anxiolytic effects. It’s important to realize that until recently, researchers had nowhere near this level of understanding of cannabis, and how it can be harnessed safely to eliminate side effects. Now various strains are developed, some high in CBD, others high in THC to combat various conditions.

However, a 2005 study found that endocannabinoids – cannabinoid-like compounds made by the human body – are present in breastmilk. Whether phytocannabinoids from cannabis could affect this is unknown, but it is a crucial area for future research.

Therefore, it’s understandable that a new mother would be apprehensive about medicating with any kind of cannabis, even if it’s non-psychoactive. Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics has noted that the breastfeeding process can be stressful enough as it is for new moms with postpartum depression. That said, there is the potential for a CBD-rich cannabis oil product to ease a mother’s depression and improve her confidence as a parent beyond breastfeeding.

PPD can have a detrimental effect on a new mother’s ability to form a strong bond with her baby. Therefore, if it’s possible that CBD can help with that, then it’s worth considering. Using formulated milk over breastfed milk is perhaps a better option for a mother than battling on without a treatment for PPD and not making that vital attachment with her new-born. Of course, for those that see breastfeeding as an absolute necessity, CBD may not be the solution. But there is no strict guide to parenting and many mothers who have embraced CBD are delighted with the results.

Global CBD told the story of a new mother who uses cannabis products that contain 99 percent CBD and no THC to manage her PPD. In a video on Vimeo, she comments how the CBD helped reduce anxiety, back pain and more. And perhaps most importantly, it allowed her to be “relaxed with her kids.

Isolated CBD may be preferable to whole-plant cannabis

cannabis

In the battle for cannabis legalization, activists have always zoned in on the benefits over whole-plant and full-spectrum extracts over products where the cannabinoids have been isolated. This is because the synergy created by all 400-plus cannabis compounds interacting may enhance the overall therapeutic value of cannabis. However, in the case of postpartum depression, an isolated CBD oil tincture, or one that also contains non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBG, could be better. Not least because an isolate is less complex and therefore better understood, enabling mothers to medicate with increased confidence.

It’s important for any young mother suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety to speak with a doctor before contemplating self-medication. While the World Health Organization deemed that CBD “does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm” in December 2017, it’s possible that the compound may influence other medication due to its effects on the metabolism. Furthermore, medication is not always the best remedy for patients with mental health disorders, with talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sometimes proving better.

But it seems clear that, when used responsibly, CBD can have a positive effect for new mothers who are afflicted with postpartum depression, anxiety and more.

 

 

Advice On Dealing With Post Natal Depression

According to statistics, 1 out of 7 new mothers will most likely suffer from postnatal depression. And there’s a good chance the condition can be missed. Of course, you are at liberty to use medication, but as effective as medication can be, they don’t help you to cope. Luckily, there are other things you can do to help you get through the blues.

Advice On Dealing With Post Natal Depression

Assuming you’ve looked for professional medical help and your doctor has confirmed PND (Postnatal Depression), it’s likely you’ll receive prescribed meds and some therapy sessions.

But it doesn’t have to end there. You can put in the extra effort and start taking care of yourself. You can take control of your situation and definitely show yourself a little compassion because you deserve it. And always try to look at the situation from a different perspective.

If you need a little help with the latter, here is some advice to start with.

  1. Be Open About It

There is nothing to be ashamed about regarding PND. It’s a common condition that many women face, meaning you need all the support you can get. So, instead of trying to deal with it silently, reach out to friends and family. It can really make the difference. You may even want the help of a professional. Plus, talking about something helps to gain another perspective.

  1. Enjoy Your Beauty Sleep

A healthy mother is a healthy baby. In other words, just like a baby needs their sleep, so do the mother. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy when you have a newborn. Getting into a routine seems impossible, which can make it difficult to get the rest you really need.

According to Dr. Liz McDonald (Royal College of Psychiatrists), do your best to mimic your baby’s sleeping pattern. When they sleep, you put everything down and sleep with them. And in order to make it really effective, ask your partner to help out.

Advice On Dealing With Post Natal Depression

  1. Eat Right

A big part of staying a healthy mom to your child involves your diet. This is especially important during breastfeeding time because you want to maintain healthy energy levels. Approach your diet with nutritional food, like vegetables and fruits. Avoid the likes of white bread, cake or other bland carb based foods with little nutritional value.

In fact, swap the chocolate for something more nutritional. Because it’s making you feel good now, but the comedown can be tricky.

  1. Become Proactive

Why are people always recommending exercise for everything? Because it puts you in a good mood and gets rid of your tension in a healthy. However, it doesn’t mean you have to run 15 miles every morning. But just getting your heart beating for a few minutes can do wonders. For example, a brisk ten walk around the block is a good start.

But if you want to start exercising, why don’t you check out local classes geared towards mothers and children? It might even help you broaden your social life.

  1. Take A Moment

At some points during the day, you just have to take a moment. And at this moment you want to do something that helps you to relax as much as possible. It could be singing and listening to music, sitting on the porch with a cup of tea and watching the sunset, it doesn’t matter. As long as you take a moment to appreciate yourself and relax, you can get through PND.

Advice On Dealing With Post Natal Depression

  1. Maintain Your Social Side

Yes, having a baby can bring on a lot of changes and challenges. But it doesn’t mean you can’t socialize anymore. In other words, prioritize a little time with friends, go out, and enjoy your night. The point is when you feel the need to get out, then make time.

  1. Connect With Other Mothers

Dr. McDonald also recommends reaching out to other mothers, especially if you are dealing with PND. Isolation is dangerous, so avoid it by attending special activities like the children’s center. You can meet other mothers there and relate your experiences with people in the same position.

  1. Say Yes To Help

When you know you are in a tough position and a friend or family member reaches out, take it. Because getting support from those around you can be critical for controlling the condition.

  1. Stop Blaming Yourself

Always remember that postnatal depression is a condition that warps your logic and perspective on things. And having a negative perspective is part of the symptoms. The negative feelings are going to pass, but you have to stay strong.

  1. Drugs And Alcohol Won’t Help

By turning to drugs and alcohol, you are just making matters worse. In fact, you are creating more problems for yourself and increasing the intensity of the depression. So, if you know you can’t stop yourself, get professional help as soon as possible.

 

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