October 30, 2021 8 min read

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by low mood, lack of motivation, and difficulty finding enjoyment and things you once liked. Because depression has such a negative impact on a person's overall quality of life, it's easy to see why many people eagerly seek out prescription medications to manage their depression. Others, however, are wary of the side effects of many of the medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, so they opt for a more holistic approach.

There are countless herbal remedies on the market that claim to soothe depression, but we want to talk about the benefits of one of the hemp industry's newest innovations: Delta-8-THC. Many people claim that Delta-8 can boost their mood, but is Delta-8-THC good for depression? Turns out, it may be helpful in more ways than one. Here's what we know:

Table of Contents
What is Depression?
How is Depression Treated?
Can Delta-8 Treat Depression?
THC for Depression Research
Can Cannabis Be Prescribed For Depression?
How to Use Delta-8-THC for Depression
Best Delta-8-THC for Depression
Where to Buy Delta-8-THC
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Depression is a common mood disorder that can be debilitating.
  • Depression is commonly treated with prescription medications, but many people are wary of the side effects.
  • THC may have some benefits that help boost mood and improve other symptoms related to depression.
  • Delta-8-THC is a legal THC alternative that’s available online.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by low mood or loss of interest in hobbies or other activities. According to the World Health Organization, Depression affects roughly 280 million people globally every year. It can significantly impair daily life, including within your career, social circle, and home life.

Unfortunately, experts have not pinpointed one specific cause of depression, rather they believe that it could be caused by a combination of psychological, biological, and social triggers. Because it has such a severe impact on day-to-day life, most people need to seek medical assistance in managing their depression. Depression is a medical condition and should always be diagnosed by a medical expert.

Various prescription medications, many of which are stacked together to treat depression, can have unpleasant side effects.How is Depression Treated?

When you seek a professional diagnosis for your depression, you'll most likely be guided towards traditional depression therapies, such as prescription antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Some medications commonly prescribed for depression include:

  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva, Brisdelle)
  • fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Many people experience positive effects after finding the correct medication, but it can take some time and trial and error to find the right medication for you. Plus, many of the medications commonly prescribed to treat depression come with a healthy list of side effects. Some of the mild side effects from many antidepressants may include:

  • nausea
  • trouble sleeping
  • nervousness
  • tremors
  • sexual problems
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • blurry vision

More severe complications could include worsened depression and suicidal thoughts. Some medications, like Zoloft, even come with a black box warning, which means they can result in death.

Because some prescription medications are so risky, some people prefer to manage their mild to moderate depression through natural methods, like herbal supplementation. Some supplements that are commonly used to manage depression include:

  • St John's Wort
  • Ashwagandha
  • Magnesium
  • Saffron
  • Lavender

However, these supplements are not necessarily backed by research, and many of them stem from new trends that are only scarcely supported by anecdotal reports.

On the other hand, cannabis has been praised for its therapeutic benefits for centuries, and some sources suggest that it may have benefits for managing low mood. Many people suggest that cannabis helps them manage some of the negative side effects associated with depression, like poor appetite or trouble sleeping.

A small vial of Delta-8-THC oil, one of the most common D8 dosing forms chosen for therapeutic use.

Can Delta-8 Treat Depression?

It's important to understand that Delta-8-THC research is limited, and what we currently know about Delta-8’s benefits mostly center around what we know about Delta-9-THC. Because the two cannabinoids are incredibly similar and interact with the body in similar ways, many experts assume that Delta-9-THC’s therapeutic benefits may also apply to Delta-8-THC.

We'll dig into the research regarding THC’s benefits for depression below, but first let's dig into some of Delta-8’s unique benefits that may make it a good therapeutic alternative to Delta-9.

Although Delta-8-THC research is currently limited, there is one study that shows Delta-8 to be incredibly effective at reducing nausea and vomiting. This, of course, has nothing to do with depression, but some of the background details revealed in this research are important.

First, the research centered around the use of Delta-8-THC in pediatric cancer patients, and still found the side effect profile to be incredibly mild. In other words, this study confirms that even when used on children, who arguably have a lower dosing threshold than adults, Delta-8-THC has a low risk of adverse effects.

More specifically, the research found Delta-8 to have a much lower potential for causing anxiety and paranoia, two of the most commonly reported side effects related to Delta-9. The research did not identify why this may be the case, but it does suggest that Delta-8-THC’s psychoactive effects are milder than that of traditional THC. In fact, the study describes Delta-8 as being about half as potent.

In short, Delta-8 may have a unique advantage over traditional THC products because it's effects are less intense and less likely to cause anxiety and paranoia. Still, any evidence we have regarding Delta-8's benefits for depression come from what we know about Delta-9.

THC for Depression Research

Research concerning the impact of THC on depression and other mental health disorders is mixed, but most experts agree that depression and other mood disorders can be linked to the endocannabinoid system. In one animal study, researchers identified a link between low endocannabinoid levels and chronic stress. The study concluded that cannabinoids in cannabis could be useful at restoring endocannabinoid balance and reducing the symptoms of depression.

Low endocannabinoid levels, a condition sometimes referred to as endocannabinoid deficiency, has also been linked to symptoms like pain, sleep issues, and even chronic disorders like multiple sclerosis. By this theory, endocannabinoid therapy could be useful for managing a range of disorders, including depression.

Another theory involves different forms of cannabis, including those with high CBD levels. One study found that just one puff of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis could help reduce depressive symptoms, while two puffs of any type of cannabis could reduce self-reported anxiety levels. Because Delta-8-THC flower is made with high-CBD hemp flower (but also contains fair amounts of THC), it's benefits may fall somewhere in the middle.

Delta-8-THC flower, similar to medical cannabis flower, can be rolled and smoked for instant effects.

Although cannabis may have a positive impact on depression, it may not be the best option for long term use. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that THC's benefits for depression are more substantial when used as a short-term therapy, but that chronic use led to no significant change in depressive symptoms.

As you can see, research regarding THC for Depression is limited, and it all focuses on Delta-9-THC. Anecdotal reports often confirm that Delta-8 has significant benefits for improving mood, but more research is needed to understand how, if at all, it differs from traditional THC therapies.

Can cannabis be prescribed for depression?

To put it briefly, cannabis cannot be prescribed at all. Because cannabis is not FDA approved, a physician cannot write a prescription for cannabis. However, they can recommend cannabis in states where medical marijuana is legal.

In some of these states, depression is a qualifying condition for cannabis use. Medical marijuana patients are required to get a medical marijuana card issued through their state, which requires a doctor's recommendation. However, Delta-8-THC is available online to anyone who lives in a state where Delta-8 is legal and does not require a medical card.

How to Use Delta-8-THC for Depression

Everyone's experience with Delta-8 is unique, so it's impossible to summarize the "best" way to use Delta-8-THC for depression. The dosage method you use, whether it be edibles, smokables, or something else, depends mostly on preference.

It may take a little bit more effort to determine the amount of Delta-8-THC you need to take. Many people simply start with a low dose (between 5-10 mg) and increase gradually until they experience relief. You may want to read "How Much Delta-8 Should I Take?" to get a better idea of the dosage range for Delta-8 products.

You may also consider pairing Delta-8-THC with a non-psychoactive hemp-derived cannabinoidthat can help manage symptoms. Because Delta-8-THC is psychoactive, it may not be appropriate for all situations and it may not be the best option for daily use.

CBD is one option that is commonly recommended. It’s known to have a broad range of benefits, including some similar benefits that may be useful for managing depression, but without causing any psychoactive effects that inhibit your ability to function normally. Alternatively, you may consider a more targeted cannabinoid therapy. Our Clarity CBG Mood Tincture offers the benefits of both CBD and CBG, which may have an ensemble effect that boosts mood and mental clarity. Combining Delta-8 with other cannabinoids may result in more balanced, mellow effects.

Best Delta-8-THC for Depression

As we mentioned previously, the type of Delta-8-THC product you choose depends entirely on preference, but there are benefits and drawbacks to every dosing style. Some of the most common Delta-8 products include:

Tinctures

Delta-8-THC tinctures are a unique and versatile dosing option that are designed to be taken sublingually, which means you drop the dose under your tongue. When taken this way, Delta-8 can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, which means you may feel the effects after only 15 to 30 minutes. Tinctures are known to have moderately long-lasting effects that taper off after 5 to 6 hours.

The primary benefit to D8 tinctures is that they can be measured in precise increments, which makes it easy to increase or decrease your dose as needed.

Edibles

Delta-8-THC edibles are probably the most common way to take Delta-8. Not only are they delicious, but they offer individually wrapped, pre-portion doses that are incredibly discreet and portable. Some people find that Delta-8 edibles even produce stronger effects than other dosing styles.

Traditional edibles, like Delta-8 gummies, need to be digested, which means the effects can take over an hour to kick in. However, sublingual style edibles, a unique type of Delta-8 edible designed to melt in the mouth, may take effect as quickly as a Delta-8 Tincture. That means you may feel the effects of sublingual Delta-8-THC edibles in under 30 minutes.

Our Delta-8-THC Caramels are a great example of a D8 edible that delicately melts away in your mouth for quick absorption.

Flower

Delta-8-THC flower is a fast acting dosing method that is typically smoked, just like traditional cannabis flower. Flower offers a good bit of variety, and you may find that certain strains are better for managing depression than others.

Because Delta-8-THC flower is made from CBD-rich hemp flower that contains a wide array of cannabinoids and terpenes, it may be the best option for reaping the benefits of hemp's entourage effect.

Read more about how to choose the best Delta-8-THC strain.

Where to Buy Delta-8-THC

Because Delta-8-THC is federally legal, you can buy Delta-8 in stores and online in many states. Keep in mind that hemp industry regulations vary from state to state, so it's wise to do a little background research before choosing a Delta-8-THC product. Look for a brand with experience in the industry who uses clean hemp and third-party testing to ensure quality.

At Vida Optima, all of our products are made from U.S. grown, premium hemp that's processed in a cGMP compliant facility. Our Elev8 Collection is 100% Farm Bill compliant and third-party tested.

Vida Optima Elev8 Delta-8-THC Gummies

Resources

  1. “World Health Organization: Depression” https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
  2. “Antidepressants and the FDA’s Black-Box Warning: Determining a Rational Public Policy in the Absence of Sufficient Evidence” https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/antidepressants-and-fdas-black-box-warning-determining-rational-public-policy-absence-sufficient/2012-06
  3. “An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7776837/
  4. “Chronic Stress Impairs α1-Adrenoceptor-Induced Endocannabinoid-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity in the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus” https://www.jneurosci.org/content/34/44/14560.short
  5. “A naturalistic examination of the perceived effects of cannabis on negative affect” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032718303100?via%3Dihub

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