For decades, scientists and psychiatrists promoted the idea that low serotonin levels correlated with a higher risk of depression. Indeed, an entire class of antidepressants is designed to ramp up serotonin levels (aka SSRIs). However, new data from University College London (UCL) calls into question the relationship between serotonin and mood disorders.
Since many studies claim CBD oil works by altering serotonin levels, some customers are now questioning whether hemp truly impacts psychological health. If serotonin doesn’t play a significant role in conditions like depression, what’s the point of using CBD?
Does Serotonin Truly Have Zero Impact On Mental Health?
To many people who’ve studied neurochemistry, the idea that serotonin isn’t involved in conditions like depression may seem like a sacrilege. Over the past few years, countless periodicals, self-help books, and scientific articles all claimed serotonin is the “happy neurotransmitter.” So, why have researchers turned so skeptical about serotonin?
First, it’s essential to recognize that the results of UCL’s study aren’t set in stone. Although the data from UCL’s meta-analysis suggests serotonin has no causal link to depression, that doesn’t mean serotonin levels have zero impact on the brain.
However, UCL’s recent study took into account decades of research from multiple high-profile studies on serotonin and depression. Researchers estimate they poured over data from over 10,000 patients, yet they didn’t notice a strong correlation between depression risk and serotonin levels. Even when researchers looked at people deprived of serotonin, they didn’t notice a statistically higher risk of depression.
However, researchers discovered a strong correlation between high-stress events and a person’s risk for anxiety and depression. It didn’t matter whether someone was predisposed to low serotonin levels. If a patient experienced a traumatic event, chances were higher they would meet the clinical criteria for depression.
With these findings in mind, UCL scientists strongly encouraged doctors and patients to question the “serotonin imbalance” narrative. Study authors also advised psychotherapists to focus more on non-medication-related treatment strategies for depression, including meditation, pet therapy, and regular exercise. Rather than trying to “fix” serotonin levels in the brain, researchers believe helping patients feel more productive and social will positively impact mental health.
Does This Mean CBD Isn’t Useful For Depression?
Although the data from UCL suggests serotonin isn’t as significant for mental health as previously thought, that doesn’t mean CBD or antidepressants are “worthless.” Yes, UCL’s study is thorough and well-backed, but it will take time for other scientists to review this data. Future researchers may discover new features of depression risk and serotonin to better understand the best treatment options.
Also, please remember that CBD oil isn’t just a “serotonin booster.” A few trials suggest CBD can increase serotonin re-uptake, but this hemp cannabinoid also improves other “feel-good” compounds like anandamide. Many trials suggest CBD works better than placebos for social anxiety disorder (SAD). Since anxiety is often intertwined with depression, naturally reducing stress might help boost a patient’s mood.
Also, using CBD oil might help with other aspects of life that could contribute to depression relief. For instance, since CBD seems to lower anxiety levels, it may help people socialize and build bonds in their community. CBD is also a popular choice for people interested in sleep health and extra endurance for exercise.
So, even if CBD’s effect on serotonin doesn’t have as big of an impact on mental health, that doesn’t mean customers should throw the “baby out with the bathwater.” There are many complex ways CBD interacts with the body’s ECS. Patients interested in trying hemp extract for their symptoms should ask their doctor for dosage guidance and track CBD’s effects.
You Won’t Get Any Serotonin With Shoddy CBD! — Check Real Tested CBD’s Lab Results!
Customers must remember to demand third-party lab tests with whatever CBD product they want to order. While CBD shows excellent potential for anxiety and depression, there’s a chance the extract you buy has minimal CBD concentrations. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate the hemp industry, you can never guarantee your CBD meets the advertised claims without unbiased lab reports.
Please remember that Real Tested CBD publishes dozens of reviews on hemp products from some of the biggest CBD brands. Before searching “CBD near me” on Google, we’d strongly recommend checking out Real Tested CBD’s lab-verified reviews.