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Cannabis is an illegal drug which can affect your mental health. Find out about the effects cannabis can have on your mental health, and how to get support. CBD oil has become popular to treat anxiety & depression, but does it work? Learn about the pros & cons of this alternative treatment. I started taking CBD oil then hemp oil because I had heard many accounts of its anxiety and pain-reducing benefits. After a couple of months of increased anxiety I made the connection between the hemp oil pill and my depressed mood. When I stopped taking the hemp oil I felt an immediate improvement in my emotional well-being. My story is not typical, but I wanted to tell it to help others who may have had a similar experience.

Cannabis and mental health

Cannabis is an illegal drug which can affect your mental health. This page is about the effects that cannabis can have on your mental health. And how to get help and support. You may also find this page if you care for someone who uses cannabis.

If you would like more advice or information you can contact our Advice and Information Service by clicking here .

  • Overview
  • About
  • How does it work?
  • How can it make me feel?
  • Cannabis & mental health
  • Psychosis & schizophrenia
  • Is cannabis addictive?
  • Get help
  • Confidentiality
  • Useful Contacts

Overview

  • Cannabis is known by different names such as marijuana and weed.
  • Cannabis is a drug that can make you feel happy or relaxed. And anxious or paranoid.
  • THC is the main chemical in cannabis which can change your mood and behaviour.
  • Skunk is the most common name for stronger types of cannabis which has more THC.
  • Research has found a link between cannabis and developing psychosis or schizophrenia.
  • Psychosis is when you experience or believe things that other people don’t.
  • Schizophrenia is the name of a mental illness. If you have schizophrenia, you can have psychosis and other symptoms.
  • If cannabis is affecting your health or how you feel, you can see your GP.

Need more advice?

What is cannabis?

Cannabis is an illegal drug made from the cannabis plant. You can smoke or eat cannabis. You can smoke it on its own or mix it with tobacco to make a ‘joint’ or ‘spliff’. It can also be cooked in food or brewed in tea.

People use cannabis for different reasons. Sometimes they use it to relieve mental or physical symptoms. This is called self-medication. This may make you feel better in the short term. But in the longer term it can increase problems or create new ones.

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain. Young people are more likely to use it than older people.

Cannabis can be called marijuana, dope, draw, ganja, grass, hash, herb, pot, and weed, and other things.
Stronger types of cannabis can be called skunk, super-skunk, Northern Lights, Early Girl and Jack Herer.

You can find more information about cannabis, on the FRANK website. You can find the details of the website in the Useful Contacts section of this page. The website tells you what cannabis looks like, how it is used and the law on cannabis.

How does cannabis work?

Cannabis will go into your bloodstream when smoked. It will quickly be carried to your brain and stick to your receptors. This will affect your mood and behaviour.

Cannabis contains lots of different chemicals known as cannabinoids. Some examples are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the main active ingredient in the cannabis plant. The more THC there is in cannabis, the greater the effect will be.

Skunk is a stronger variety of cannabis. It contains higher levels of THC. Evidence suggests that the effects of skunk are faster and stronger than milder cannabis.

CBD can lessen the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC such as hallucinations and paranoia. It can also reduce anxiety. This means that the effects of THC will be lower if there is more CBD in the plant.

How can cannabis make me feel?

The effects of cannabis can be pleasant or unpleasant. Most symptoms will usually last for a few hours. But there can be unpleasant long term symptoms. Especially if you used cannabis regularly over a long period of time. The risks can also be worse if are young and smoke strong cannabis, like skunk.

What are the pleasant effects of cannabis?

Cannabis can make you feel happy, relaxed, talkative or laugh more than usual.You may find that colours and music are brighter and sharper. Pleasant effects are known as a ‘high.’

What are the unpleasant effects of cannabis?

Cannabis can cause hallucinations, changes in mood, amnesia, depersonalisation, paranoia, delusion and disorientation. You might find it harder to concentrate or remember things. You may find that you can’t sleep well and you feel depressed. You may also feel hungry or like time is slowing down.

You might have lower motivation. And cannabis can affect how you sense things. You may see, hear or feel things differently. This is known as hallucinating. Hallucinations can be a sign of psychosis.

Psychosis can be a symptom of mental illness, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder. These can be called ‘psychotic illnesses.’

You can use the links below to find out more about:

Or call our General Enquries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

Can cannabis affect my mental health?

Regular cannabis use is linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression. But most research seems to have a focus on the link between psychosis and cannabis.

Using cannabis can increase the risk of later developing psychotic illness, including schizophrenia. There is a lot of reliable evidence to show a link between the use of stronger cannabis and psychotic illnesses, including schizophrenia. But the link is not fully understood.

Cannabis may be one of the causes of developing a mental illness, but it isn’t be the only cause for many people. Not everyone who uses cannabis will develop psychosis or schizophrenia. And not everyone who has psychosis or schizophrenia has used cannabis. But you are more likely to develop a psychotic illness if you smoke cannabis. And are ‘genetically vulnerable’ to mental health problems.

‘Genetically vulnerable’ means that you are naturally more likely to develop a mental health problem. For example, if people in your family have a mental illness, you may be more likely to develop a mental health problem. if someone in your family has depression or schizophrenia, you are at higher risk of getting these illness when you use cannabis.

Cannabis can have the following effects.

  • Long term use can have a small but permanent effect on how well you think and concentrate.
  • Smoking cannabis can cause a serious relapse if you have a psychotic illness.
  • Regular cannabis use can lead to an increased risk of later developing mental illness. Especially if you use cannabis when you are young.

For more information, see our ‘Does mental illness run in families’ section Or call our General Enquiries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

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What is the difference between psychosis and schizophrenia?

Psychosis and schizophrenia aren’t the same illness.

Psychosis is the name given to symptoms or experiences, which include hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations make someone experience things differently to other people. This might be seeing things or hearing voices. Delusions are when people have unusual beliefs that other people don’t have.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how someone thinks or feels. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations and delusions. But often it will have other symptoms like feeling flat or emotionless, or withdrawing from other people.

Use the links below to find out more about:

Or call our General Enquiries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet

Is cannabis addictive?

Cannabis can be addictive.

About 1 in 10 regular cannabis users become dependent on it. Your risk of getting addicted is higher if you start using it in your teens or use it every day.

You can develop a tolerance to cannabis if you use it regularly. This means you need more to get the same effect.

If you become addicted, you may feel withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use cannabis. For example, you might:

  • be irritable,
  • have cravings,
  • have sleep problems,
  • be restless, and
  • have mood swings.

You might smoke cannabis with tobacco. If you do you may become addicted to nicotine. This means you are at risk of getting diseases such as cancer and heart disease. So, if you stop using nicotine or cut down you could experience nicotine withdrawal too.

You can get information on stopping smoking tobacco by clicking the following link: www.nhs.uk/live-well/quit-smoking/take-steps-now-to-stop-smoking/

How can I get help if cannabis is affecting my health?

Can I see my GP?

Speak to your GP if cannabis use is affecting your physical or mental health. Be honest with your GP about your cannabis use and symptoms. Your GP may not offer you the right support if they don’t know the full picture.

  • offer you treatment at the practice, or
  • refer you to your local drug service.

You can find local drug treatment support by clicking on the following link: www.talktofrank.com/get-help/find-support-near-you

What can my local drug service do?

The service can offer counselling, support groups and advice. They can help you to:

  • reduce your cannabis use,
  • stop using cannabis,
  • reduce the affect that cannabis has on your life, and
  • support you to not start using again.

The service may be provided through the NHS or through charity. You may be able to self-refer to this type of service. If you can’t self-refer speak to your GP or health professional.

Should I be referred to a specialist mental health service?

Your GP should refer you to a specialist mental health service if they think you have psychosis.32 The service could be the Community Mental Health Team or an Early Intervention Psychosis service. Both psychosis and schizophrenia can be treated using antipsychotic medication and talking treatments.

Find out more about:

Or call our General Enquiries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

Can I be excluded from services?

You shouldn’t be excluded from:

• mental health care because of cannabis misuse, and
• a substance misuse service because of psychosis.

Can I see a therapist?

A therapist may be able to help you to understand the reason why you use drugs.

There are lots of different types of therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is suggested as a treatment if:

  • you misuse drugs, and
  • have a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety.

Or call our General Enquiries teams on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

Can I get further support?

• Speak to a specialist drug service such as Frank.
• Join a support group such as Marijuana Anonymous UK.

Details of Frank and Marijuana Anonymous UK can be found at the end of the factsheet in the ‘Useful contacts’ section.

Find out more about:

Or call our General Enquiries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

What about confidentiality?

You might be worried about telling your GP or other health professionals that you are using cannabis. But health professionals must stick to confidentiality laws. This means that they usually won’t be able to tell other people or services about what you have told them. Unless you agree.

They can only tell other people about what you have said if:

  • there is a risk of serious harm to you or to others,
  • there is a risk of a serious crime,
  • you are mentally incapable of making your own decision, or
  • the NHS share your information under ‘implied consent’.

For example, you might tell your doctor that you are planning to hurt yourself. Your doctor could decide to share this information with or healthcare or social care professionals. They should only do this to protect you and make sure you’re safe.

Find out more about:

Or call our General Enquiries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

Useful Contacts

FRANK
Gives confidential advice to anyone concerned about using cannabis or other drugs.

Telephone helpline: 0300 123 6600. Open 24 hours a day
SMS: 82111 Email: through website
Live chat: through website. Open 2pm – 6pm everyday.
Website: www.talktofrank.com

Marijuana Anonymous
They are run by people who have experience of cannabis use. They offer a 12-step recovery programme for people who want to quit cannabis use and are free to use.

DrugScope
Gives online information on a wide range of drug related topics. They do not have a helpline.

Narcotics Anonymous
They run online meetings and face to face meetings all over the country for people who want to stop using drugs. They offer sponsorship.

Telephone helpline: 0300 999 1212. Open 10am – 12 midnight.
Website: www.ukna.org

Adfam
A national charity for families and friends of drug users. It offers support groups and confidential support and information.

Telephone admin: 020 3817 9410
Address: 2nd Floor, 120 Cromer Street, London, WC1H 8BS
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.adfam.org.uk

Release
They give free non-judgmental, specialist advice and information to the public and professionals on issues related to drug use and drug laws.

Telephone helpline: 020 7324 2989
Address: 61 Mansell Street, London E1 8AN
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.release.org.uk

Addaction
A charity that supports people to make positive behavioural change. Such as a problem with alcohol, drugs, or mental health and wellbeing. They give support for families too. They have different services in different parts of the country.

Telephone admin: 020 7251 5860
Address: Part Lower Ground Floor, Gate House, 1-3 St. John’s Square, London, England, EC1M 4DH
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.addaction.org.uk

Change Grow Live (CGL)
A charity that supports people to make positive behavioural change. Such as a problem with alcohol, drugs, or mental health and wellbeing. They give support for families too. They have different services in different parts of the country.

Webchat: via website
Website: www.changegrowlive.org/

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Turning Point
Works with people affected by drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems and learning disabilities.

Address: Standon House, 21 Mansell Street, London, E1 8AA
Email: through the website
Website: www.turning-point.co.uk

DNN Help
You can get free rehabilitation treatment through your local drug team. But you can pay for private treatment if you want to. This is an online treatment finder for private rehabilitation services.

CBD Oil for Anxiety & Depression: The Pros & Cons

Everyone’s talking about it, so we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons, without bias.

The pros & cons of taking CBD oil:

1. Depression & Anxiety

With symptoms like excessive worry, extreme self-consciousness, chest pain, and panic attacks, anxiety can be a debilitating condition. Depression can be equally destructive—feeling sad, with little interest in the activities you once enjoyed.

Fortunately, there are a wide variety of options for treating anxiety and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are popular, but they come with a host of side effects. Others have the risk of addiction.

Many people search for a safer, more natural way to treat anxiety and depression, so new options are being developed and researched all the time.

One emerging treatment is CBD oil. It’s becoming more popular with each passing day, but there are still major questions about how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression—and how exactly it helps.

As a fairly new and little-understood product, it’s important to learn as much as you can about CBD oil for anxiety and depression—and speak to your mental health provider—before you decide to try it.

2. What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a type of cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemicals that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is extracted from the plant and made into an oil.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another type of cannabinoid. It’s the chemical responsible for the “high” one feels after using marijuana. Because CBD is not THC, you cannot get high from using CBD oil.

CBD oil is suggested to have positive effects for people with:

  • epilepsy
  • sleeplessness
  • cancer
  • and other mental health disorders
  • in addition to depression and anxiety
  • Studies have shown inconclusive results for most of these uses, with the exceptions of epilepsy, anxiety, and depression

3. How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD oil for depression and anxiety is still being studied and doesn’t have as much research to back it up as many other treatments do. Make sure you talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good fit for you and how to incorporate it into your treatment plan.

4. CBD for anxiety

It isn’t known exactly how CBD oil combats anxiety, but it’s thought to work with a receptor in your brain called CB1. Researchers believe the interactions between CBD oil and CB1 alter serotonin signals.

The core problem at the heart of anxiety disorders is low serotonin—a neurotransmitter related to mood and well-being. SSRIs, for instance, work by blocking the absorption of serotonin in your brain, meaning you get more serotonin. CBD oil may do something similar.

Studies have shown that CBD oil can be effective in treating various types of anxiety, including:

    (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (PTSD)

Behavioral symptoms of anxiety and physiological symptoms of anxiety, like rapid heartbeat, were reduced in some studies. It’s also been shown to be effective against anxiety-related insomnia.

5. CBD for Depression

CBD oil works similarly for people suffering from depression because depression happens when serotonin levels are low. Increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain has a positive effect on your emotions and motor skills.

CBD oil may also affect the hippocampus, which plays a large role in regulating your emotions. When you have depression, your hippocampus doesn’t function as well. CBD oil may help promote neurogenesis or the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus.

6. How to use CBD

You take CBD oil by either putting a few drops under your tongue with a dropper or mixing it with food. CBD gummies are also becoming popular.

7.Disadvantages of CBD Oil

While CBD oil for anxiety and depression holds promise, there are significant disadvantages to its use.

First, it isn’t widely available. You can only buy CBD oil in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Second, no CBD oil products are approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety or depressive disorders. Only one CBD oil product is FDA-approved, and that is for the treatment of epilepsy.

Without the oversight and regulation of the FDA, CBD oils vary widely in quality. Manufacturers can more or less put whatever they want on labels.

According to Marcel Bonn-Miller, adjunct assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 43% of CBD oil products contain too little CBD, while about 26% contain too much.

Due to its lack of regulation, approximately one in five CBD products contain THC, meaning they could give you a high. THC can increase anxiety instead of reducing it. The additional risk in taking CBD oil is that even if the product contains trace amounts of THC, you could still test positive for marijuana on a drug test.

Quality CBD oil is considered safe, but it does come with a few side effects.

They include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleeping problems
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort

More concerning than these side effects is the potential harm CBD oil can inflict on your liver. About 10% of people taking CBD in studies showed increases in liver enzymes. This increase could indicate potential liver damage. These concerns were severe enough for 2% to 3% of participants in the study to drop out due to concerns from the people running the study.

There is also the potential for dangerous drug interactions when taking CBD oil with another medication. If you are taking an antidepressant or any other medications, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking CBD oil.

8. Other Alternative Anxiety & Depression Treatments

Although CBD oil as a treatment for anxiety disorders and depression is a potentially viable option, there are alternative treatments—besides medication—that are safe and effective.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is one such treatment. It offers hope for patients with anxiety disorders by restoring the neurons in the amygdala—the part of your brain involved in the fight-or-flight response—to a normal level of functioning. In those with depression, TMS stimulates the thalamus and hippocampus, which work to control the brain’s emotional responses.

TMS does this by stimulating your brain using electromagnetic pulses. It has very few side effects, and results can be felt in just two weeks.

Explore TMS side effects

Many people are searching for natural treatments for anxiety and depression, and it isn’t hard to see why.

It’s always a good idea to be open-minded to new treatments, especially when there is clinical evidence to back them up. The most important things to do are conduct thorough research and discuss any options you’re considering with your doctor.

CBD Oil Made Me Feel Worse

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I had been struggling with a case of the Mondays, except it stretched out over eight Mondays, and every other day of the week. I was in an extended funk. It turns out that CBD oil may have caused this cloud that was hanging over me. But let’s back up.

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CBD oil has been growing in popularity. Its proponents claim that is offers near-miraculous results of decreased anxiety, reduced inflammation, relief of body aches and pains; some even go as far as to make outrageous claims that it can prevent cancer (I’m wary of any too-good-to-be-true claims in pill form).

According to Healthline, “CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.” It doesn’t contain the THC from the plant that makes you high. It is purported to have the benefits of marijuana without the psychoactive properties or legality issues. (I am a personal trainer, not a lawyer. I’m not qualified to give legal advice, please consult your local law.)

I was intrigued by the idea that non-THC CBD oil could help with inflammation and pain, mainly because I had been dealing with elbow pain that wasn’t letting up despite treatment and physical therapy.

I listen to a lot of health and fitness podcasts, and a recurring theme seemed to be the benefits of CBD oil. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Mind Pump, Ben Greenfield Fitness and many more reported positive outcomes from CBD and hemp oil. There were podcasts, blogs, some Facebook friends, and even a real-life friend raving about the benefits.

I may have never tried it except for a CBD store opened up in my small neighborhood.

I didn’t notice any immediate reduction in pain. The lady at the store said to increase my dose. I doubled it. I felt the same. Maybe I’m a non-responder. I felt an increase in anxiety, but I attributed it to the fact that in December my diet had gotten off track. I was eating at restaurants more than usual, eating sugar, and drinking wine — a winning combination for feeling for like crap.

I deal with low-level anxiety that is kept at bay with exercise and proper nutrition.

I decided to stop taking the expensive oil until I got my diet back to normal because I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a magic pill. If I’m eating poorly, no pill or oil is going to fix me —However, if I am eating well, sleeping, hydrating, exercising, and starting from a place of health, maybe CBD oil would enhance (not replace) my efforts to reduce pain.

supplements to take daily.

I cleaned up my act in January and decided to switch to a hemp oil pill from a trusted supplement company. The problem with supplements is they are unregulated. Who knows what was in the CBD oil that was not “working” for me. It could have had less active ingredients than it claimed or other components not listed on the bottle.

So I switched to a reputable company that I knew and trusted, where I buy most of my supplements (fish oil, protein powders, creatine, etc.). My diet was back on track, I was exercising regularly, but I didn’t notice any discernible improvements in pain. It was a habit to take the hemp oil pill every day — it didn’t seem to be “working” for my pain but it was expensive, so I figured I would at least finish the bottle before I wrote it off as ineffective.

My heightened anxiety from December had subsided a bit, but through December and most of January I was feeling increasingly down. I had a cloud over my head. The activities that usually brought me joy, like blogging and training, felt overwhelming. I was unmotivated and uninspired, I wasn’t handling stress well, often felt defeated, and my workouts were sluggish.

I was feeling depressed from my usual mood and life outlook. What was wrong with me? I attributed feeling a little off in December due to my lifestyle choices, but in January I was back to normal with no improvement in my mood.

Then I thought it must be the colder weather, earlier sunset, and increased stress at my marketing job, but I knew deep down that this wasn’t me — Life circumstances haven’t changed, but I suddenly felt like life was hard.

I woke up one Saturday towards the end of January and decided on a whim not to take my hemp oil pill. I certainly didn’t associate the pill with my mood at that point, I just decided not to take it.

By the end of the day, I started to feel better already. By Sunday the cloud had completely blown away. I was feeling like myself again, and I felt hope. I felt motivated. For the first time in weeks, I started brainstorming ways to increase my business, rather than feeling like I should shut it down.

I almost couldn’t believe that it may have been the hemp oil pill that made me feel depressed. Maybe it was a coincidence. Perhaps I’d wake up the next day feeling like crap again. But no. I felt like myself again — day after day.

I started researching (aka Google) if CBD oil could increase depression and anxiety like I had been experiencing, and in a sea of articles touting its anxiety-reducing benefits, I found one single article that said a tiny percentage of people on a Reddit thread reported an increase in anxiety.

After taking the hemp oil I didn’t experience pain relief, and I felt emotionally worse.

I am not writing this to say that hemp oil is wrong or you shouldn’t take it. I am clearly an outlier. It does appear to be useful for most people. It’s just an important reminder that there is no single solution, whether it be a specific diet, exercise plan, or supplement, that is effective for 100% of the population. Our bodies are different and may not respond in the same way as in our friends, co-workers, or Joe Rogan.

In the end I am disappointed that it didn’t work for me. This post is not intended to discourage anyone from trying CBD oil. I am writing this article because when I searched for cases of people that had a negative CBD experience, I couldn’t find anything except for that single article citing a Reddit thread. I hope that if you decide to try CBD or hemp oil that it works miracles for you, but if you experience an increase in anxiety or depression like I did, that you’ll make the connection sooner so that you don’t suffer needlessly.

This was my experience and it may be different than yours. I can’t recommend that you take or don’t take any supplement. As always, please contact qualified medical professionals when making decisions about your health.

Strange, right? Was your experience different than mine? I’d love to hear about it. Anyone out there feel like I did after taking CBD or hemp oil?

Did you like this post? Do you know someone who might benefit? It helps me when you share my blog posts with your friends and followers.

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