cbd oil for sad

Treating seasonal affective disorder — can CBD help?

The psychological disorder known as the seasonal affective disorder or SAD is not a mere play on words and acronyms. It is an actual psychological disorder, a form of depression that is connected to the changes in the seasons. Generally, SAD occurs during autumn and throughout the winter season and is less common during spring or early summer.

Experts estimate that there are at least 10 million Americans who suffer from this condition. SAD is more common in women than in men. The onset of this depression is between the age of 18 and 30 years old. Somme patients who are suffering from SAD may have sufficiently severe symptoms that their quality of life might be affected. About six percent of those afflicted require hospitalization.

Those who are diagnosed with SAD have the symptoms for major seasonal depression for a period of at least two years. Aside from seasonal suicidal thoughts, symptoms may also include insomnia and poor appetite. Sometimes, it may cause over-sleeping. Losing interest in many activities and withdrawing from friends and loved ones are also common symptoms. The feeling of hopelessness is sometimes coupled with the feeling of guilt.

The exact cause (or set of causes) of SAD is not known but it is usually associated with the lack of sunlight and vitamin D deficiency. Many sufferers produce a high level of the sleep hormone melatonin during winter because of the low light exposure.


There are various ways of treating SAD such as antidepressant medications, counseling, vitamin D supplement and light therapy. Prescribing antidepressant drugs is the most common. A psychiatrist may prescribe serotonin reuptake inhibitors or monoamine oxidase inhibitors to help balance the brain chemicals.

Counseling is another way of addressing SAD which can be effective. A trained professional or someone whom the patient trusts or respects as an authority may attempt some form of counseling. Vitamins D supplement and light therapy address the overproduction of melatonin in the cells. These can mimic exposure to sunlight that will also improve other positive brain hormones.

Another option is treating it using marijuana and/or CBD products. Not all SAD sufferers respond to just one form of treatment.

The CBD alternative

Supplementing the treatment with CBD products could significantly address the symptoms of SAD. Some sufferers, however, may have adverse reactions to the psychoactive substance, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). To avoid this, make sure you use hemp-derived cannabidiol or CBD products. These do not have the “high” effect of THC. Companies such as Diamond CBD, a subsidiary of PotNetwork Holding Inc. (OTCMKTS:POTN), use high-quality CBD hemp extracts to produce the finest and purest CBD oil products that are all-natural and lab tested.

Insomnia and anxiety are the two major symptoms of SAD that can be treated using CBD. A 2010 study indicated the effect of CBD on social anxiety. The brain scans of participants showed changes in blood flow in areas of the brain that are associated with anxiety. Findings in 2014 indicated that CBD also has antidepressant properties. A case study published in 2016 showed the positive effect of CBD on treating pediatric anxiety and insomnia. The child was able to sleep well when treated with CBD.

A higher dosage of CBD generally relieves the symptoms better. The oil extract must be ingested to have an effect. Diamond CBD has several products with CBD extracts that you can use on a daily basis. Isolates, capsules, drinks, drops, crystals dabs and vapes are also available for easier ingestion or faster absorption of CBD. You can also snack on gummy products and CBD-infused honey sticks, apply the tinctures and creams or add some flavored CBD oils in your cereal and pastries.

This article is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. Consult a qualified medical professional before starting any medication or using any form of CBD.

Does CBD Help With Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. It is also referred to as simply seasonal depression. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually a separate disorder, but rather a subtype of depression. People with SAD commonly suffer from symptoms that occur in the fall and winter months, but some people also have summer SAD. According to Mental Health America , around 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences SAD, and four out of five people who experience SAD are women.

If you’re looking for a natural remedy that might help improve your mood and reduce the symptoms of SAD, CBD oil could be the right choice for you.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder differ from those of ​ “ regular” depression because you experience them only when the seasons change. Most people with SAD experience moodiness and decreased energy during the fall, and their symptoms can persist throughout the winter. Usually, symptoms start mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Typical Treatments for SAD

Conventional treatments for seasonal affective disorder usually include light therapy, medication and/​or counseling. Light therapy, which entails sitting in front of a special light box for a certain period of time each day, is one of the most commonly suggested treatments, as it is a natural way of regulating brain chemicals associated with SAD and can positively impact its symptoms. Counseling can help you learn better coping mechanisms for dealing with your symptoms, and medication might be beneficial for people with severe symptoms of SAD.

Sometimes, a combination of these treatments is necessary for the best results. However, if you prefer a more natural and alternative approach to treating your symptoms, consider using CBD oil as a supplement to your doctor’s advice.

What Is CBD and How Do You Use It?

CBD is one of the chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, which are found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, the principal psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, CBD does not produce a ​ “ high” but rather has soothing, anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties that may make it a beneficial supplement if you’re dealing with SAD or another mood or anxiety disorder.

CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant but is also available in synthetic formulations. People commonly take CBD as an oil, but you can also find it in pill, spray, tincture and inhaler formats.

How Can CBD Help?

You’ve likely heard about the effect of serotonin on mood disorders like depression. Serotonin is a brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and other bodily functions. Many prescription antidepressants work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, which often helps improve well-being, mood and functioning.

Researchers have found that people with SAD have significant differences in the way their brains regulate serotonin. Because of how their bodies transport and manage serotonin, they have decreased levels of this important neurotransmitter, leaving them feeling sad, depressed and generally blue throughout the winter (or summer, in less common cases). CBD might help by targeting the brain’s serotonin receptors, but there are also potential antidepressant effects of CBD that aren’t yet completely understood.

Studies have already demonstrated the benefits of CBD for anxiety and stress . Some research as well as anecdotal reports indicate that people with SAD may also benefit from CBD oil, but the reasons why aren’t entirely clear. One clinical study on animals showed that CBD may have antidepressant properties due to its effect on serotonin levels, while another study showed that CBD, when compared to other cannabinoids, had significant antidepressant effects but the exact mechanisms for its action was unclear.

Insomnia is probably one of the most frustrating symptoms of SAD. Clinical evidence has shown that CBD may help increase the amount of overall sleep, and some preliminary evidence shows that it may be beneficial for people with insomnia by helping them stay asleep.

Other Ways to Reduce SAD Symptoms

Staying active through regular exercise is one of the most advisable ways of reducing symptoms of SAD, according to Dr. Andrew Weil . People who are deficient in vitamin D might also consider taking a supplement — Weil advises 2,000 IU for most people, but people with SAD may need a higher dose. Consult your doctor to discuss the dosage that is right for your needs. Other supplements that may help include fish oil, vitamin B, SAMe or St. John’s wort, but it’s important to inform your doctor of any supplements you take, especially if you use medication, as supplements may cause interactions.

The Bottom Line: Is CBD Right for You?

It goes without saying that you should always consult your doctor to discuss the treatment options that are best for you. But if you’re interested in a non-pharmaceutical remedy, CBD oil might be the answer you’ve been looking for. Although more clinical research is needed and it’s not a cure, CBD may provide certain benefits for reducing the symptoms of SAD.

Stacy Mosel, LMSW is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and musician. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999 and a Master of Social Work from New York University in 2002. She has had extensive training in child and family therapy and the identification and treatment of substance abuse and mental health disorders.

CBD for Seasonal Affective Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, it is a form of depression when people undergo mood swings and low energy and experience symptoms similar to depression. The primary reason for such a condition is the lack of sunlight and predominantly occurs during fall or winter months.

It’s that time of the year again when 5:00 pm feels like 9:00 pm. In the northern hemisphere, we will begin to see fewer hours of daylight and in some countries further north, there will be no daylight at all.

The daily commute to work begins in darkness and the commute back home from the office is also dark. This lack of light affects the part of the brain that controls sleep, appetite, activity, sex drive, anxiety, and mood. Feelings of low energy, lethargy, experiencing extremities in behavior or habits, are symptoms of seasonal transition.

Such prolonged daily life routine has an immediate effect on one’s mental health and reflects as high peaks and valleys on moods. For example, loss of appetite, or a sudden craving for sugary snacks, difficulty to sleep, or oversleeping, low self-esteem or a sudden sense of overconfidence, etc

The term was first coined in 1984 by psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal.

Rosenthal first included the term ‘seasonal affective disorder’ in a paper he co-wrote following a move from the warm climate of Johannesburg in South Africa to the north-eastern US, with its more severe winters.

What Research Says

According to a large European study on depression 1 , SAD was found to be common throughout the European population and it appeared to be largely underdiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed. They also discovered that SAD is more common in women than in men. The onset of this depression is between the age of 18 and 30 years old. Some patients who are suffering from SAD may have stronger symptoms that may affect the quality of their life.

Some common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

  • Seasonal suicidal thoughts,
  • Poor appetite.
  • Over-sleeping- Since the body lacks sufficient exposure to sunlight, it produces an increased level of Melatonin (the sleep hormone)
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Loss of interest in many activities
  • Isolation

Those who are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder have the symptoms for major seasonal depression for at least two years, hence they would require a favorable support system to help them overcome this disorder.

SAD can be effectively treated in many ways. some of which are:

  • Light therapy,
  • Antidepressant medications,
  • CBD products
  • Talk therapy
  • Combination of the above

While in most common cases, these symptoms tend to show improvements naturally ( without any external help) with the change in the season, some cases might require intense treatment.

Light therapy

A lightbox that emits bright light is used, for treatment, where the patient affected with the seasonal affective disorder is made to sit in front of the light for approximately 20 minutes or more per day for one or two weeks during the initial stages of treatment. This period is ample to show considerable improvements in the affected person’s condition.

Added to this, to evade the recurrence of the condition, treatment is continued to the end of winter.

Antidepressant medications

These are prescribed medications used to treat major conditions of depression, anxiety, chronic pain or sometimes addiction problems. However, consuming these could also cause several side effects such as weight gain, headaches, sexual dysfunction, etc or lacks evidence-based results, misuse, and the placebo effect.

CBD Products

Many studies support the fact that CBD may be helpful to address the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Insomnia and anxiety are the two major symptoms that can be treated using CBD. A 2010 study 2 indicated the positive effect of CBD on social anxiety. Findings in 2014 3 indicated that CBD also has antidepressant properties.

The increasing awareness of the dangerous side effects of pharmaceutical medicines has shifted importance to more natural or ancient plant-based medication.

The growing number of research studies and experiments have already started to present encouraging results that CBD tends to show positive effects when it combines with the serotonin receptors in the brain. This CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and begins to respond to a series of body functions that improve the emotional state, thereby reciprocating on levels of anxiety or depression.

Including CBD in your food habits, every day throughout the winter months generally help relieve the symptoms. You can also use CBD for cooking and make your own CBD infused ingredients to use in your favorite recipes.

Some most common forms of CBD are:

  • CBD oil
  • CBD capsules
  • CBD pastes
  • CBD crystals
  • CBD drops
  • CBD food supplements

Talk Therapy

According to Larry Christensen, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of South Alabama, ”Talk therapy can give you the skills to help handle your depression, it’s a very empowering experience,” “This makes it effective over a long period of time.”

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapies are the two important and widely adopted methods for treating SAD.

CBT helps a patient to learn to observe the root cause of negative thoughts and its impact on anxiety or depression; and consciously practice to replace them with positive thoughts, behaviors or moods.

Interpersonal therapy centers around how to relate to others, observe or know about people who are successful despite a physical handicap, etc. This helps to improve the personal relationship and makes positive changes and immensely boosts positive feelings. Both of these therapies help treat depression.


A combination of all the above therapies may also be followed as is appropriate considering a patient’s condition or severity.


Therefore, any kind of mind-related or psychological disorders can be effectively treated with timely intervention, and care given to an affected person. Certain simple practices that the family people can inculcate in their lifestyles, by giving them an ear to listen, some quality time, seeking professional advice whenever necessary all of which can immensely support the reduction in cases.