While the holidays are a time of joy and celebration for millions of people worldwide, a significant number suffer from emotional distress and depression as the end of the year nears. Often referred to as the holiday blues, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real psychological disorder that affects countless people each year. For those who suffer from SAD, it can be a terrible feeling that is only emphasized by the holiday songs and decorations that begin to appear, creating a stark contrast between one’s internal feelings and the external world.
It is no surprise, then, that the use of antidepressant medications increases in the fall and winter seasons, and wherever powerful mind-altering drugs appear, some desperately seek alternatives. One of the most prominent alternatives put forward for helping individuals deal with SAD has been CBD. As leaders in the Cannabidiol (CBD) industry, our team here at CBDOil.com has become very interested in whether or not CBD has been found to be beneficial for those with SAD.
This article will go over the basics of SAD, how CBD may help those who suffer from it, and precisely why CBD may be beneficial in such circumstances.
In this article, we cover:
- What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
- Are You Dealing With Seasonal Affective Disorder?
- What are the Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
- Traditional Treatments for SAD
- How Does CBD Affect Our Mentality?
- Can CBD Fight Against Seasonal Affective Disorder?
- CBD Products Perfect for the Holidays
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a psychological disorder, a form of depression, that is connected to seasonal changes that occur during the autumn and winter. SAD may occur but is much less common during the summer or spring months (though a condition called summer depression is characterized by these months).
SAD is characterized by feelings of anxiety and/or depression caused by changes in the season. In most cases, the symptoms will appear at the beginning of the fall season and will progressively get worse through winter.
It is estimated that roughly 10 million Americans (2-6% of the population) may suffer from SAD each year, with the majority of those affected being women. Seasonal depression is also extremely rare in children, almost always first manifesting between the ages of eighteen and thirty years old. The severity of cases can also vary drastically, with many suffering mild symptoms and perhaps not understanding where these feelings are coming from -and roughly 6% requiring hospitalization.
The symptoms generally associated with SAD are reduced energy levels, social withdrawal, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, depression, and decreased libido. Not everyone will suffer from all of these symptoms, but a case of SAD will contain some of these symptoms.
What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Most people who suffer from SAD live farther from the equator where the change in sunlight during the winter months is more pronounced. It is thought that the main causes of seasonal affective disorder are:
- Vitamin D deficiency caused by low sunlight
- A decrease in serotonin levels
- A disruption in the internal body clock due to changing daylight hours.
A Lack of Sunlight
The unique relationship between SAD and the seasons has a lot to do with how the sunlight level changes throughout the year. In the latter parts of the year, in the Fall and Winter, there is less sunlight, and people tend not to spend as much time outside. This means that during the fall and winter, people will receive less sunlight, which is an essential source of our daily Vitamin D and a trigger for the production of hormones such as serotonin. Without Vitamin D, people can suffer from anxiety, depression, fatigue, muscle weakness, and a host of other issues. Without proper serotonin production, you have a higher risk of major depression issues and problems related to diet, sleep, sexual desire, and mood.
With less sunlight and colder days that don’t encourage people to be outdoors, millions of people do not get enough sunlight in the winter months. For many, this lack of sunlight correlates with a host of health issues such as anxiety and seasonal depression.
A Disrupted Internal Clock
The changing sunlight levels and the times in which the sun sets and rises may also disrupt an individual’s circadian rhythm, part of our body’s internal biological clock. The shorter winter days will cause the production of more melatonin, which is one of the reasons people feel more tired or sluggish in the winter months. In turn, this hormone can directly affect our overall ability to sleep and wake at the proper times. For many, these issues will cause a cascade effect which will result in poor sleep and adverse mental health issues.
Is Seasonal Affective Disorder the same as Holiday Depression?
Holiday depression is considered an aspect of seasonal depression, but is generally more related to the stress of the holiday season, such as finances and social obligations, rather than from changes in weather patterns and light. However, both seasonal depression and holiday depression are characterized by feelings of anxiety and depression. The benefits that CBD provides may be applied to each condition.
Traditional Treatments for SAD
Traditionally treatment for SAD entails antidepressants, Vitamin D supplements, and even light therapy. Antidepressants, however, are the most common response to this condition.
Many people who take antidepressants report feeling agitated, anxious, or sick, and others will have stomach issues, diarrhea, or constipation. For this reason, many prefer to opt for alternative treatments such as Cannabis products.
Can CBD Fight Against Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in the Cannabis plant and is non-psychoactive. CBD interacts with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system to interact with a wide array of our internal functions and can affect our mental, physical and emotional states.
While CBD cannot be used to cure seasonal affective disorder, there is some evidence that it may help alleviate the key symptoms. Multiple studies have shown that CBD can effectively reduce the symptoms associated with insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Sleep is a complex issue, and there can be several reasons that you have problems achieving it. CBD helps people fall asleep in a number of ways, a couple of which are strongly related to the symptoms of SAD.
The American Sleep Association has promoted CBD as a way to sleep and rest through the night more effectively. One of the main reasons they give for this effect is that “some research indicates that the cannabinoid CBD may interact with specific receptors, potentially affecting the sleep/wake cycle.” This interaction may directly combat the issue many have with seasonal depression, where the changing day/night cycle of the seasons causes their system to be unable to achieve sleep at the correct times and at adequate levels. By helping to regulate our ability to sleep and wake, CBD can help your body recalibrate and get back on track with the current season.
The anxiety caused by seasonal affective disorder may also be at the root of the insomnia being present in many SAD cases. Luckily, CBD not only helps your sleep/wake cycle, but it can also help reduce feelings of anxiety, resulting in one being able to achieve a full night’s rest more easily.
We have a much longer breakdown regarding the relationship between CBD and anxiety that you can read through here. In that article, we talk about numerous scientific studies, including a meta-study where scientists looked at a wide range of published papers dealing with CBD and anxiety. Through the forty-nine studies that were examined in the meta-study, the researchers determined that “Evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders.” CBD may also help reduce blood flow to the brain areas linked with anxiety, such as the hypothalamus.
In animal studies, it has been determined that CBD has great potential as “an antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like compound.” Cannabidiol may affect how the receptors in your brain respond to serotonin, allowing you to ward off the worst effects of depression.
Using CBD in tandem with an exercise routine and efforts to get more natural sunlight during the winter months can go a long way towards helping stave off the worst effects of seasonal affective disorder. Of course, you should always consult your doctor if you feel you have a medical condition.
While we are still in the infancy of understanding how and why CBD interacts with our body and mind, much of the available evidence points to this compound as an effective way to augment your seasonal depression treatments. You will still need to try and get more VItamin-D, and exercise will always help, but for those who find these efforts are not enough and do not want to deal with the side-effects of antidepressants, CBD may just be the solution they are seeking.
CBD Products for the Holiday Season
There are a ton of holiday goodies, from cornbread to ham, that can be enhanced by a few drops of delicious honey. These CBD honey sticks make it easy and fun to enjoy potent and pure edible CBD along with your holiday meals or drinks. You can handily take it ith you on a walk or use it to sweeten your coffee.
These CBD honey sticks are made by UrbanLeaf Naturals and are derived from carefully grown hemp that has been specially cultivated to provide powerful and effective CBD for a range of products.
A nice warm bath is a great way to relax and help the day’s stress melt away; they are also an excellent way to recover from the increasingly cold weather. CBD can be absorbed through the skin, where it will go to work fighting pain and inflammation and helping your body relax and destress. These bath bombs are the best of both worlds by providing you with a pleasant, relaxing bathing experience and permeating your water with CBD, which will be absorbed and go to work through the course of the bath.
These bath bombs are incredibly high-quality and are put out by ACTIV8 CBD, known for their high-grade CBD products. There are also a variety of scents; the link we used here takes you to the raspberry and lilac offering.
Tea is a great comfort item for those cold days to help warm you up and promote relaxation. CBD-infused tea helps augment the natural benefits of this traditional warm drink and makes it easy for you to sip away the stress of the day. This tea contains a potent dosage of CBD as well as Melissa officinalis, also known as lemon balm, which is an herb that has been used as far back as the middle ages to promote calmness and relaxation.
CBD syrup is a highly versatile product that you can mix into a number of drinks to give them an added CBD blast. These syrups are great in any sweet drink and allow you to take a discreet CBD-infused drink with you wherever you go. There are a wide variety of flavors available, as well as flavorless syrup that won’t disrupt the taste of whatever you add it into.
CBD gummies are one of the fastest-growing products in the entire Cannabis industry, and for a good reason. Gummies are fun to eat and are an effective way to get a concentrated dose of CBD. These are specially designed nighttime gummies that have added melatonin, a popular natural sleep aid. For those whose sleep is affected by seasonal depression, these gummies can help you unwind and balance out your sleep cycle.
Do You Want the Best CBD Products and Info?
While not everyone responds to CBD the same way, there is a good chance that the right CBD supplements might just be the best option for helping you to deal with the symptoms of seasonal depression. At CBDOil.com, we carry a wide selection of the top CBD products, and each one has been tested for both overall quality and potency.
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