Serotonin serves a number of crucial roles within the body, such as helping with thermoregulation, memory, learning, improving appetite, wound healing, and bone health.
But that’s probably not what you want to know about when you click on an article about CBD and serotonin, right? Chances are, you’re here to learn about how CBD interacts with (or boosts) serotonin’s most famous attribute, its ability to regulate mood.
It’s true that this “feel good” chemical does a lot to stabilize emotions and help you feel calmer and happier… as long as serotonin is at the right levels. And that’s a point that should be made: serotonin has neutral levels that allow it to do its job, but you must also be aware that too high serotonin levels are not necessarily beneficial.
Enter CBD. Outside of the specific effects it has on serotonin production, CBD also does an excellent job of assisting with bringing homeostasis to the systems within the body. This means that it inhibits unfavorable reactions, and antagonizes advantageous ones.
What is serotonin?
Serotonin is widely considered a neurotransmitter by scientists, but some consider it a hormone. Regardless of its designation, it is naturally produced by the body and has receptors in the endocannabinoid system. In particular, 5-HT1A is associated with anxiety and sleep, 5-HT2A is associated with stress and anxiety, and 5-HT3A is associated with mood changes.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) are well-known prescriptive antidepressants that halt the loss of serotonin in the bloodstream. SNRIs also have a positive effect on energy levels, which is a common issue with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.
An interesting fact about serotonin is that, despite its key role in the regulation of the nervous system, it is actually produced at the level of the intestines, a part of the digestive system.
How does CBD interact with your body?
CBD accesses the endocannabinoid system, mainly influencing the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are located in the central nervous system, and the mood is mainly regulated by this system, as well as neurotransmitters that communicate with the brain. Since CBD can increase serotonin, it has the potential to work on depression similarly to antidepressants that stop the degradation of serotonin. Additionally, many symptoms such as tension and stress, insomnia, and digestive issues can arise when a person is dealing with depression or chronic anxiety.
As a bonus, CBD has little known side effects, and it is proven to be non-addictive and non-psychoactive.
How CBD & Serotonin work together to improve your mood
So, now that you understand CBD and serotonin individually, let’s discuss how the two can work together!
CBD has been shown to be well-tolerated by people with many types of anxiety disorders that include: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and phobias. Those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and panic disorders may also benefit from taking CBD in addition to their medically prescribed medications.
The Elite Elixir from Botanika Life can fit right into a wellness routine. Consisting of only 1,500mg of full-spectrum CBD and hemp seed oil, regular usage may provide consistent balance to the nervous system, and reduce anxiety symptoms.
For additional reading, check out How Much CBD Should You Take to Relax - Figuring Out The Right Dosage.
Help lift depression
The natural interactions that CBD has with serotonin and other hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzyme systems mean it can influence and impact the regulatory processes provided by the body. There is a lot of evidence that CBD not only helps increase levels of molecules that directly improve mood, but also prevents their faster degradation. Additionally, it stimulates higher production of secondary and tertiary molecules from which the "mood" ones are derived.
Reduce physical pain that may prevent exercise
Let’s not forget the abundance of evidence that CBD can assist with decreasing physical pain, whether it be chronic conditions like restless leg syndrome or athletic injuries. Not only can diminished pain lift someone’s mood, but it can free them up to engage in physical activity (another thing that can lift serotonin levels).
Support a healthy sleep cycle
Much of what keeps people awake or unable to keep a regular sleep cycle boils down to stress. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed disorder like anxiety or depression, external factors like work, family, relationships, and current events can take a mental toll. While CBD may help calm your mind, it can be safely combined with ingredients like melatonin to further aid in sleep.
You can try Botanika Life’s CBD Sleep Spray enhanced with melatonin and GABA, two molecules that help the body wind down and prepare for sleep. It also includes magnesium, which plays a large role in maintaining balance within the body.
Another great option is to soak in the relaxing scents of lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus, or rose in a CBD bath bomb; if you can’t decide which one to try first, we suggest our 4-pack gift set to try one of each. Right before bed time, luxuriate in a bath designed to melt away tension, loosen muscles, and clear your head.
FAQs about CBD and Mood
- Are there medical or research studies about CBD and how it affects mood?
Researchers have been looking into how CBD affects mood, but not many published studies that specifically speak to this in humans are available. However, much is known about how CBD interacts with the body, using the endocannabinoid receptors. Because CBD can utilize these receptors throughout the body, it is able to influence hormones and neurotransmitters that are known to directly affect mood.
- How do CBD and serotonin affect each other?
CBD can have a positive effect on all of the previously named receptors that are part of the serotonin system, therefore it helps to reduce states like anxiety, stress, mood changes, nausea, and pain.
CBD helps to stimulate higher levels of another endocannabinoid called anandamide, which also has a positive effect on the 5-HT1A and 5-HT3A receptors in the serotonin system, thereby increasing its impact on the production of serotonin.
Additionally, CBD suppresses the degradation of tryptophan, a compound from which serotonin is derived. When the bioavailability- the presence within the bloodstream- of tryptophan is increased, you will get higher serotonin levels.
- What is the best method for taking CBD to help with mood?
Though CBD can be taken in various forms, the most effective method for improving mood is with CBD oil applied under the tongue.
The CBD is absorbed into the CB receptors located under the tongue and in the mouth, enabling it to work fairly quickly. It is best to start with a lower dosage and gradually increase it, but the amount you take for your issue is highly individualized, so you may need to try several different dosing amounts before finding what works.
Gummies and infusions are options as well, especially if digestive issues play a large role in the mood disorder you wish to regulate. This is because of the impact that CBD can have on the digestive system and the fact that gummies, infusions, and other ingestibles must be metabolized. However, this also means that the CBD's potency is reduced, and it takes longer to feel its impact.
- Is CBD okay to take with anti-depressants?
The best advice is to check in with your psychiatrist, or primary care physician (whoever is prescribing your anti-depressants) first before you start taking CBD or any CBD-based supplements. While there isn’t much information on adverse effects in general, CBD is not recommended to be taken in conjunction with Tegretol, or carbamazepine that is an anti-seizure medication sometimes prescribed to treat bipolar disorder.