How CBD Has Helped Celebrities With Depression

The statements “That is so depressing,” and “I am struggling with depression,” are only a few letters apart, yet their meaning is greatly different. 

Who hasn’t said the first and felt the second? That’s normal some of the time.

But sadly, for millions of Americans, including some of our biggest celebrities, the second, “I am so depressed,” is a normal feeling a lot of the time. This is why CBD, which does not have the severe side effects of so many of the pharmaceutical remedies available, has become a focus of interest by researchers and doctors alike.

If you suffer from unaddressed depression, we urge you to seek help. As you will see from the examples in this article, depression has been addressed successfully with a variety of approaches. Approaching depression holistically, making lifestyle changes and addressing the issue emotionally as well as physically can sometimes yield better results than one tactic alone.

Some people are using CBD as part of a holistic approach in dealing with depression. If you are considering CBD for depression, this article will give you information about current research on CBD and depression as well as examples of holistic approaches to addressing this issue. It is important to note that although research is promising, the FDA has yet to approve any drug or supplement containing CBD for this condition.

The following celebrities have been public about their own experiences with depression. Not only that, they have opened up about what they have done to cope with it, including using CBD, which we will share at the end of this article.

Channing Tatum

Celebrities Who Have Suffered From Depression

Celebrities who have suffered from depression include such well-known personalities as Kristen Bell. You would have heard her voice in commercials and seen her face in “Bad Moms”. Dealing with depression has been a multi-generational program in her family—both her mother and grandmother suffered from depression as well.

Channing Tatum. This American actor and singer was plagued with depression as a child. In an interview, Tatum said his depression and pain stemmed from the fact he had been taking drugs like Dexedrine and Adderall to help with learning disabilities, like ADD and dyslexia. But instead of helping, Tatum describes that it made him feel like a zombie: “It’s like coke or crystal meth.”

Jim Carrey. The man who has made so many of us laugh acknowledged on 60 Minutes that he had suffered from depression through much of his life. Even to the point of considering suicide.

Dolly Parton. This singer, songwriter, musician, producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, suffered from severe depression throughout the 1980s. Even to the point of considering suicide.

Brooke Shields. Brooke went public with her struggle with postpartum depression in 2003. She was one of the first celebrities to talk openly about her struggle with postpartum depression. She later documented her struggle in her 2005 bestseller, Down Came the Rain.

At the end of this article, you will learn what each of these celebrities did to cope with depression. Although we have chosen to write about these five, the fact is, there are more. Other celebrities who have publicly shared their struggle with depression include Harrison Ford, Britney Spears, Emma Thompson, Owen Wilson, and many, many others.

What is the Cause?

The fact is, this is a complex condition that involves many factors: environmental, genetics, hormones, social isolation, stressful life experiences, and physical health. Because it is so complex, the best approach for each individual in dealing with it varies as well.

The Chicken and the Egg Phenomenon

With a person who is suffering, it is clear that there are imbalances in the body. The question is: what came first? An emotional trauma that affected the body and caused it to become imbalanced? Or, did a physical trauma occur first, causing the imbalance which then leads to feeling depressed.

The truth is, it is probably a little bit of both.

It is clear and well documented that life events, such as the loss of a loved one, can lead to a chemical imbalance which then leads to declining physical health. Conversely, we see examples of individuals who have developed depression from major physical events like having a baby.

What is Happening in the Body During this?

In the past, it was thought that deficiency of Serotonin, a chemical in our body that plays an important role in many of our bodily functions, was the cause of depression. Serotonin is mostly found in the brain, the blood, and the bowels (just remember the three Bs). However, researchers have determined that although serotonin plays a large role—it is not the whole story. Many other neurotransmitter imbalances have also been linked.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are pharmaceuticals that cause an immediate spike in serotonin in the brain. They do not result in immediate improvement, however. It can take weeks for a person taking SSRIs to show improvement, if at all. So, there are other factors.

Though depression is not an inflammatory disease, researchers are finding certain people with depression, inflammation may play a role. This means that effective anti-inflammatories, such as CBD, could assist certain individuals.

Man Pondering

Long Term Depression Can Affect Brain Size

Not only does depression affect brain activity, but it can also even affect brain size as discovered by Dr. Manji, former Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Pathology at the National Institutes of Mental Health. The part of the brain that is affected most by depression is the hippocampus. This part of the part plays a role in emotion and is the part of the brain that makes new memories.

This part of the brain, thankfully, can also recover. It can grow new neurons and connections—this is called neural regeneration. And, it can do so all of our lives, not just when we are young. This ability of our brains to change throughout our lives is called “neuroplasticity.”

Some researchers believe that the real reason that antidepressants work is that they stimulate the neural regeneration in the hippocampus. This may be why they take weeks to work—brain neurons need time to heal, grow, and form connections.

But SSRIs are not the only thing that helps with neuroregeneration. There is actually an array of lifestyle and nutritional choices that will help with this process. These include exercise, getting sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet (one absent of refined sugar).

How CBD Could Help Your Brain Grow

Research has found that the endocannabinoid system and the serotonergic systems relate and interact with one another. CBD actually activates a serotonin receptor called 5-HTIA. These particular receptors control many other neurotransmitters that have been linked to increasing neural regeneration in the hippocampus.

The FDA recently approved Epidiolex, a Cannabidiol product, for the treatment of seizures. According to research published in The Open Neurology Journal, the reason that this CBD product is effective for seizures is that CBD protects neurons in the hippocampus. That is the exact area of the brain that is smaller in individuals suffering from severe depression.

Actor Kristen Bell Smiling

How Our Celebrities Dealt with Depression

Earlier in this article, we gave examples of several celebrities that have bravely and generously opened up and shared their own stories about depression. Each of these individuals has dealt with their depression in different ways—and often in more than one.

Kristen Bell posted on Instagram that she deals with her depression with CBD, being positive—naming 10 things she loves for every one thing she doesn’t—hugging her family, doing something nice for a friend, activities like cooking and gardening, and meditating.

Channing Tatum experienced extreme highs and lows as a kid when taking medication for learning issues. He found that his emotional state and issues with depression improved tremendously when he stopped taking medication. So much so that he has passionately vowed he will never medicate his daughter, Everly.

Jim Carrey credits a healthy diet and natural supplements for his improved mental health. In a frank discussion about depression, Jim Carrey said that he no longer suffers from depression at all because he had been trying to create a character that he never was and he has now let that go.

Dolly Parton has said that most of her depression in the 80s stemmed from menopause and the inability to have children. Since that time, Dolly has become a champion for children. She established the Imagination Library in 1995 and gave a half a million dollars to the Fort Sanders Medical Center among other things. “Maybe God didn’t want me to have kids so that everybody else’s kids could be mine,” Dolly is quoted as saying.

Brooke Shields credits therapy, medication, and breastfeeding for helping her win her battle with postpartum depression. “The physical connection is what I really needed,” she said. “I think that was important to my recovery.”

Depression Statistics and Symptoms

Depression is not just a celebrity issue, it is a worldwide issue. The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 300 million people are affected by depression globally. Depression is the second most common mental health illness in the US, behind anxiety disorders. It is estimated that 16 million Americans live with major depression.

Depression refers to a wide range of mental health problems. According to mental health professionals, there are some specific markers and symptoms of depression that include:

  • A loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things and experiences
  • A low mood (feeling sad, worried, frustrated, tired, low self-esteem)
  • Tearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Being socially withdrawn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor concentration and reduced attention
  • Pessimistic and recurring negative thoughts about oneself
  • Rumination (over-thinking or obsessing about situations or life events, such as work or relationships)

Telling the difference between normal and major depression can be a problem. Indicators that can provide guidance as to which one an individual is suffering from include being unreactive to circumstances—in other words, feeling low regardless of what is happening. In some cases, the person suffering from major depression may react temporarily to positive circumstances only to return quickly to a depressive mood and feelings.

Woman looking at a pill.

SSRIs, Depression, and Possible Side Effects

Serotonin is sometimes called the “happy chemical” because it plays a big role in our feeling of well-being and happiness. But that really doesn’t do serotonin justice. It actually does much more. There are about 40 million brain cells and most are influenced in some way by serotonin.

However, the 50-year-old theory that depression is caused by a deficit of serotonin, led to the creation of a class of drugs called SSRIs. These drugs have been dogged by unreliable clinical studies on the subject. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. These include Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft among others. Those same unreliable studies that were used to validate the serotonin theory did demonstrate, however, that physical imbalances caused by extreme diet changes can lead to symptoms of depression in those who have previously suffered from it.

Possible side effects of SSRIs may include, among others:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nervousness, agitation or restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts–especially among individuals below the age of 25

There are other types of antidepressants in addition to SSRIs. An older type of drug that are still used is called MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). These drugs increase the amount of serotonin and dopamine (which is associated with the brain’s pleasure and reward system) in the brain. They have been found to have even more possible harmful side effects than SSRIs.

When one considers these possible side effects, it is easy to understand why so many people choose to try natural alternatives before a pharmaceutical intervention for their depression.

Types of Depression

There are as many types of depression and there are many reasons for it happening in the first place.

These include Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Postpartum Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and ‘Situational’ Depression.

No matter what type of depression you or a loved one may be experiencing, it is important to get educated on all of the manners in which it is addressed and work out the best answer for you.

CBD is not the first thing you would take in a crisis situation. For some, it is part of an overall holistic long-term program. Consult your doctor, especially if you are taking prescription medications with possible interactions.

Woman laughing and doing yoga on a beach

8 Natural Ways to Relax and Deal with Stress

Politicians are talking about it, celebrities are using it, and stores with CBD in the window have popped up everywhere. But what is CBD Oil actually? And can it REALLY help one relax? Can it ease stress which so many of us feel here in the U.S.?

Cannabis and CBD

CBD is a cannabinoid—a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that CBD is a “pot-head” thing, read on.

Though people use the terms cannabis and marijuana interchangeably, the truth is, they are not the same thing.

Cannabis is a type of plant. Hemp and marijuana are each a variety of cannabis. Marijuana and hemp both contain chemical compounds called cannabinoids—in fact, they contain about 100 different cannabinoids.

The difference between hemp and marijuana is that marijuana contains much higher levels of the cannabinoid THC, the psychoactive component that creates the high. Hemp, on the other hand, contains a minuscule amount of THC, less than .3%. So little that it could never get you high.

Take away: Marijuana is a type of cannabis plant, but all cannabis is not marijuana. An analogy would be that although all golden retrievers are dogs, not all dogs are golden retrievers.

Cannabinoid Basics

Now you know that hemp and marijuana both contain chemical compounds called cannabinoids. But did you know that people contain cannabinoids too? Yes, humans and cannabis are cannabinoid cousins.

Cannabis produces phytocannabinoids (“Phyto” from the word “plant” and “cannabinoid” from the word “cannabis”). Humans, on the other hand, produce endocannabinoids (“endo” from the word “body”).

Not only does the human body produce its own cannabinoids, but it also has an entire system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of the following three elements:

  • Endocannabinoids produced by the body. These are fatty substances that are not water-soluble. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that carry “messages” to receptors and other parts of the body.
  • Endocannabinoid receptors on cells throughout the body. There are two types—CB1 and CB2.
  • Enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids in the body.

This system, though only just discovered in 1992, regulates some really major functions for the body. The ECS assists in regulating pain, the immune system, memory, mood, and sleep. The ECS is largely responsible for creating homeostasis, or balance, between the systems of the body.

Take away: Both the body and the cannabis plant produce cannabinoids. The cannabinoids of the body are part of the endocannabinoid system which regulates homeostasis (balance) in the body.

Cannabinoid Deficiency

Since the discovery of endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, researchers have also discovered that individuals can suffer from clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). Research done by Dr. Russo supports the theory that a deficiency in endocannabinoids leads to many physical ailments such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Research is unclear as to the exact cause of the deficiency, whether it is a deficiency present from birth or acquired.

But whatever the cause of the deficiency, Dr. Russo suggests that we may be able to give our body’s endocannabinoid system a boost with full-spectrum CBD oil.

CBD in the body does not actually bind with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body. What it does do is delay the breakdown of the endocannabinoids our body produces. This allows the endocannabinoids in our system to work longer.

Take away: Cannabinoids, especially CBD, derived from cannabis may help relieve the symptoms of a deficiency of cannabinoids in the body.

Tincture Being Added To A Bottle

CBD Oil and Inflammation

Research indicates that CBD oil acts as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is really important to understand and identify. While inflammation is a good thing in some cases, chronic unchecked inflammation leads to many unwanted conditions. You could say that inflammation is really the granddaddy of many of the ills we suffer from today. Asthma, arthritis, sinusitis are all diseases and conditions that include chronic inflammation.

Take away: By reducing inflammation, CBD can provide natural support to the body’s own defenses.

Anxiety in the U.S.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. They affect 40 million adults each year. Not only that, but they are also the most common mental health disorder of childhood and adolescence. Nearly one in three teens meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18. Nearly two-thirds of those suffering from anxiety disorders are women.

There are five major types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This disorder is marked by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry, and tension—with little or no reason.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is marked by recurring, unwanted thoughts and/or compulsions such as hand washing, counting or cleaning.
  • Panic Disorder. This disorder is marked by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear. Physical symptoms may accompany these episodes and include chest pain, elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This disorder develops after exposure to a terrifying event in which physical harm occurred or was threatened.

In addition to a large number of individuals suffering from anxiety disorders, one survey showed that American’s anxiety levels in general increased between 2017 and 2018. 40% of respondents said that they felt more anxious than they had a year before.

Prolonged and persistent anxiety creates chemical changes in the body that can lead to impaired digestive function, insomnia, and heart disease.

Take away: Anxiety disorders and anxiety, in general, are a growing health issue in the United States for both children and adults.

Anxiety and Inflammation

It has become relatively common knowledge that inflammation is the underlying cause of many physical illnesses. What is less known is the association between inflammation and cognitive health issues. However, research is finding that inflammation and cognitive health issues like anxiety, depression, brain fog, ADD, ADHD, and autism are linked.

One study examined a group of people between the ages of 18 and 65 with an anxiety disorder. This study found that men in particular with current anxiety disorders had elevated levels of inflammation. The same research found that both men and women with late-onset of anxiety disorders had elevated inflammation levels.

A research paper published by the National Institutes of Health found that evidence from human studies “strongly supports the potential for CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders.” This paper, titled Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders, took into consideration the results and findings of 49 studies.

In their clinical research, they found that CBD reduced induced anxiety in healthy patients, as well as those suffering from SAD (Seasonal Anxiety Disorder). In their conclusions the authors state:

“Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD…” (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Seasonal Anxiety Disorder).

Take away: Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders….and (CBD has) an excellent safety profile.

Woman Relaxing

A Holistic Approach to Relaxing with CBD Oil

Stress is complex and can be traced back to multiple causes. Stress can be caused by a personal relationship, finances, job, or school. Likewise, genetic predisposition or underlying disease may also lead to stress or even an anxiety disorder. Or it may be something dramatic like a traumatic experience or the use or withdrawal from illicit drugs or medications.

Because of all of the factors that contribute to stress and anxiety disorders, a holistic approach is recommended.

Natural Approaches to aid Anxiety and Stress

Meditation: Meditation is a great way to gain composure over a racing mind. This makes stress and anxiety easier to manage. There are all kinds of mediation styles too, including mindfulness and yoga, so one may be just right for you.

Relaxation Exercises: If you find yourself tensing up without even realizing it, try intentionally relaxing. Sit or lay in a comfortable position and slowly tense and relax each muscle group.

Exercise: Exercise is a great way to work off anxious energy and it has the added bonus of being good for you! And research from animal studies even supports that!

Get toxic people out of your life

Almost nothing is more stressful than dealing with toxic people. In toxic relationships, one person often feels hurt by the other. Toxic people can sometimes be hard to spot, so it is important to identify how an individual makes you feel—if it is consistently worse—you may have a toxic person on your hands.

According to Psychology Today, it is important to see that the issue is not with you but with the toxic person. It is ideal to get all the toxic people out of one’s life. Sometimes that is not possible as in the case of work and family. One can lessen the impact of the toxic individual by spending as little time as possible around that person. Recognize and rise above the person’s behavior. Confronting such people with direct feedback and asking them not to say or do certain specific things you find hurtful can also help.

Engaging in Productive Behavior

Writing: Writing offers a safe way to express oneself. It can make anxiety feel easier to confront and deal with. There is even a 2016 study that shows that creative writing may help treat childhood and adolescent anxiety.

Time Management: Having too many commitments at once is stressful. These commitments, whether self-imposed or imposed by others, need to be managed so they do not become overwhelming.

Planning books and online calendars can help. Time management allows us to focus on one task at a time. Resisting the urge to say “yes” to every request can also reduce the stress of commitments.

Nutrition: Harvard Health Publishing reports that anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered antioxidants in the body. Therefore, adding foods with more antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

  • Beans – Top antioxidant beans (in order) are: red beans, red kidney, pinto, and black
  • Berries – Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries ranked highest
  • Fruit – Plums, oranges, dark grapes
  • Nuts – Walnuts and pecans. Walnuts have twice as many antioxidants as most other common nuts.
  • Vegetables – Artichokes, Russet potatoes, and Kale are top choices
  • Dark chocolate – the higher in cocoa content the better

CBD Oil: CBD Oil is both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Inflammation and low oxidation levels are both correlated with anxiety. CBD supports the endocannabinoid system of the body which regulates homeostasis (balance) in our body.

Take away: The best approach to dealing with stress is one that includes a number of strategies—environment, mental, and physical.

CBD for Relaxation

A CBD Oil tincture can help promote relaxation. Using it sublingually is best. Hold it under your tongue for two minutes so that the mucous membranes in the mouth can absorb the oil’s active ingredients, allowing it to enter the bloodstream. This makes the CBD far more available to the body than normal oral consumption where the CBD capsules, edibles or beverages must pass through the digestive tract.

Relative to how much you use, we recommend that you start slowly and increase over a period of time (a few weeks or even months) to see what works best for you. One-milliliter, taken an hour before bed, works well for many people. Many people split that dose into two—one in the morning and the other at night.

It is important to stick with your CBD routine for a few weeks as you may not feel its effects right away.

Stress is considered highly treatable. We encourage you to help yourself, friends or family relax and deal with stress by learning more about the many natural ways to address it.

If you chose to integrate CBD into your relaxation routine, it is always a good idea to talk to your physician, particularly if you are taking any medications, before taking CBD.