Even though the stigma surrounding poor mental health is evaporating, around 30% of Brits – roughly 15 million people – are uncomfortable about seeing their GP for mental health concerns. A study by Eos Scientific, a toxicology and data research lab, found that the main reason was due to worries about the treatments prescribed for anxiety and depression. Of the 15 million electing not to visit their doctor with mental health concerns, 47% were Millennials and Generation Z’s, 18 – 34-year-olds. Instead, they’re choosing CBD for relief.
Common Mental Health Conditions
Although it is natural to experience both anxiety and depressive symptoms throughout our lifetimes, it becomes problematic when these feelings persist or begin to interfere with our social life or work.
Of all humans alive today, Millennials and the younger generation who are just entering adulthood – Generation Z – are more likely to report mental health issues. As many as 17% of Millennials suffer from depression and 14% with some form of anxiety – be it a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety (SAD), or feeling overwhelmed by their empathetic nature, finding their place in the world, and the vast number of choices they need to make as they progress through life.
Those who meet the criteria for a mental health condition are often directed to psychological therapies such as Applied Relaxation or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the first instance. In more severe cases, medication such as anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), maybe be prescribed. All of which have recognised side effects and lead-in times before they become effective.
In some cases it may take more than 8 weeks before treatment for a mental health issue can be accessed. This and the general lack of trust in conventional methods could be driving the health-conscious Millennials to seek natural or ‘alternative’ solutions to their physical and mental wellbeing.
CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike its sister compound, THC which is known to cause a ‘high’. Not only are the Millennials and Generation Z known for being more in touch with their emotions but they’re also less enamoured with the drink and drugs culture of their parents’ generation. This could be another underlying factor in their attraction towards natural remedies for their mental malaise and shunning of traditional medications.
CBD for mental health
CBD has already been recognised by the World Health Organisation as having many therapeutic benefits, both mental and physical. This and the low levels of toxicity noted in their report makes the self-application of CBD oil a trend that shouldn’t cause concern. There are few to no side effects of CBD and it is impossible to fatally overdose.
Clinical reports are beginning to be published in larger numbers that prove the anxiolytic properties of CBD. It naturally reduces feelings of anxiety, allowing users to distance themselves from the distressing feelings and thoughts associated with common mental health conditions. CBD appears to influence the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain – the structures involved in regulating emotion, managing motivation, learning, and creating memories. A firm base supporting the benefits of CBD for mental health is beginning to be laid.
The interest in CBD and other natural products that support better physical and mental health is certainly not a worrying one. The rising interest in health and wellbeing alongside the search for natural remedies for common ailments that don’t come with a cocktail of side effects, possible addiction or death from an overdose like the opioid crisis plaguing America is warmly welcome. Maybe the Millennials will lead the way to better health for all of us.