Did you know that Millennials are considering CBD over prescription drugs for mental health? I've previously shared how I have dealt with my own experience of anxiety and struggles with mental health. But what I didn’t mention was that I tried prescription medications and they just didn’t work for me – I felt groggy in the mornings – whereas I feel that one of the many benefits of CBD oil is that it helps with my anxiety, but without any unwanted side-effects. And it seems that 50% of millennials would agree with me, with research commissioned by EOS Scientific showing they too (more so than other age groups) would prefer to use CBD oil rather than prescription medicines to manage their mental health problems. So what is drawing millennials to consider CBD oil for mental health?
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD, along with THC, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. But unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high. People around the world have been using CBD to treat a wide range of conditions for thousands of years, but until recently there was little evidence of their benefits because it was only legalised in 2016 (THC remains illegal). Now a growing body of research is indicating that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and has the potential to treat many conditions, including epilepsy, cancer and chemo symptoms and multiple sclerosis, along with those associated with mental health.
MILLENNIALS AND MENTAL HEALTH
Is it just me or have you noticed that millennials - those born between the early 1980s to late 1990s - seem to get a bad rap in the press? Dubbed the “snowflake generation” by much of the British press, they’re a bunch of fragile, lazy, entitled narcissists, who spend their lives uploading show-off selfies on social media. GMB TV presenter Piers Morgan thinks they’re “the most mollycoddled generation in history,” always fretting about life like “anxiety-ridden snowflakes.”
Of course, such generalisations ignore the fact that perhaps millennials haven’t got it so good. Born into a highly aspirational, “loadsamoney” era and taught to equate happiness with success and material wealth, millennials came of age at a time of widespread financial and job insecurity, the rise of zero-hours contracts, university fees and cuts to public services, so I can understand that they feel a bit short-changed. With 24-hour internet newsfeeds, they’re only too aware of the threats of war, terrorism and ecological crises. And when they scroll down their social media feed millennials are bombarded with images of those around them apparently leading a perfect life. So it’s hardly surprising that many feel inadequate and their mental health is suffering, with mental health statistics showing that levels of depression, distress and mental disorder are at an all-time high among this generation.
THE ANXIOUS SNOWFLAKE
But the “anxious snowflake” stereotype bandied around by the media is damaging because it makes fun of, and reinforces the stigma around, mental health. I can’t help thinking it’s a defensive reaction, of those brought up to repress their feelings, towards a generation that maybe exhibits greater emotional intelligence and openness. Take Morgan, for example, he was infuriated when Will Young and Lady Gaga talked openly about their PTSD diagnoses, claiming Young merely suffered from “whiny, needy twerp syndrome” while Gaga’s motive for sharing was self-promotion (although she was raped when younger). Similarly, Morgan thought that Prince Harry talking emotionally about becoming a parent and shedding a tear at the WellChild awards was “unnatural”. So I can’t help but wonder if this need to lash out at millennials is down to the fact that they dare to be more vocal about the state of the world, and about their mental health.
CONSCIOUSLY CONSIDERING CBD?
But if millennials are more vocal, it’s possibly because they’re also more clued up. Tech-savvy, and accustomed to having instant online access to information that enables them to make conscious, informed decisions, a growing number are increasingly keen to embrace a healthy and holistic approach to life – which is possibly leading them to consider natural, additive-free CBD oil to manage mental health problems.
CBD & SEROTONIN
And it looks like they could be right: clinical studies are indicating that CBD influences serotonin levels in the body and has anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects, yet without the side-effects of conventional medicines. In fact, it’s thought that CBD offers many of the same health benefits as medical cannabis, which although legal too, has only been licensed in the UK to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. Perhaps millennials, aware of this, are choosing to self-medicate with CBD.
Of course, mental health is a serious issue and I’d always advise anyone to visit their GP rather than self-medicate. Fortunately, there may soon be no need. Last year it was announced that ProjectTwenty21, a medical cannabis trial backed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and projected to be the largest in Europe, will supply subsidised cannabis products to 20,000 UK patients in the hope that the findings will persuade policymakers to make CBD widely available on the NHS. The study will focus on chronic pain, epilepsy, MS, PTSD, Tourette’s syndrome, and people with a history of substance misuse. So hopefully in the future conscious millennials will actually be able to visit their GP and get a cannabinoid prescription for mental health problems.
If you’ve found this helpful, please share. And if you have any further questions, please let me know below and I or one of my team will do our best to provide you with answers.
Jamie Wood, Founder & CEO
Many people who use CBD oil claim that it helps them relax. I agree with this but in my experience, it’s not just a question of chilling out. I believe vaping CBD oil helps me manage my anxiety. As I’ve mentioned before, I survived a heart attack a few years ago which prompted me to do a lot of soul-searching and make a few lifestyle changes.