CBD and suicide


Although it is a sensitive topic, it is important to understand what suicide is, its causes, and how to prevent it. There are various cultural beliefs that have been built around this issue, and the lack of information counteracts the knowledge.

There are differences in rates, depending on specific demographics, for suicide and suicide attempts. However, suicide occurs in all demographic groups, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. Causes of suicide risk are characteristics of an individual or their environment that increase the likelihood of suicide.

Causes of risk include the following symptoms

  • Previous suicide attempt.
  • Mental disorders: such as depression and mood disorders
  • Chronic illness and disability.
  • Abuse or misuse of alcohol or other drugs
  • Lack of access to psychological health care.
  • Social isolation.

Having gone through or lived through a trauma can increase a person's risk of suicide. For example, there is evidence that childhood abuse and sexual trauma can increase a person's risk of suicide. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that while the relationship between suicide and mental disorders is well established, the most influential risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

How can CBD help prevent?

The CBD has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, as new research explores its potential health benefits. Some research suggests that CBD oil and other CBD products may be beneficial for symptoms of depression.

Studies published in the journal Depression and Anxiety indicated a link between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts. CBD has been shown to have therapeutic benefits that help reduce anxiety. The results of a review in the year 2015, conclusively demonstrated the effectiveness of CBD in reducing anxiety behaviours linked to multiple disorders. These disorders include: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study's lead researcher added that the results were supported by experimental findings in humans, which also suggested the minimal sedative effects of PTSD.

Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another well-known compound of the cannabis plant, CBD (cannabidiol), is non-addictive and non-psychoactive, making it an attractive option for most people suffering from anxiety.

However, more studies are needed to determine the impact of long-term CBD use on people. Some studies link the risk of suicide in those with PTSD to distressing memories of trauma, anger, and poor impulse control. The risk of suicide is high for those with PTSD who cope with stress without expressing their feelings.

CBD, on the other hand, has proven useful in treating PTSD and its symptoms. A case report in The Permanente Journal noted the effectiveness of CBD oil for anxiety and insomnia as part of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Studies show that the benefits of CBD for depression are related to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. Low levels of serotonin are probably connected to depression. CBD does not necessarily increase serotonin levels, but it can affect the way the brain's receptor chemicals respond to the serotonin already in the system.

Several studies show its effectiveness in reducing stress-related depression, psychiatric potential, including uses as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant compound, improvements in psychotic symptoms in people with Parkinson's, and great advances in patients with schizophrenia. CBD is considered a promising compound to help improve adverse and hard-to-treat symptoms of schizophrenia-related cognitive impairment.

Final conclusions...

Suicide is a complicated and tragic subject. However, it is often preventable. Being aware of the warning signs of suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

Studies have shown a link between mental disorders and suicide. Meanwhile, CBD has been shown to help with mental disorders, making it a potential tool to help reduce, if not prevent, suicide attempts. However, more evidence is needed to determine the impact of long-term CBD use on individuals. In addition, more research is needed to corroborate the results of previous studies.

Thus, before using CBD or any cannabis product to help address symptoms linked to mental disorders, a physician experienced in the use of cannabis should be consulted for advice.


"Risk and Protective Factors." Risk and Protective Factors | Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2019, www.sprc.org/about-suicide/risk-protective-factors.

"Veterans Affairs." Suicide and PTSD, 1 Jan. 2007, www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/related/suicide_ptsd.asp.

"Suicide." World Health Organization, World Health Organization, www.who.int/health-topics/suicide.

Nepon, Josh, et al. "The Relationship between Anxiety Disorders and Suicide Attempts: Findings from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Depression and Anxiety, vol. 27, no. 9, 2010, pp. 791-798., doi:10.1002/da.20674.

Blessing, Esther M., et al. "Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders." Neurotherapeutics, vol. 12, no. 4, 2015, pp. 825-836., doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1.

Shannon, Scott, and J Opila-Lehman. "Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report." The Permanente Journal, 2016, doi:10.7812/tpp/16-005.

Sales, Amanda J., et al. "Cannabidiol Induces Rapid and Sustained Antidepressant-Like Effects Through Increased BDNF Signaling and Synaptogenesis in the Prefrontal Cortex. Molecular Neurobiology, vol. 56, no. 2, ser. 2019, 4 June 2018, pp. 1070-1081. 2019, doi:10.1007/s12035-018-1143-4.

Crippa, Jose A., et al. "Translational Investigation of the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a New Age. Frontiers in Immunology, vol. 9, 2018, doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009.

Alexandre R. de Mello Schier, Natalia P. de Oliveira Ribeiro. "Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Cannabidiol: A Chemical Compound of Cannabis Sativa." Https://Www.eurekaselect.com, 31 July 2014, doi.org/10.2174/1871527313666140612114838.

Zuardi, AW, Cripp, JA, Hallak, JE, et al. Cannabidiol for the treatment of psychosis in Parkinson disease. J Psychopharmacol. 2009;23:979-983.

McGuire, P., Robson, P., Cubala, WJ., et al. Cannabidiol (CBD) as an adjunctive therapy in schizophrenia: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 2018;175;223-231.

Scroll to Top