Can CBD Help With Borderline Personality Disorder?

Individuals with BPD experience wide mood swings and can feel a great sense of instability and insecurity. Some vital signs and symptoms of BPD may include:

    • Periods of anxiety, depressed mood, extreme irritability, or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days
    • Distorted and unstable self-image, which impacts goals, opinions, moods, values, opinions, goals, and relationships
    • Impulsive behaviors that can lead to dangerous outcomes, such as unsafe sex, excessive spending, reckless driving, or substance abuse
    • Self-harming behavior, including suicidal threats or attempts

In the United States, 75% of those diagnosed with BPD are women. However, recent research suggests that men may be equally affected by BPD but are misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression (1).

Psychotherapy is usually the first-line treatment for people with BPD, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

In some cases, however, a psychiatrist may recommend medications to treat specific symptoms, such as mood swings, depression, and other co-occurring mental disorders (2).

Why People Are Turning to CBD for BPD

CBD oil can help make changes in brain chemistry that may help people with BPD gain control over their feelings.

A 2014 study published in the journal Neuroscience has found that inflammatory cytokines contribute to the development of depression in both medically ill and medically healthy individuals (3).

Cytokines are hormones secreted by the immune system and can affect the function of every tissue and organ in the body, including the brain. 

Increased levels of cytokine proteins cause inflammation, which can lead to depression. Meanwhile, researchers have found that CBD can help reduce inflammation. 

A study showed the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain (4).  

CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory properties were also demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (5).

CBD products made with hemp-derived extract can also be beneficial to people struggling with BPD.

Full-spectrum CBD oil derived from hemp contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which could have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain and help cognitive function. 

A study in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids could be a useful agent for treating depression (6).

Studies indicate that many psychiatric disorders, including BPD, correlate with a deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids in the body (7) 

Research on Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation noted that it can be an effective treatment method for both children and adults with BPD (8).

How CBD Works to Help With BPD

The therapeutic effects of cannabinoids, such as CBD, are realized by their interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its specialized cannabinoid receptors. 

The 5-HT1A serotonin receptors are among the endocannabinoid receptors that CBD activates. Serotonin, the happy chemical, is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being. 

Through this interaction, these cannabinoids promote healing and balance (9). 

People who suffer from depression and anxiety seem to manifest reduced levels of serotonin. Similarly, people with BPD exhibit lowered serotonin levels. 

Research published in the Neurochemical Research Journal indicated that cannabidiol could inhibit the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, making serotonin more available for the body (10). 

As CBD activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, they bind to 5-HT serotonin neurotransmitters and increase serotonin production.

With better regulation of serotonin, CBD could help stabilize mood, which, in turn, combats the adverse effects of anxiety and depression that come along with BPD.


There is no single cure for BPD. Moreover, managing BPD is incredibly difficult and requires hours of therapy and hard work. 

However, with the right treatment combination,  individuals with BPD can still lead fulfilling lives. 

There is no guarantee that CBD can help anyone with BPD. Everybody is different. Thus, the way BPD manifests in individuals and the way CBD impacts people is entirely relative to the individual. 

Still, CBD looks promising for BPD patients as a possible treatment for symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and inflammation.

Before trying CBD for BPD as an adjunct therapy or as a remedy for associated symptoms or disorders, consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.

  1. NAMI. (2017, Dec). Borderline Personality Disorder. Retrieved from
  2. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2017, Dec). Borderline Personality Disorder. Retrieved from
  3. Felger JC, Lotrich FE. Inflammatory cytokines in depression: neurobiological mechanisms and therapeutic implications. Neuroscience. 2013;246:199–229. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.04.060.
  4. Xiong W, Cui T, Cheng K, et al. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. J Exp Med. 2012;209(6):1121–1134. DOI:10.1084/jem.20120242.
  5. Petrosino S et al. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics June 2018, 365 (3) 652-663; DOI:
  6. Logan AC. Omega-3 fatty acids and major depression: a primer for the mental health professional. Lipids Health Dis. 2004;3:25. Published 2004 Nov 9. DOI:10.1186/1476-511X-3-25.
  7. Messamore E, McNamara RK. Detection and treatment of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency in psychiatric practice: Rationale and implementation. Lipids Health Dis. 2016;15:25. Published 2016 Feb 10. DOI:10.1186/s12944-016-0196-5.
  8. Zanarini MC, Frankenburg FR. omega-3 Fatty acid treatment of women with borderline personality disorder: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Am J Psychiatry. 2003;160(1):167–169. DOI:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.1.167.
  9. ECHO. (2017, March 29). Retrieved from
  10. Russo, E.B., Burnett, A., Hall, B. et al. Agonistic Properties of Cannabidiol at 5-HT1a Receptors. Neurochem Res 30, 1037–1043 (2005).
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