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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 make changes in brain chemistry that can 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.

Conclusion

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 https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder.
  2. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2017, Dec). Borderline Personality Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml.
  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: https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.117.244368.
  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 https://echoconnection.org/differences-cbd-thc/.
  10. Russo, E.B., Burnett, A., Hall, B. et al. Agonistic Properties of Cannabidiol at 5-HT1a Receptors. Neurochem Res 30, 1037–1043 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11064-005-6978-1

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Prevention & Awareness

Borderline Personality Disorder Month: Practicing Compassion

May 1, 2017 May 1, 2017 Stacy Pershall

Stacy is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring her to your campus to speak about mental health.

 

PrinceMemeOf all the quotes I saw in the wake of Prince’s death — and I’m a Prince fan to the core — this is the most beautiful and resonant to me: “Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.”

 

I spent a lot of years having very little compassion for other people, because I had none for myself. This is the aspect of Borderline Personality Disorder that causes the greatest stigma; it’s what causes others to view us as willfully manipulative and cruel.

 

But what was really happening is that I was severely mentally ill and without proper help for a long, long time. When I was finally diagnosed with BPD and found Dialectical Behavior Therapy — which is basically CBT meets Zen Buddhism — I started to learn what it means to be connected to other people. That connection is the basis of compassion.

 

And I believe now — I KNOW now, because by practicing it, I help save lives — that compassion is radical activism. There is nothing more terrifying, raw, and profound than looking into the eyes of another being and realizing that their pain, their suffering, their fear, their joy, and their dreams are yours too.

 

That realization, and the compassion of the people who saw the good in me when I couldn’t, is the one and only reason I’m not dead.

 

So hell yeah, compassion is an action word. Because to keep from shutting yourself off and approaching the world from a place of anger and fear — and one of the things I learned in DBT is that anger is just a secondary emotion to fear — is the hardest, scariest thing you will ever do.

 

You have to work really, really hard at love to overcome fear. It’s the one and only way. And just as there’s no anger without fear, there’s no love without compassion.

 

All is connected. All are one. Compassion for yourself is compassion for others. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. I love you.

 

Active Minds Speakers Bureau Borderline Personality Disorder compassion recovery

 

Tag: Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder Month: Practicing Compassion

May 1, 2017 May 1, 2017 Stacy Pershall

Stacy is a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau. Bring her to your campus to speak about mental health. Of all the quotes I saw in the wake of Prince’s death — and I’m a Prince fan to the core — this is the most beautiful and resonant to me: “Compassion is an action…

 

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Learning to Let Go

October 12, 201 6Stacy Pershall

This post was written by Stacy Pershall, a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau who speaks to schools and groups nationwide about mental health and eating disorders. The place: Prairie Grove, Arkansas.  The year: 1985.  The setting: a bedroom closet with burnt-orange carpet and a brown slatted door.  The protagonist, who’s also the antagonist:…

 

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My Cat, the Lifesaver

September 16, 2016 September 7, 2016 Robyn Suchy

I’m only a little embarrassed to say that I think my cat may have been partially responsible for saving my life. I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder for a long time–almost ten years now that I look back on it–but I’ve always been able to find my way back with some time,…

 

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Mental Health News Round-Up: July 31

July 31, 2015 July 31, 2015 Kathryn DeWitt

Suicide Prevention, Stress, and the Ideals of Perfection Although I typically try to remain objective in the Mental Health New Round-Up, I break this form to share the following NYT article that includes my personal story. Active Minds has been instrumental in my journey of recovery and advocacy and I am now involved with Active Minds Penn…

 

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5 Things You Might Not Know About Borderline Personality Disorder

May 11, 2015 May 12, 2015 Stacy Pershall1 Comment

May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month! Stacy Pershall, a member of the Active Minds Speakers Bureau who has a diagnosis of BPD, shares 5 things you should know about this oft-misunderstood disorder. Bring Stacy to your campus to speak today!  1. The disorder got its name from psychoanalyst Otto Kernberg, when Freudian therapists observed…

 

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