By / March 17, 2020

How CBD can affect borderline personality disorder symptoms

In the Netherlands, between 150,000 to 200,000 people have borderline personality disorder (BPD). These people think in black or white, and nothing in between exists. Borderliners are impulsive, often feel insecure, live with fears, feelings of powerlessness, jealousy, and shame.

People with a mild form of borderline often cope well with the disorder. People with BPD show some, or all of the following symptoms: responding differently to similar situations every time; suffering from tantrums, paranoia or persecution madness; impulsive (gambling, high expenses, substance abuse); severe separation anxiety. Unstable personal relationships, interspersed with extreme idealization and devaluation; distorted and unstable self-image; periods of intense depression, irritability or anxiety that can last for several hours or even days.

People suffering from borderline also feel inappropriate, intense, and uncontrollable outbursts of anger, often followed by intense shame or guilt. Among the symptoms are also chronic feelings of boredom and emptiness, dissociation and stress-related paranoia, self-harm, including suicidal threats and attempts. These are quite severe symptoms that make it difficult for someone with BPD to lead a normal life. is a mobile application that is exclusively dedicated to medical cannabis, hemp, and marijuana news.

CBD and the borderline personality disorder

A personality disorder cannot be cured, but with certain treatments, a lot can be achieved. Think of psychotherapy to learn to control emotions. Some patients also benefit from medication. Doctors usually prescribe sedatives, antipsychotics or antidepressants. There are no special BPD medications and the prescribed medication has many side effects.

This is where cannabidiol (CBD) comes into the picture. When taking CBD people get a vegetal cannabinoid that works in the same way as endocannabinoids that the body itself produces. Vegetable cannabinoids in cannabis and the body’s own cannabinoids work together with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The aim of this mechanism is to regulate – and if necessary restore – all of the body’s functions. The ECS plays a role in many bodily functions and is involved in how we think, feel and react to the world around us.

This is how CBD works in BPD

The human body is full of transmitters and receivers. These are also called ‘receptors.’ Each receptor is programmed to send or receive certain messages. These messages are also called ‘neurotransmitters’. The endocannabinoid system works in a similar way. The body contains cannabinoid receptors (CB-receptors) that react to cannabinoids or the messages.

Borderline (BPS) is a personality disorder characterized by problems regulating emotions, impulsivity, low self-esteem and maintaining personal relationships. (Source)

However, cannabinoids do not follow the typical path of receptors and neurotransmitters. In the typical path, neurotransmitters flow in one direction. They are sent by a presynaptic neuron and received by a postsynaptic neuron. Cannabinoids can also return. So from postsynaptic neurons to presynaptic neurons. This process is called retrograde inhibition.

In many psychiatric disorders, symptomatic, or episodic behavior can be traced back to overactive neurons. As a result, far too many neurotransmitters are sent from presynapse to postsynapse, which leads to overburdening. But because cannabinoids also follow the reverse process, they can block and mediate the transmission of neurotransmitters. In this way, they ensure that presynaptic neurons send the right amount of neurotransmitters. Vegetable cannabinoids can contribute to this inhibition.

This is how CBD can reduce the overactive neural transmission associated with many BPD symptoms. CBD can give a positive impulse to ECS, reducing stress and reducing feelings of anxiety, depression, and anger.

Another advantage of CBD

There is another important mechanism through which CBD contributes to our mood. One of the cannabinoid receptors that activate CBD is called 5-HT1A. These are serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects memory, mood, self-confidence, sleep, emotion, sexual activity, and appetite. It is also called ‘lucky hormone.’

People suffering from depression and anxiety have been shown to have lower levels of serotonin compared to people who are not depressed. When CBD activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, they bind to 5-HT serotonin neurotransmitters and increase serotonin production. As a result of this reaction, it combats the negative effects of depression and anxiety in BPD.

CBD could be an alternative treatment for people suffering from BPD

This article is not intended to suggest that cannabidiol replaces the existing BPD treatment. Or to ensure that CBD works for anyone with this disorder. Everyone is different, so the way BPD manifests in different people and the way CBD affects different people is fully related to the individual.

What the article does want to communicate is that CBD looks promising as a complement to psychotherapy and to reduce specific BPD symptoms. CBD products are safe and have virtually no side effects. Legally available CBD products contain a negligible amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the mind-altering component in cannabis.

Many psychiatric disorders, including BPD, correlate with a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Research on supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids indicates that it is an effective treatment method for both children and adults with BPD.


(Featured image by R+R Medicinals via Unsplash)

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