Cannabis has been getting a lot of (well deserved) attention for its treatment of critical illnesses such as Parkinson’s, Glioblastoma, and Arthritis. However there has not been enough conversation about depression and how medical cannabis has been playing a large part in treating depression effectively and often with little to no side effects. Depression is a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide but unfortunately has been associated with negative stigma. This stigma can prevent many people from having meaningful discussions about it and its treatments. Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, has also recently begun to emerge from its own cloud of stigma and into the forefront of medical research and application. As we begin to learn more about the positive impact made from open dialogue about both medical cannabis and depression, we are seeing just how powerful cannabis has been in helping this serious and debilitating disorder. Doctors and medical researchers are also joining their voices to those who are in favor of using medical cannabis to treat depression and other mood disorders.
Depression is a complex mood disorder that often leaves those who suffer feeling a profound sense of sadness while also feeling low energy and with a loss of motivation or interest and an inability to feel pleasure. Oftentimes, a person suffering from depression has difficulty sleeping and regulating their body’s natural rhythm. What’s worse is that these symptoms can also feel as though they have a “snowballing” effect- that is, that the symptoms compound and seem to get worse over time. While there are many causes of depression, some of the more common causes include genetic imbalances, abuse, trauma, conflict, major transitions or life events, serious illness, and stress. If you have experienced some of these symptoms then you are not alone- depression affects over 300 million people worldwide! Depression left untreated can also lead to serious consequences such as suicide which is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Unfortunately many people suffering from depression do not get the help and treatment they so desperately need. This could be due to the stigma surrounding mental illness or perhaps because of a fear of pharmaceutical medications and their unwanted (and often dangerous) side effects. Antidepressants, also known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are some of the most commonly prescribed medications for depression today. The problem with these medications is that while they may help in masking the symptoms of depression, they do not treat on a holistic level and can foster dependency on the medications. These medications can also have negative side effects such as headaches, joint pain, nausea, sleep disturbance, weight gain, and sexual disorders. The side effects of the medication can often make patients feel as though they are getting worse, not better! It is therefore no wonder that millions have been turning to alternative treatment plans such as medical cannabis to help them treat their depression.
The main reason that cannabis is so effective in treating depression is that it helps encourage the human body to adjust its own chemical imbalance in a natural, non-invasive way. Researchers believe this is because cannabis affects chemicals in our brains known as endocannabinoids. These chemical compounds control our moods, regulate our sensation of pain, stimulate appetites, and influence our central nervous system overall. In this way, they play an important part in how our brain and body releases hormones in response to stress. A recent study at the University of Buffalo found that medical cannabis boosts the production of endocannabinoids. This leads to patients showing an enhanced mood, higher levels of energy and focus, less anxiety, and better sleep regulation almost immediately. Another study also found that cannabis can aid in cognitive functioning for those suffering from mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. For those who are having difficult with their sleeping habits, research has proven that cannabis helps patients to fall asleep faster and the chemical THC can increase the time spent asleep. Cannabis also helps sleep by improving breathing and shortening the time spent in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.
The efficiency of cannabis in treating symptoms of depression is determined by the quality of its administration and the strain being utilized. We believe that an uplifting, stimulating THC-dominant sativa strain during the day, even taken as a microdose, will create a lifting energy similar to drinking green tea. For sleep, a medication high in indica will help patients to relax, unwind, and treat their insomnia. The chemical known as CBD also plays a big part in helping those with depression to restore their body’s natural rhythm and sleep cycle. A general rule of thumb is that the chemical THC helps patients to feel better, while the CBD is what actually gets them better. It is in using these general guiding principles that we believe medical cannabis oils are a wonderful safe and natural alternative to pharmaceutical medications for treating depression. Not only does medical cannabis instantly help to lift mood and provide energy, safely treating symptoms of depression, it also stimulates the body’s own ability to self-regulate and heal itself organically and holistically.