If there’s one epidemic spreading across the US population, it’s mood disorders like depression. In 2015, more than 16 million adults experienced some form of clinical depression, the most common being Major Depressive Disorder, Manic Depressive Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Each is characterized by a decrease in serotonin levels, which causes a variety of symptoms — like anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite — that impact every aspect of a person’s life. While everyone’s experience is different, some studies have shown that cannabis can have a positive impact on people suffering from depression.
Cannabinoids stimulate the endocannabinoid system, which helps to increase the low serotonin levels that are associated with clinical depression. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound, works to lower anxiety and stress levels. The psychoactive qualities of THC can create a feeling of euphoria, which helps to alter the negative thoughts that plague people living with depression disorders. By alleviating stress and easing negative thought patterns, both CBD and THC can provide the same relief as most pharmaceutical anti-depressants without the harmful side effects. Pharmaceutical anti-depressants can also take weeks to achieve full effect, while most cannabis treatments work much more quickly – ingesting cannabis in the form of edibles can provide relief in just a few hours, while the effects of smoking or inhaling cannabis begin to work almost immediately.
Cannabis is also a neuroprotectant, which means it actually stimulates brain cell growth and can even prevent cell damage. This kind of interaction can improve cognitive brain function and encourage positive behaviors that help combat depression. CBD and THC can also produce a sedative effect that calms the overactive neurons that are thought to cause depression disorders. This helps stabilize moods, easing the symptoms of depression and more severe mental health conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, and psychosis.
There are a few studies that show that heavy cannabis use can lead to worsening depression symptoms, but like most other cannabis-based treatments, each patient’s experience is different. It’s important to work with a mental health professional when seeking cannabis treatments for depression and try several methods until you find the one that works best for you.
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IMPORTANT: All information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. None of this information should be construed as medical or treatment advice for any specific person or condition. Cannabis has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA, and there is limited information on the side effects of using cannabis as a medication. You should always consult a licensed physician in all matters related to your health.