Living with depression is a serious challenge for the roughly 16 million Americans who suffer from some form of this condition. The cause, type and severity varies from one person to another, but one universal aspect is that depressive disorders, when untreated, are painfully difficult to deal with. Furthermore, medication may be at least partially effective, but the side effects often create an entire new list of problems. In a promising turn, anecdotal evidence and some research suggest that marijuana, and CBD from hemp, could help alleviate depression. However, using cannabis for depression is a delicate process, so its efficacy depends on how it is applied.
Mechanism of Treatment
Life is filled with stressors, and the overwhelming nature of these outside forces often leads to or aggravates depression. A 2015 study from the University of Buffalo, however, appears promising.
According to the researchers, stress causes a drop in endocannabinoids, a naturally produced chemical similar to the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana. The endocannabinoids can be substituted with THC, which essentially supplements these missing natural substances to counteract the depression caused by stress. Studies also show that legal, non THC, CBD oil from the hemp plant can be used in the same manner with very similar results.
Cannabis vs. Conventional Antidepressants
Typically, doctors prescribe antidepressants to help patients live with the condition, but these do not always work as well as expected. In fact, despite being FDA approved and going through several clinical trials, many of these drugs are no more effective than a placebo when it comes to treating depression. The only consistent thing about them is the plethora of side effects, which are usually worse than the intoxicating effects of marijuana.
The biggest roadblock at the moment is that cannabis has been lightly researched and therefore is not FDA approved. This ambiguity is the main reason many doctors are hesitant to prescribe it.
When it comes to treating depression, cannabis is a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are some indications that it can be effective at reducing depression, yet many long-term users experience the exact opposite. Those who start using marijuana before they reach adulthood have a greater chance of experiencing depression than their fully grown counterparts.
The key lies in dosage. Since marijuana is illegal in most states, users cannot know the THC levels of their particular strain. If someone obtains the drug medicinally, its strength can be found directly on the labels.
According to a 2007 study by McGill University, low doses of THC increase serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in an anti-depressant effect. High amounts, however, increase depression. If further studies conclusively support marijuana as a viable alternative to antidepressants, patients and doctors must exercise caution in order to prevent the condition from becoming worse.
Marijuana’s efficacy against a multitude of conditions is becoming increasingly apparent, but its application against depressive disorders is much more complicated. While it is excellent news for those who truly feel cannabis helps them deal with depression, the drug simply will not become widely available until more research is complete. Nonetheless, the few results so far seem to favor cannabis as an alternative treatment.
A Cannabis alternative that’s 100% legal and available in all 50 states.
If you are looking for a medical marijuana alternative that’s proving to be just as effective, is in the Cannabis family, and is legal in all 50 states, then we highly recommend you check out the “miracle oil” called CBD from hemp. This amazing breakthrough in natural healing can be used for the purposes mentioned here and also for a large variety of other common and more serious ailments. Learn more here.