Cannabis & Depression: Studies Suggest Marijuana Can Help
A study found that a few puffs of a high-CBD cannabis strain helped patients with symptoms of depression.
There’s no denying that life, with its unpredictable twists and turns, can be a bit overwhelming a lot of the time. Though many people don’t like to talk about it, depression has become a common ailment among both teens and adults, with more than 300 million people affected by it worldwide. Some people have found ways to cope and manage depression through exercise, diet, self-care, therapy, prescription pills or other alternatives that seem to lighten the load. But for others, these methods might be helpful but they still struggle with consistent and intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, chronic fatigue, loss of interest and low self-esteem.
Some studies have shown that cannabis can effectively reduce some of the symptoms of depression. One study recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests that smoking cannabis can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. It also suggests that high-CBD/low-THC strains were most effective among their participants. The study specifically looked at the effects of smoked cannabis.
Researchers found that after just two puffs, participants began to feel relief from symptoms of depression and after 10 puffs, they could feel their stress levels drop.
If smoking is not an option for you due to health reasons, your living situation or otherwise, you can still utilize cannabis in other ways, such as through edibles or tinctures, if you find it helps with your depression. Because depression can vary from moderate to severe, each approach will be different but should consider your tolerance, lifestyle and how you want to feel before you start using cannabis as a remedy. As the study suggests, strains that are high in CBD and low in THC may provide relief, but you may consider looking into the terpene profile of particular strains when you are deciding what will be best for you. Strains that are high in linalool or myrcene may help you feel calmed and relaxed, while strains with limonene can help boost your mood and increase energy.
The study suggests that low amounts of cannabis can be helpful with depression, so microdosing appears as if it could also be an option if you are interested in experiencing some relief without any strong intoxicating side-effects. Microdosing — or utilizing small amounts of THC, usually around 2.5 mg of THC or lower — has been shown to provide benefits that can be helpful in relieving some of the root problems that can lead to depression, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia and isolation. Because it is hard to tell how much THC you’re inhaling when smoking, microdosing with tinctures, oils and edibles is best. Medical marijuana doctors usually recommend starting with one dose per day and then gauging how you feel after a few days. If needed, increase to taking microdoses twice a day. Continue to monitor how you feel and adjust as necessary.
If you experience body aches or tension related to depression, you can also try using an infused topical. There are creams, lotions, salves and even bath salts that you can use to relieve the discomfort. You can feel free to use them daily without any psychoactive effects whatsoever.
It’s important to note that the study also suggests that cannabis may be best as a short-term treatment, so it may be a good idea to employ other strategies as a part of your long-term treatment. Depression is a serious condition that may require medical treatment and supervision, and relying on self-medication isn’t always effective. Cannabis is just one resource of many for treating depression. It can be useful, but don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you are not experiencing relief from your symptoms or find that they are getting worse.