It only seems logical that cannabis has what it takes to be a salvation’s wing for those people suffering from depression.
Anyone who has ever slumped into a depressive state after running out of weed fully understands the happiness that comes once that all-important high supply is replenished back to acceptable levels.
But all jokes aside, depression is a serious mental condition that pulls approximately 16 million Americans down into the grey gutters of doom every year. The situation is far worse for the female persuasion than it is for males, according to the latest federal data, which could be due, at least in part, to their daily dealings with their hairier, less attractive counterpart.
Did we say no more jokes? Okay… starting now.
Although the scientific community has not been able to uncover any definitive evidence that cannabis is beneficial in the treatment of various types of depression, some studies have shown that microdosing marijuana may help alleviate tumultuous bouts of this common mental affliction.
In fact, researchers from Washington State University (WSU) recently published a piece in the latest Journal of Affective Disorders that shows how a single hit of high CBD medical marijuana (low in THC) can reduce symptoms of depression. This exploration into medical marijuana vs. depression is “unique,” in relation to previous studies, researchers said, because “we looked at actual inhaled cannabis by medical marijuana patients who were using it in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to a laboratory.”
Up to this point, most of the studies involving cannabis and depression have involved THC pills, and have not taken into account strains with higher levels of the non-intoxicating compound cannabidiol (CBD). The role of CBD is a crucial factor, researchers said.
“A lot of consumers seem to be under the false assumption that more THC is always better,” said lead study supervisor Carrie Cuttler, of the Department of Psychology at WSU.
“Our study shows that CBD is also a very important ingredient in cannabis and may augment some of the positive effects of THC,” said Cuttler.
People diagnosed with depression are often prescribed antidepressant medications that can bring about a wealth of unpleasant side effects like fatigue, insomnia and sexual problems. But even after having their brains worked over by a web of pharmaceuticals, there are no guarantees that these folks will live happier lives. Somewhere between 10 to 30 percent of patients treated with antidepressants never experience any improvement at all. This means, even with medications, millions of people in the United States are destined to walk around in a hopeless funk.
Could cannabis be the solution?
Well, that depends. Medical professionals are still apprehensive about pointing to cannabis a possible treatment for depression. Some argue that while medical marijuana might serve as a remedy for a fraction of these patients, it could go the opposite direction for others.
“Cannabis can be a good substitute [for medication], but only under certain circumstances,” said Dr. Jordon Tishler, a cannabis specialist who graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He says cannabis is a “relatively weak antidepressant” on its own.
It really comes down to assessing the needs of the patient. “If a patient comes in and says, ‘Doc, I’m on a starter dose of Zoloft (sertraline), 25 milligrams, and it’s working but I want to get off it because of side effects,’ then I think cannabis is a reasonable substitution,” he said. This is especially true for those patients experiencing the limp repercussions of antidepressants. Although these types of drugs are infamous sex killers, cannabis does the opposite — it boosts libido. It stands to reason that clinical depression can only get worse once the patients is squeezed of his or her sexual desire.
Considering the poor odds of experiencing positive results through traditional treatments, cannabis could be the best alternative.
Therefore, it is important for depression patients to discuss all of their option with a medical professional — not a budtender, Tishler advises. “Even physicians who don’t know very much about cannabis, assuming they are open-minded to it, still know more about human biology and healthcare” than someone behind the counter of a dispensary, he said.
TELL US, have you ever tried cannabis for depression?