Medical Cannabis and Depression

Using Medical Cannabis to Treat Depression

Image Credit: By Joshua Rawson-Harris's on Unsplash.

Depression is something that refers to a state of temporary sadness, “The Blues” or simply just not being in a perfect, lively mood. Usually this quickly passes, and the person once again starts to feel positive and optimistic. However, clinical depression is very different. When someone continues to remain is such a state of sadness, they can be considered to have a Major Depressive Disorder, also known as MDD.

This is likely to stay for some time and more often than not it effects the way they feel, think and react to various day to day activities. In fact, routine tasks begin to look like a burden, whereas focusing becomes overwhelming because of the lack of interest. Mood disorders can be hard to control and can effect a person mentally as well as physically.

What is Medical Cannabis?

The two major elements of medical cannabis are CBD and THC, both of which are distinct of each other. THC is psychoactive while CBD is passive. A point to note; everyone reacts differently to Cannabis based medicines.

While some feel relaxed and euphoric there are others who have sworn to experience panic attacks. These results and possible side effects may change however as further research is conducted into the development of official cannabis based treatments.

Patients typically need to consult with a health professional or doctor, and also take a second opinion when indulging in these substances, even if used to treat minor medical conditions. In a nutshell, if certain cannabis based medicines works for a particular individual, this doesn’t mean it will work for others too.

What aggravates the matter further is that there is no solid data to prove cannabis’ depression and anxiety “healing” properties. This is where the age old question could be asked. Can you really cure something or only subdue it and treat its symptoms?

Common Symptoms Of Depression
Treatment for depression varies because the causes and intensity also vary. Some of the common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Considering how bad the depression is, a person might feel low or down.
  • Not having any concern about chores or duties which were once enjoyed with great vigor.
  • Appetite is significantly reduced, leading to a loss in weight. However, the respective patient might tend to overeat which is likely to result in weight gain. Thus, it can go both ways. In manic depression the person can experience both extreme states.
  • Insomnia or lack of sleep. It can further aggravate the illness and also affect the metabolism negatively.
  • Low self-esteem, hatred for oneself, feeling guilty, and experiencing negative thoughts such as “Unworthiness” is quite common.
  • Lack of focus, energy, interest and difficulty in making informed decisions.
  • Suicidal thoughts. This is typically associated with extreme forms of depression.

Can Medical Cannabis Treat Depression?

For that, we need to understand the attributes of cannabis and the functioning of the human body and brain. They are covered with cannabinoid receptors, which is an important component of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Major physiological processes like hunger, the sensation of pain, temper, and memory are regulated by the endocannabinoid system.

The Medical cannabis cam overwhelm and empower the ECS because of the active elements, namely CBD and THC. They can stimulate proteins into action and bind with cannabinoid receptors thus, making the interaction between neurons possible and more balanced. This is what is said to provide ease from various problems and changes in mood, which have been documented via clinical trials in both humans and animals and is supported by countless anecdotal testimonies.

It can also throw the entire system off balance because these are not naturally produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) from the human body. However, it can help stabilize mood and offer a sense of relaxation through its regulatory properties and with some help from the ECS.

Depression not only disrupts the balance of chemicals in the brain, but the nervous system of the body such as CB1 receptors can also be disturbed. CB1 receptors are present in the brain. Therefore it could be suggested that medical cannabis could be used to help interact with their receptors as well as to help depression.

Although these evaluations are based on superficial studies, researchers believe that medical cannabis can offer benefits such as restoration of “normal” endocannabinoid function and mood stabilization.

Is Medical Cannabis An Antidepressant?

When compared to traditional antidepressants, the active elements present in cannabis help to attack the depressive symptoms quicker. The whole of the nervous system is renewed because of an increase in growth and development of the respective nervous tissue. Studies show that cannabis oil can be effective in fighting stress and can provide permanent relief from depression too. So far no serious side effects have been reported.

However, to call medical cannabis an antidepressant would be irresponsible as no cannabis based treatment has been created and certified for official use. Before this can happen further study and clinical trials will need to be carried out to determine what dosages and concentrations of medical cannabis and CBD oil can be used to treat various mental conditions. Also from the study mentioned below we can see there are side effects from long term use which are still not fully understood and can have contraindicating side effects for potential treatments i.e. a headache tablet giving you a headache.

A study in 2002 published in the British Medcial Journal (BMJ) found that teenage girls that frequently take cannabis usually show signs of having anxiety and depression later in life. With the increase of the use of cannabis, having recreational measures put in place is a good measure to have in place.
Due to conflicting reports from both sides it is clear further study is needed to determine the exact medical benefits of cannabis on people dealing with depression.

If you are considering the use of cannabis as a treatment for depression please seek professional medical advice before doing so.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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