The natural chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant show very promising results when it comes to this ailment. Because depression affects such a staggering amount of people worldwide, it’s quite important to understand how cannabis functions in battling its mechanisms.
Although it cannot be understood as a life-threatening disorder at first, depression can easily spiral out of control when left untreated, and what’s worst about it is that it lowers the everyday quality of life for its sufferers. Before we go into depth on how can cannabis be beneficial for depression, we should say a few words about this disorder and its main characteristics.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes several interconnected effects, such as low energy, lethargy, trouble with sleeping, difficulties with concentrating, lack of general motivation, sadness and being easily irritable. Not all sufferers experience all of these symptoms at once, but it’s not rare that all these negative effects plague the person who suffers from depression.
Feelings are self-hate and disappointment are also quite common, and it’s not unusual that the sufferers completely lose interest in the activities that they loved and enjoyed before the depression started. Physical pain and anxiety attacks also frequently accompany depression.
Most likely because it usually starts off very naive, a lot of people still don’t comprehend that depression as a serious ailment, but if it’s left untreated it can literally destroy the sufferers quality of life and increases the risk of suicide and other forms of self-punishment tenfold.
While psychotherapy and other forms of counseling usually offer great results, many people are reluctant to go down that path because of the (really unfair) social stigma that is still unfortunately attached to it.
But unlike these means, the prescription pharmaceuticals used for depression (even though they cause some relief), create some adverse and very detrimental health and mental issues along the way, and because of this cannot be perceived as adequate and beneficial treatment methods.
Cannabis and Depression
Before it was unrightfully prohibited in the United States in 1937 (the rest of the world was soon to follow) and labeled as a hard narcotic without any medicinal potential, cannabis was used by humanity for health-related purposes at least for a couple of thousands of years.
Not to get into this subject too much, but it’s not hard to understand why pot was banned when you take just a moment to think about it, and some scientists are now claiming that the cannabis plant holds the biggest health impact from all of the plants found on planet Earth.
That doesn’t really come as a surprise when we take into consideration the number of completely different ailments cannabis is beneficial for. As for depression, there are two (2) important factors we should consider:
- The first is the psychoactive “high” for which the THC cannabinoid is responsible, causing elevated mood, euphoria and giggling attacks in moderate amounts. In exceed, doses THC can have an adverse effect, such as elevated levels of anxiety and mental tension. So it’s very important to properly dose your cannabis treatment.
- On the other side of the equation, there’s the second most prominent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant called CBD (who’s completely non-psychotropic), which shows very promising results when it comes to depression. This study performed in Britain concluded that isolated CBD could be compared to the drug Imipramine, which is a tricyclic antidepressant used for treating major depression.
Of course, as most serious prescription drugs, Imipramine causes several tedious side effects, unlike CBD, which holds no adverse sensations all together, and because of the lack of psychoactivity, cannot induce euphoria and other drastic unwanted changes.
Either stains of cannabis that are bred to have high levels of cannabidiol (in short CBD) or CBD oil extracted from cannabis flowers (or even male cannabis plants, which are called hemp), can be used for alleviating depression symptoms.
Some people are concerned can cannabis be responsible for causing depression. This data analysis study from 2012 disproves this theory, as it follows 6,900 participants from adolescence through adulthood (and some of them were smoking pot). After analyzing all the data, the researchers couldn’t find any connection between the heightened risk of depression and consuming cannabis.
What’s also quite important for cannabis and depression is that weed increases the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter responsible for inducing changes in our mood (only for the better), and it also plays a part in regulating appetite and sleep.
Just as pot, the vast majority of antidepressants act as artificial boosters for serotonin release within our brain, but unlike these drugs, cannabis achieves this effect 100% naturally.
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