Can marijuana help against depression? The topic of correlating medical marijuana and depression is a controversial one. On the one hand, some warn that depression is among the long-term adverse effects of marijuana use, but on the other hand, are the preliminary researches that suggest marijuana can help stabilize mood by restoring a person’s endocannabinoid system.
The topic of marijuana and depression, therefore, is like the famous chicken-and-egg problem, which came first? Here’s a look at what researchers are saying on the effectiveness of MMJ in treating depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a feeling of extreme sadness that you cannot seem to shake. In most cases, depression is identified by withdrawal behavior, i.e., a lack of interest in the activities one once enjoyed.
If you have been feeling a deep sense of sadness lately, you are not alone. Depression is a common mood disorder. According to the World Health Organization, about 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
And while there are therapies and oral medications to help with the disorder, folks with no access to these treatments and are instead turning to recreational marijuana usage to boost their moods.
Can Medical Marijuana Help with Depression?
As of right now, it is still early to make any bold claims about medical marijuana effectiveness against depression. Sure, marijuana enthusiasts are eager to see depression listed among the qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card, but this won’t happen anytime soon because MMJ has only been legalized recently, and most research works are still in the preliminary stages.
Nonetheless, some researchers suggest promising results. For example, an early 2015 study by scientists at the University of Buffalo indicates that a lot of the active compounds in marijuana activate the same receptors as the brain’s endocannabinoid system that is responsible for feelings of general well-being.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system of CB1 and CB2 receptors and their respective neuromodulators that work to regulate activities such as thinking, appetite, walking and perception.
The body’s neuromodulators include anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide has been revealed to induce blissful feelings and insensitivity to pain by bounding on CB1 receptors and stimulating the release of dopamine – a happiness hormone.
Endocannabinoid production is low when stressed.
The Buffalo Institute laboratory tests on rats found that under chronic stress, fewer amounts of endocannabinoids were produced compared to normal conditions.
But marijuana compounds such as THC and CBD were revealed to restore the endocannabinoid system to ‘normal’ function. The research found that in the body, THC works just like anandamide. By binding onto the CB1 receptors, it stimulates the release of dopamine, leading to sensations of euphoria, loss of balance, and increased appetite.
Since the loss of appetite, feelings of sadness, and withdrawal are among the symptoms of depression, Buffalo University’s research institute, therefore, concluded that marijuana might help treat depression.
Keep in mind, however, that this research was only done on rats and not humans. But even so, marijuana may help treat various symptoms of depressions.
Symptoms of Depression may be Helped with Medical Marijuana
Among the many side effects of depression is a ‘broken’ sleep cycle. People with depression either wake up early, experience restless nights or sleep excessively.
MMJ may help with the first two. CBD pills containing relaxing terpenes can be used to induce fusion of physical and cerebral relaxation, so you get quality sleep.
2. Boosting appetite
Feeling sad to the point you don’t feel like eating? Some MMJ can stimulate your appetite. Marijuana has been known to boost the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and soothing stomach pains, thereby making eating feel pleasurable again.
Cannacaps, infused with uplifting terpenes, induce soothing cerebral effects. CBD also increases vasodilation, so heat dissipates from the body leading to relaxation. Another benefit of MMJ is the boost in serotonin and dopamine levels, making it a natural remedy against sadness and mood swings.
Alrightie loves; Marijuana has potential benefits against depression. Keep in mind, however, that MMJ should only be used in moderation following a doctor’s guidance. MMJ abuse is not without consequences.
Adverse Effects of Medical Marijuana Use against Depression
Although marijuana has potential medical benefits against depression, there are fears that the therapeutic benefits of marijuana are only short term and that long-term marijuana can cause the same mental disorder.
Studies have linked long-term marijuana usage with depression and suicidal thoughts. “A motivational syndrome”, for example, is a condition where chronic marijuana users become socially withdrawn, dispirited, and perform at lower levels than they would usually perform before marijuana usage.
In conclusion, like the famous egg-chicken conundrum, the debate of marijuana and depression rages on, before popping any MMJ products; therefore, consider the medical evidence for the same. Always ask your doctor for advice first. You can access further MMJ information online at mmjdoctors.com.