How Marijuana Can Stave Off Depression
Depression is all too common, but there are natural ways to resolve some of the major symptoms. Simple lifestyle changes, like improving your diet and exercising regularly, can gradually help you reduce those symptoms, and certain supplements, like fish oil or folic acid, may be able to help as well. But there’s one promising candidate that’s still struggling to get recognition: marijuana.
How Marijuana can Help Treat Depression
Due to the varying legal status of marijuana by location, studies relating to the effects of marijuana on depression are still in the early stages. It’s hypothesized that one of the hallmark effects of depression is a low count of endocannabinoids, chemical compounds that can induce euphoria and may play a role in mood stabilization. Marijuana use would feasibly restore levels of cannabinoids in the brain. Studies have so far focused on the effects of marijuana on the brains of animals, but the future applications for humans are promising.
There is substantial evidence that marijuana could aid in a number of matters that tend to be correlated with depression. For example:
- Pain relief. There’s strong evidence to suggest that marijuana is useful in pain management, especially if that pain is chronic. Since many pain sufferers also tend to experience depression, marijuana’s relief of pain symptoms may lead to an overall increase in quality of life, thereby reducing depression symptoms.
- Anxiety relief. Many people who smoke or consume marijuana also report reduced feelings of anxiety. Though not mutually exclusive, anxiety and depression have a high rate of comorbidity. Relieving the symptoms of one may not necessarily relieve the symptoms of the other, but providing some measure of anxiety relief could be a quality of life increase for people suffering from depression.
- Specific applications. Marijuana has also been used for specific applications related to other health ailments, to great effect. For example, the drug is shown to significantly reduce spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. It’s also useful in treating patients who experience nausea and other negative side effects from chemotherapy. These applications don’t directly treat depression, but they can reduce symptoms of depression in people who are also experiencing these ailments.
Different Types of Marijuana
It’s important to recognize that different strains of marijuana may have different effects on people who suffer from depression. Online sources like Bud Buddy offer different strains of marijuana in each of several distinct categories:
- Sativas. Sativas are typically better for daytime use. They can produce feelings of euphoria and improve your alertness. Sativa users also report feeling more creative and sociable, making it useful for improving engagements and finding more fulfillment in everyday life. People whose depression manifests as a feeling of lethargy, or loss of interest in hobbies and socialization, may benefit from the use of sativas.
- Indicas. Indicas, by contrast, tend to be better for nighttime use. They produce feelings of relaxation, and a kind of mellow that makes people feel more carefree. People whose depression manifests as chronic anxiety or an inability to sleep may benefit more from indicas.
- Hybrids. Hybrid strains attempt to combine the advantages of both types of marijuana. They offer a balance of relaxation and euphoria, stimulating creativity while also providing a sense of calm.
Before attempting to use marijuana to treat your depression symptoms, there are a number of important caveats to bear in mind:
- Legality. This one should be obvious, but bear in mind that marijuana isn’t legal in all areas, and in some areas, it may only be legal under certain conditions. Make sure you fully understand the correct ways to acquire and use marijuana in your area (if it’s legal in the first place).
- Supportive evidence. Right now, the evidence for marijuana as a means of relieving depression symptoms is promising, but it’s far from conclusive. There’s still a lot we don’t understand about how marijuana affects the body, as well as how depression works in the first place.
- Strains and individual differences. You should also understand the many different varieties of marijuana that exist; while broad categories like sativas and indicas can help you understand the basics of how individual strains work, each strain has the potential to be wholly unique. On top of that, different individuals have different tolerances for marijuana. Accordingly, what works for one person may not work for another, and a strain that provides depression relief for one individual may actively worsen the symptoms of another person. Experiment with small doses before scaling up.
It remains to be seen whether marijuana can truly treat depression in a consistent and effective way, but the initial evidence is promising. There’s still much to explore in this branch of science and medicine, so hopefully, we’ll learn more in the near future.