Marijuana and Depression: Is it Really as Bad as They Say? Marijuana and Depression is it Really as Bad as They Say
Depression (also known as Major depressive disorder) is a disorder which is characterized by the constant feeling of sadness, lack of interest, inability to enjoy things that used to be pleasurable. The studies continue to prove that marijuana is an effective drug for depression treatment. What is more, it was confirmed by multiple patients who were using the medical cannabis. But still, isn’t marijuana and depression a dangerous combination?
The Drug Policy Alliance data indicates that 42% of Americans took cannabis at least once in their lives. And being the most commonly taken drug in the USA, marijuana is considered to be illegal. According to the UN statistics, more than 150 millions of people around the world took marijuana.
Cannabis is less harmful and destructive than tobacco and alcohol. From ancient times, this plant was used as a drug and oil in medicine, for spiritual ceremonies, and for recreation and is still used in Central and South Asia. It is classified as a sedative though many report about its stimulative effects.
Medicine Institute conducted a research, which results prove that less than 10 percent of those taking the marijuana were addicted. The study also showed:
- 32 percent of addicted to tobacco
- 15 percent of addicted to alcohol
Those who speak against the decriminalization of the cannabis call the drug as “starting, initial drug”, but numerous studies have proven the falsity of this statement. The majority of people using cannabis were doing that on the irregular basis, and they say that’s the only illegal drug they’ve ever taken.
Psychoactive agents in cannabis
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the major psychoactive metabolite in the cannabis plant. It can be found in the flowers, buds and leaves. The scientists believe that the plan produces THC to protect itself from herbivorous animals. THC created a reaction with a cannabinoid receptor, which is in the central nervous system. THC functions as a psychoactive substance and a mild analgetic. Its anesthetic properties depend on its ability to change neurons in spinal cord.
The experiments also illustrated that THC can act not only as an antidepressant but also as a depressant – it all depends on the dosage. The published study of 2007 revealed that low dosages of synthetic THC form (WIN 55,212-2) caused the rise of the serotonin levels and, therefore, acted as potent antidepressants. But at the same time, huge dosage only worsened the depression. It should be noted that WIN 55,212-2 is around 20 times more potent than natural marijuana THC.
Cannabis is considered to be a drug of the Schedule 1 and is prohibited by the federal law. Though it didn’t stop some states from marijuana decriminalization, and they allowed using it in medicine. Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana.
Cannabis as a mood stabilizer
Researches have shown that around 22 percent of patients were using medical marijuana for treating depression disorders. Together with patients’ responses the researches also refer to the therapeutic ability of the endocannabinoid system.
The tests have proven that there’s a link between the lowered working ability of the endocannabinoid system and depression disorder. Other studies revealed that when that system is active, it can act in the same way as antidepressants.
Many people start taking marijuana to stabilize their mood only after trying out other treatment options. Synthetic medications, light therapy, acupuncture, and psychotherapy were always used to help people who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder.
Those meds that control the serotonin in the brain help some people who suffer from depression. Nevertheless, these medications can be extremely dangerous for bipolar people. Very high level of serotonin can trigger mania. Cannabis, on the contrary, reduces manic episodes and at the same controls depression.
Mild cannabis side effects
One of the main reasons to use cannabis as a mood stabilizer is the absence of the side effects in comparison with other medications used for treating the same symptoms. Some of the side effects of the medications are dry mouth, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia and lowered sexual desire. And though cannabis may sometimes cause dry mouth, the range of the side effects is much smaller than of other prescribed medications.
Marijuana and depression
Depression is one of the many mental disorders connected to the mood changes. Such disorders have a huge influence on the quality of life of the largest part of the population though it remains unseen. Patients who suffer from depression live shorter lives than those not prone to the illness. Besides these people are 15 percent more likely to commit suicides.
It is estimated that depression costs health care and performance penalty $47 milliard dollars. 18 millions of people suffer from depression. And it always gets whole families.
The causes of depression can be the following:
- Job loss and financial hardships
- Death of a close person
- Chronic or wasting disease
The occurrence of the depressive conditions is supposedly connected to the lowered serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters. Traditional treatments of the disorder include antidepressants (raising the neurotransmitter level) and the psychologist therapy. It is notable that antidepressant that are hugely effective in treating severe forms of depression turn out to be almost useless in treating mild forms of depression.
It is proven that cannabis helps people who suffer from mild or moderate depression, sometimes even with the behavioral and light therapies. It even helps those who couldn’t feel relieved from other methods.
As the more doctors are being acquainted with cannabis researches, its use in treating depression and bipolar disorder is going to grow for the next few years. It means that millions of people around the world will be able to get help from marijuana.
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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