What we know about cannabis and depression

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picture: Stephen Mallock (shutterstock)

Depression is one of them often mental health problemsand cannabis The most widely used federal illegal drug in the United States. People use cannabis for self-medication, including mood disorders, usually based on anecdotal evidence and sometimes research. However, it is difficult to know whether the lack of strong pharmaceutical guidelines for its use contributes to the cannabis problem or may exacerbate it.

It should be noted that as cannabis appears in the medical context, there is little information about it how can The drug works – partly because its banned history makes it difficult to study. We are at a dead end limited by strict science federal policy.

When it comes to treating depression with cannabis, this lack of solid data is detrimental to those who benefit. How much? Which cannabinoids are ideal for treatment and which aggravate the symptoms? What do recent studies tell us? (But first, If you are considering treating your depression with cannabis, it is important to consider other treatments or therapies, especially if you have severe symptoms.)

What research can tell us

Depression is not a special condition. There are several types with different symptoms; Depression can also occur in people with chronic illness. There are many factors to offer a universal treatment option. (Periodic depression is very different from mood swings in bipolar disorder, and each has its own treatment options.)

The same is true of cannabis. There are no universals when it comes to a plant with thousands of varieties and chemical variations based on its growing and processing conditions. Although these unknowns are not a matter of legality, they complicate research, and science is therefore divided into the use of cannabis for depression and a number of other medical issues.

The Leafly’s Emma Stone recently noted“To date, no clinical trials have focused on cannabis as a treatment for depression, so it is difficult to draw a definitive conclusion as to whether this plant is beneficial or harmful to people with depression.”

Indeed, Reading from 2020 found, “There is evidence that cannabis use can lead to the onset of depression; however, strong evidence suggests the opposite; in other words, it can lead to depression or an increase in the frequency of cannabis use. ”

Another analysis of several years of research Under controlled production conditions, cannabis has found promise in the idea that it can be better regulated to treat certain diseases. “Although there is currently embryonic, there is compelling evidence for cannabis in the treatment of a number of psychiatric disorders,” the analysis said. “There are supportive findings for some key insulators, but clinicians need to consider a number of prescription and occupational safety considerations, especially when initiating high-dose formulas for THC.”

In the absence of research, anecdotal evidence

Some practitioners are even more stubborn. Eileen Konietzny, author living in New York Healing with CBD: How Cannabidiol Can Change Your Health Perfectly She is a registered nurse and has a patient certificate that has been instructing her patients on cannabis treatment since 2008. t is not a cure-all, and a treatment suitable for all conditions.

According to him, people tend to understand the potential of cannabis as a treatment for mental health disorders, because many people suffer from depression, but the answers are not yet available. “Patients need to understand how medications can affect them and weigh the benefits or limitations they may face,” he said. “Having a clear answer would help each participant. Unfortunately, there is little clinical evidence that cannabis is used for depression. ”

Most of the evidence we have to rely on is anecdotal, but at least some of it has been studied. Of course quoted a Study of patient data in 2018 The Strainprint app, which allows users to monitor cannabis use by strain / variety and symptoms, states: “89.3 percent of 3,000 contact sessions with depressive symptoms reported a reduction in symptoms; Those who used low THC / high CBD strains of cannabis generally experienced a decrease in symptoms compared to those who used THC strains.

In time, these people noticed a recurrence of depression, but how often did they use cannabis. The use of this cannabis for depression may be effective in the short term, but exacerbates the underlying depression in the long term.

Before we can understand the connection between cannabis and depression, we need to understand what a drug is.effects The body’s endocannabinoid system also signals what the surrounding effect or cannabis is on this system.

People who work with cannabis as creative or practical providers have provided their own anecdotal evidence that cannabis can be used to treat depression. Jordana Wright, photographer and author Cannabis for creativityHe said he had been taking antidepressants for most of his adult life, sometimes supplementing his treatment with cannabis, and the results were varied.

“There will be times when it takes me out of an unpredictable outbreak without hurting me,” he said. “There are also times when it feels like listening to a sad song – it intensifies things in the wrong direction. It all depends on the situation, the time, the strain, the dose and your point of view. ”

Of course, no antidepressant drug – even the most widely studied drug – works the same for every patient; Some people try a few of them before finding one that is the best treatment for their mental health problems without causing too many unnecessary side effects. But Wright thinks the stigma surrounding cannabis means that most people don’t think of cannabis as a drug. “Once I got rid of stigma in my mind and in my life. I saw it as a positive tool for improving mental health, ”he said. “If you work with a psychologist or psychiatrist, be honest about your cannabis use. If you know this will help you, it’s important to have a doctor who supports or at least is open to cannabis.

In Wright’s experience, finding the right treatment was key. “I’m happy to find an antidepressant and a dose that allows me to still feel a range of emotions, but when my symptoms get worse, I prefer cannabis to something like Xanax. The pot removes the edge [my] Such are intrusive thoughts and painful emotions [I] You can be proactive in thinking about problems and finding healthy patterns and solutions.

Daniel Olivares, founder of HighlitesA platform to stigmatize cannabis use for health as well as advocating moderation and common sense, Lifehacker emailed: “Like depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia, I admit that someone’s excessive consumption can quickly become a form of self-use Got it. Damage, and this self-awareness helps me to be honest and sincere.

In the absence of reliable scientific research, people looking for cannabis to treat depression should use it alone, but Olivares believes it can be done responsibly. “I truly believe in the power of cannabinoids to help manage the symptoms of depression … deliberately and with self-awareness,” he said.

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