Can Marijuana Help With Depression And Anxiety?

Millions of people are suffering from mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Medical intervention may be necessary to battle a chemical imbalance in the brain. A study performed on rats has shown some benefit to using marijuana for depression or anxiety. CBD and THC can be potentially beneficial when combatting symptoms of mental illness.

How many people are affected by depression and anxiety?

It is currently estimated that over 40 million people over the age of 18 are suffering from anxiety. That is 18% of the population and nearly one half of the people that are diagnosed with depression suffer from anxiety as well. Only 36% of people are actually receiving treatment for these mental disorders.

Anxiety is caused by several factors including genetics, brain chemistry, and life events. Anxiety has the potential to lead to depression and vise versa. Being diagnosed with anxiety makes you three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.

Therapy and medication have been  proven treatment methods for these mental health disorders for years. However, with marijuana on the horizon of legalization in several states, patients are questioning whether marijuana could help with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.

What are cannabinoids?

It has been shown that people who suffer from mild to moderate anxiety and depression disorders can possibly benefit from the use of medical marijuana. Have you ever felt incredibly doubtful or as if the world was crashing down? Maybe you overthink things constantly and you feel incredibly anxious about things as a consequence. These symptoms of sadness, fear, and racing thoughts can be absolutely miserable and sometimes life threatening. If you are searching for some relief, cannabis might be of assistance.

Neuroscientists from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions found that endocannabinoids, chemical compounds in the brain that activate the same receptors as THC, an active compound in marijuana, may be helpful in treating depression that results from chronic stress.

During studies performed on rats, the researchers found that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, which affect our behavior, emotions and cognitive skills, and have been linked to reduced feelings of pain and anxiety, increases in appetite and the overall feeling of peace. Our body naturally produces these compounds, which are similar to the chemicals in marijuana. A reduced production of endocannabinoids may be one reason that anxiety and depression can be linked to severe stress.

What strain is best for anxiety and depression?

Typically, any low THC and high CBD compound strain of marijuana can help combat symptoms associated with these disorders. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that causes the ‘high’ while Cannabidiol (CBD)  does not have any intoxicating effects. CBD is legal in all 50 states, however if you have access to legal cannabis you should check out indica strains or strains higher in CBD than THC.

Mental health issues can be debilitating and when you can’t find the right treatment, it can make you willing to try anything to alleviate these overwhelming feelings. Most anxiety and depression medications have detrimental side effects so please discuss with your doctor what treatment option is best for you and seek professional help if you are suffering from mental illness.