Many of those suffering from depressions are discovering medical marijuana as a suitable alternative for their normal medication. Not only does marijuana have a soothing effect on the mind, there are also some recent studies that suggest there might also be a link between the endocannabinoid system and depression. This might open up the way for marijuana as an actual anti-depressant, which it is not recognized as right now. There are however plenty of people who favor cannabis over other pharmaceutical alternatives as a way to combat depression, so the signs are pointing in the right direction.
Depression is a very complex condition and never are two depressions exactly the same. Many different circumstances together form a depression and so treatment varies wildly, depending also on your personal preference. This also makes researching depression difficult and finding how using medical marijuana affects your depression is therefore hard to know. Researchers are however focusing more heavily on the effect of marijuana on depression and the results are slowly pouring in. The main focus of research is a specific set of brain chemicals called endocannabinoids. These are produced naturally by your brain, but are very similar to chemicals that you find in cannabis (hence the name).
Using these endocannabinoids your brain regulates many functions, such as motor control, cognition, emotions and behavior. It is not hard to see why using cannabis might therefore be a successful antidepressant, but how exactly this works is hard to know. Luckily there is quite a lot of research going on right now and some animal studies but also some human trials are being conducted. These studies have shown that introducing endocannabinoids through the ingestion of medical marijuana can be effective in battling depression, if that depression is caused by a suppressed production of the brain’s own production of endocannabinoids.
As is usually the case when talking about using medical marijuana the biggest challenge is not the effect of medical marijuana, but the side effects of long term usage. For use as an antidepressant this is especially important, because this would mean prolonged usage of medical marijuana. The exact effects are unknown and there are strong signs that they also vary from person to person. Some studies claim that using medical marijuana might in fact lead to depression by some patients. There are also signs that marijuana might trigger schizophrenia or psychosis, but this research is not at all conclusive. It is therefore always important to talk to your doctor when considering medical marijuana to treat your depression. He or she will be better aware of your situation and will be able to estimate if marijuana is the right solution for you. If you do decide to use medical marijuana as an antidepressant you should start out slow. The feeling you get from marijuana takes some time to get used to and you also need to use it for some time to really feel the effects.
What you are after when using marijuana as an antidepressant is not really the high you feel when ingest it, but also the long term effects. Using marijuana for a prolonged time has been known to lift up your mood and make you less prone to depressed thoughts, but always keep in mind that just using marijuana will not ‘solve’ your depression. Like any other psychological condition it requires a lot of work to get through a depression, but marijuana can help lighten the burden, especially in the case of chronic depression. Talk to your doctor to see if medical marijuana is right for you and always keep him in the loop. There are many different ways to ingest marijuana and many different strains with different effects to try, so it might take some while to find the method that best fits your needs. Together with your doctor you can find the method that works for you and hopefully battle depression successfully.