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Will Weed Help My Depression?

Posted by Maggie Tamo on

Marijuana and Depression a POV

Marijuana and depression go hand-in-hand more than you may expect, but while there’s no evidence that marijuana directly causes depression, there’s even less evidence that it will successfully treat the symptoms, either. That’s not to say that it does not help some people, but that more study and research must be done on the subject of whether marijuana helps depression.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is a common mental disorder experienced by more than 300 million people of all ages worldwide. And they acknowledge that there are effective treatments for depression. But what are those treatments, and will marijuana help?

There is no definitive answer to that yet, but we can look for clues from the authorities. Take, for instance, the list of medications that the Mayo Clinic provides as proven treatments for depression:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants (medications don’t fit into any other antidepressant categories)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Other medications (medications added to an antidepressant to enhance antidepressant effects)

Cannabis is not on that list.

In Canada, however, depression is on the list of medical conditions that may benefit from medical marijuana under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Scientific studies done on cannabis and major depression all seem to disagree.

Additionally, the studies are done mostly on animal subjects to see if the compounds that affect cannabinoid receptors in the brain are a viable treatment of depression. None so far suggest that regular marijuana use is linked with less depression.

Are you still interested in using weed to combat symptoms of depression? Start with strains labeled “sativa,” which tend to have lighter, more active effects. Those results may help with the energy drain of depression. Look for strains with limonene in their terpene profile; it has a sweet citrus smell and is ideal for mood elevation. Pine-scented strains are rich in pinene, which helps with focus and concentration.

If you want to try weed for your depression but worry about making your depression worse, try a strain that is high in Cannabidiol (CBD) and low in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD helps moderate the anxiety-inducing effects of THC that could otherwise make depression feel worse.

Another option is a product with a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. Experiencing a heightened mood and mental clarity can help with clearing the fog of depression and allow you to regain enthusiasm for life. That could mean engaging more at work, recovering personal relationships or spending more time doing fulfilling activities.