Depression, the most common mental health disorder, can affect people from all walks of life, regardless of age, education, or socioeconomic background. Depression is the number one cause of disability in the U.S., with over 16 million adults experiencing at least one major episode a year. While there's still a stigma surrounding mental health issues, anyone can develop major depressive disorder, and it's not always preventable.
What is Depression?
Depression is more than just occasionally being upset, unmotivated, or feelings of sadness. These feelings are normal for everyone, but for people with major depressive disorder, these symptoms and feelings persist for periods of two weeks or longer. These prolonged feelings cause a loss of interest in daily activities, affecting regular school, work, and social activities, and can lead to serious health issues.
Depression is a complex mental disorder that can be brought on by a variety of biological and environmental factors. Major depression can be caused by genetics, or triggered by a severe illness, certain medications, or substance abuse. Traumatic past events such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or sadness and grief from the death or loss of a loved one, may increase the risk of depression. Even events that are usually considered positive like moving, a new job, graduating, marriage, or retirement can trigger episodes of depression.
How Does Medical Cannabis Help Alleviate Depression
From the beginning of civilization thousands of years ago, until as recently as the early 1900s, cannabis was routinely used to treat depression. In the 1990s, researchers discovered that the human body naturally produces cannabis-like molecules called cannabinoids, and began to understand how cannabis affects the human body.
Cannabinoids work with the body's endocannabinoid system to regulate nearly every system in the body, and many researchers now believe that a misalignment in the endocannabinoid system causes depression.
Scientists have found that certain factors can disrupt the endocannabinoid system, reducing the mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, and triggering depression. The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant have been shown to stimulate the endocannabinoid system, supplementing the body's natural cannabinoids.
Researchers now believe that the cannabinoids found in cannabis can help the endocannabinoid system re-align, offering an effective treatment for depression. Endocannabinoids are associated with feelings of overall well-being, and cannabis can have a powerful effect on neurotransmissions, restoring normal endocannabinoid function and helping to control depression.
Medical marijuana works faster than traditional pharmaceutical medications often used to treat depression with no adverse side effects. This natural remedy works with the endocannabinoid system to restore balance in the body and provides patients with peace of mind. Research demonstrates that cannabis reduces stress and anxiety by enhancing mood, provides energy and focus, stimulates appetite, and helps with insomnia.
Cannabis contains over 100 different cannabinoid compounds. The most studied compounds in the plant are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Studies have shown that THC, CBD, and the other cannabinoids each play a role in stimulating and restoring balance to the endocannabinoid system. THC and CBD have both been shown to have therapeutic benefits, but when the full range of cannabinoids are present, these benefits are amplified. Known as the Entourage Effect, this interaction is the result of the many chemical compounds in the plant and produces a stronger impact than any one of those components alone.
Further research is needed, but we know that stress is a leading cause of depression, and the use of cannabis appears to alleviate stress and stabilize moods. The chemical compounds found in cannabis help to regulate the endocannabinoid system naturally, and show tremendous promise for the treatment of depression.
Medical Marijuana is an effective treatment for a variety of ailments, including depression. Marijuana Doctor Now is committed to helping patients struggling with mental and physical disorders. Marijuana Doctor Now allows patients to heal holistically by utilizing the therapeutic qualities of medical marijuana. To learn more about treating depression with cannabis or additional adjunct therapies, contact us today to schedule a medical cannabis evaluation.