While medical cannabis is mostly used for alleviating physical ailments, research shows that it may also potentially hold therapeutic value for a range of symptoms that can lead to mental health disorders – including depression. Read on to find out why more and more people with depression are turning to medical cannabis to treat their underlying symptoms.
Depression is a serious but treatable illness caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. It affects a significant part of the population, with the Canadian Mental Health Association noting that about 8 percent of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lives and more than 3 million youths aged 12 to 19 are at risk of developing depression. But despite the widespread prevalence of the illness, almost half (49 percent) of people who have experienced depression have never been to a doctor.
While depression can present itself in a number of different ways, it’s most closely associated with symptoms such as:
- Intense sadness
- Cognitive difficulties
- Feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Becoming preoccupied with suicide or death
Although the effects of depression are mostly mental, it can also have a big impact on your physical wellbeing. Physical symptoms might include:
- Weight fluctuations
- Digestive problems
- Aches and pains that seem to have no discernible cause
The Relationship Between Cannabis and Depression
One of the main criticisms of cannabis is that its use can increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder. While it’s true that many studies, including this one from the University of New South Wales, have found a link between cannabis and depression, whether or not the relationship is one of correlation or causation remains a topic of much debate. As it stands, it’s generally accepted that cannabis does not directly cause depression; rather, a combination of environmental, social and genetic factors mean that those with depression are naturally more inclined to be cannabis users.
While cannabis is not recommended as a treatment for depression, sometimes the issues causing depression (such as insomnia or pain, for example) can be treated with cannabis and the depression can get better as a result of this.
So, medical cannabis can improve your mood. But why exactly does this happen?
1. Medical Cannabis Fights Pain
One of the most proven applications of medical cannabis is its ability to alleviate pain. CBD-dominant strains exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties while strains rich in THC allow users to mentally transcend the pain and focus on their day to day lives. Given that depression can both directly and indirectly cause physical pain, the analgesic effects of medical cannabis will likely provide some level of relief for those living with depression.
2. Medical Cannabis Improves Sleep
Depression can also wreak havoc on sleep patterns and result in sleep disorders at either end of the spectrum. People with depression may sleep excessively or they may constantly struggle to get quality rest. Medical cannabis could be an important tool in this regard as both THC and CBD are known to promote alertness, induce drowsiness and regulate sleep behavior.
Treat Sleep Issues with Cannabis
Canabo Medical Inc. has identified a few strains of cannabis that work well for treating sleep issues. The company has recently launched an online self-referral program for individuals with sleep issues.
Each patient is unique and should be assessed by one of Canabo’s Cannabinoid Specialists to get the correct strains and amount of cannabis.
By: Jareth Trigwell