The world has just started to pay heed to mental ailments. More people are opening up about their emotional and psychological struggles, and many are willing to have a diagnosis to know what is causing them this mental discomfort.
This is extremely beneficial, as those who were suffering quietly may feel more open about getting help. Depression is very common nowadays, with an estimated 265 million people affected by it as of 2020 data.
Now you may be wondering, does consuming cannabis provide any benefit to those with depression? Does it make symptoms worse? Let’s find out.
Depression and Symptoms
Depression is a common mental health disorder that causes the death of about 8,00,000 people each year. It is a prolonged feeling of sadness or emptiness, along with feeling unworthy and hopeless. Depression-related suicides are increasing day by day. The stress of our life, hormone imbalance, genetic disposition, mental trauma, and various such factors contribute to depression.
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling exhausted and tired throughout the day
- Lack of concentration and loss of memory
- Feeling pessimistic and hopeless about everything
- Lethargy and loss of interest in everyday activities
- Loss of appetite and sudden drop in weight
- Suicidal thoughts
People suffering from depression also complain of sleeplessness. They feel restless and overthink stuff which causes disturbance to their sleep cycle. All this also has a significant toll on a person's mental and physical health.
Currently, there are diagnoses and different forms of treatment available for patients suffering from depression. There are different stages of depression, and each of these requires various levels of attention and treatment. Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) is a treatment method for individuals diagnosed with initial stages, whereas antidepressants are useful for patients with chronic depressive disorders.
Many individuals are curious about using a more natural treatment option, as they do not like the side effects of their prescription medications.
Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis
A 2014 study in Hawaii researched the benefits of medicinal cannabis, specifically its ability to reduce pain. 64% of participants found they experienced a decrease in pain while using the herb. Many of the participants also noted decreased anxiety and better sleep while using cannabis. This could be beneficial for those with depression as they could get a better night’s sleep, and being well-rested helps improve your mood.
A study being conducted at the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) is looking into depression caused by chronic stress, and whether cannabis may be the solution. Endocannabinoids are chemical compounds naturally found in the body and produced in your brain. They help regulate cognition, mood, behaviors, and motor control.
They studied animals that were experiencing chronic stress and noted that they were not producing as many endocannabinoids as they once were. Chronic stress is a common cause of depression.
Hence the name, our bodies’ endocannabinoids are very similar to those within the cannabis plant. The idea is that consuming cannabis would restore the body’s endocannabinoid functions, and bring the body's endocannabinoid numbers back to normal, helping those with depression. However, this research still needs more time as they have only studied the effects on rats thus far.
The compound cannabidiol, which is found in cannabis helps individuals to fall asleep faster and also enjoy a peaceful sleep. A study from 2008 relates the use of cannabis to sleep REM. The observations of the study were that individuals ingesting marijuana with high THC content like in strains such as death bubba helped reduce REM sleep which means that they can enjoy a night of sleep without nightmares or anxiety attacks.
Apart from these, cannabis is also effective for controlling mood swings. Bringing chemical balance to the body ensures that they do not feel extreme emotions or pain. Also, individuals with depression suffer from a lack of appetite. The munchies caused by marijuana helps improve appetite in these individuals to improve their overall health. With such amazing health benefits, cannabis-based treatments will be the future of treatments for mental ailments.
While evidence suggests cannabis may be beneficial for those with depression, there are always a few risks.
First, certain methods of consuming cannabis are more dangerous than others. Smoking cannabis is the least healthy option. This is because smoke of any type is a carcinogen, which means it could lead to cancer. Inhaling anything other than air can cause damage to your lungs as well. Fortunately, with new technology, several other methods of consuming cannabis are readily available.
Here are several other methods of consuming cannabis that will help save your lungs from dangerous smoke:
A vaporizer works by heating up the cannabis flower or concentrates on an electric heating element. Heat is then applied to the dry flower or concentrate and allows the cannabinoids to boil and evaporate without burning the plant. Cannabinoids tend to vapourize around 284F, and begin to combust at 465F. Vapourizers will apply temperatures within this range and some even allow you to customize the heat setting.
There are two main types of cannabis vapes: Dry herb and concentrate (also called a dab pen). With dry herb vapes you get to choose the cannabis strain you put in it, even homegrown weed from a Grobo could go in one of these vapes. Dab pens come with concentrate in them and are usually non-refillable. An added bonus is that vapes tend to be very discreet, with less smell and a smaller “cloud”. While vaping is better for your lungs than smoke, it is still not the best.
If you are interested in learning more about vapes, check out the product review we did on the Mighty Vape!
Dabbing is the term used for when you are smoking concentrate. While this isn't the cleanest method, it is significantly better for your lungs than regular cannabis flower. Think about it this way: concentrate is much more potent than dry flower, so you need less of it to get to where you need to be. You are only exposing yourself to the unhealthy compounds once with concentrates, whereas you may need numerous hits of dry flower to feel the same effects. Check out our video about how to make your own honey oil. This is a homemade concentrate you can dab!
Ingesting cannabis is another easy way to get the effects you’re seeking without harming your lungs. This method is best for those with very sensitive lungs, as the above two options still involve inhaling something other than clean air. To make the cannabinoids in cannabis active for consumption, it needs to be decarboxylated. Decarboxylation is a fancy term for heating up cannabis so that THCA (a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) turns into THC, the well-loved cannabinoid everyone knows. Most often the decarboxylated cannabis is then infused into an oil so that only the active compounds remain, and the plant material is disposed of.
Depending on where you live, many companies sell edibles of varieties. I have seen infused gummies, baked goods, drinks, even salad dressing. Honestly, the options are endless when it comes to edibles. Get creative, make your own edibles! We have an awesome video on how to make cannabis butter:
This method works by absorbing the cannabinoids into your mucus membrane. Products such as THC sprays and oils are quite common. Simply drop the oil droplets or spray the liquid under your tongue and wait for the effects to kick in. With legalization in many regions and the popularity of cannabis, new products are constantly hitting the market. I've seen infused gum and lollipops that also work this way. The bonus of this method is that the effects kick in faster as they don't need to be digested.
CBD and its Beneficial Effects
CBD is non- psychoactive compound found in cannabis with many beneficial effects. It has been shown to treat anxiety, depression, inflamattion, pain, and much more.
Recently individuals have began giving CBD to their pets to help reduce and negative ailments they may be experiencing.
A research study from the year 2014 links the effectiveness of CBD for treating depression. The compound established interaction with the serotonin receptors of the brain that brings balance to the emotional state of the individual and takes them to a state of euphoria. It gives them mental reassurance, strength, and positivity that helps individuals cope with the symptoms.
It is almost impossible to find individuals suffering from depression who do not complain of sleep disorders. It is among the various symptoms of the ailment and causes the body and mind to feel weak. Various studies state that cannabis can help improve the quality of sleep. A small study conducted around CBD as a sleep aid went for over a month. The study aimed to help people suffering from short-term sleep issues. The conclusion of the study indicates that CBD has relaxing and calming properties that help ease pain and anxiety.
Other Ways To Help Those With Depression
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, there are several things you can do at home to help alleviate the symptoms.
- Try to cut down on responsibilities and stressors. This will help give you time to relax and let your mind rest.
- Try journaling. This can help you figure out what you are feeling, and track your mood long-term.
- Find a mental health support group. Finding others who are experiencing the same things may have suggestions you have never heard of, and can simply be there for you in your recovery. You can check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness to learn more information about depression, and possibly find a group near you.
- Try not to isolate yourself. While it can be hard to find the energy to converse with others, having a support team is very important. Even if you are not in the best mood, your loved ones will appreciate hearing from you, and you will feel better getting some stuff off your chest.
- Find fun activities that reduce your stress. Finding a new hobby or skill can help distract you from negative thoughts, and bring joy back into your life.
We are excited to discover more information on how cannabis can benefit those with depression and other ailments. Here at Grobo, we think that cannabis has many awesome benefits, but you should always be aware of the risks and speak with your doctor if you are thinking about using medical cannabis to treat your ailments.
We want to hear your stories, how has cannabis helped you? Let us know in the comments below.