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We all know someone who is struggling whether that be ourselves or others. We need to be aware of symptoms such as pessimism, feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, sleep disorders, decreased interest in hobbies and activities such as sex, persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to therapy, suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Unfortunately suicide has been the second most common cause of death in people aged 15 to 29.
When many people hit this wall of distress, they begin self-help. When this therapy involves exercise, meditation or talking to friends, it can be very therapeutic. When this involves overuse of alcohol or drugs, it can become dangerous.
So my question is: where does cannabis fit into this picture of therapy for anxiety and depression?
We have many people using medical marijuana for anxiety/depression. There are also many who are self-medicating with recreational marijuana.
Unfortunately, the studies regarding cannabis and depression/anxiety have mixed results. The studies themselves are done with difficulty since cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S. Often the dosage of the drug is incompletely known since the drug is supplied by the patient.
Insomnia can promote depression or be caused by it. Many people use THC/CBD to help them sleep. In many cases, this works well. For others, it causes increased anxiety and sleeplessness.
It has been reported that the sleep architecture of cannabis induced sleep has a smaller REM component. This component of sleep is important for memory and mood.
Does cannabis improve or worsen depression? Some studies have shown that increasing cannabis use is related to increasing depression. But the question I would ask is this: Does the cannabis cause worsening depression or do people who become more depressed tend to use more cannabis to attempt to alleviate the symptoms?
Other studies have shown improvement in depression with cannabis use. The study from Yale showed that THC was more effective than CBD in improving some depressive symptoms, making 64 per cent of people more relaxed and peaceful, but worsened motivation in 20 per cent.
If a person is having difficulties with depression, I would recommend being evaluated by a physician who specializes in depression before initiating medical marijuana or increasing the dosage. It can be a slippery slope to move from a therapeutic dose to a dosage of abuse.
Once the decision to use medical marijuana is made, it is beneficial to enlist the help of a budtender for decisions regarding strains.
With regard to depression with oneself or others, this is another case of, “If you see something, say something.”