Why Cannabis is a Great Option for Treating Anxiety, Stress and Depression
An increasingly viable management tool for depression, stress, and anxiety is medical marijuana! Nearly half of the respondents in a 2017 survey said that they believed medical marijuana could benefit their symptoms related to these common conditions. More people are turning to this natural solution and getting medical marijuana cards to take advantage of this viable management tool for better mental health.
In today’s world, it is not uncommon to experience regular symptoms of mental strain. Depression alone may affect as many as 350 million people around the world. Finding a way to overcome these frustrating conditions can feel complex. Some turn to traditional pharmaceuticals, others to alcohol, but these alternatives can sometimes make the situation worse.
Medical Marijuana and Mental Health
Increasingly, studies are demonstrating that medical marijuana can have a positive effect on those with mental health conditions.
A study conducted at the University of Buffalo showed that ingesting cannabis could increase the levels of endocannabinoids in the brain. Those with lower levels of endocannabinoids are usually more likely to develop symptoms of depression.
What are endocannabinoids? They are similar to cannabinoids found in THC; however, they are 'endogenous' to your body, or made by your body. Endcannibanoids in the body comprise a large and complex cell-signaling system in the body that regulates a range of functions, including sleep, mood, and memory.
Things are just as optimistic when it comes to how medical marijuana affects those under stress. A study run at the University of Illinois found that low-dose THC had a positive effect on individuals with anxiety. Participants who had received a capsule containing 7.5 milligrams of THC were less anxious after a psychosocial test. What's more, their stress levels went back to normal faster than the levels of participants in the placebo group.
Finally, a study conducted at the University of Washington found that THC in lower doses ameliorates anxiety, while CBD at all doses benefited those with anxiety and reduced their symptoms.
Additional Benefits of Cannabis
Beyond its ability to alleviate core symptoms, medical marijuana comes with a range of other benefits. For one, it is a natural form of intervention. Pharmaceuticals and alcohol, on the other hand, are either not or are much more destructive to the body.
Those with medical conditions that are co-morbid with depression, stress, or anxiety may also benefit from medical marijuana. Those with chronic pain, for example, often experience stress and depression as a result of their condition. Medical marijuana can not only help with the mental stress of the situation but also help alleviate the pain itself.
The Alternatives to Medical Marijuana
What are the alternatives? As stated above, many often turn to pharmaceuticals or alcohol. In the case of pharmaceuticals, patients can experience unwanted side effects, whereas alcohol only compounds the problems associated with these conditions.
While psychiatry has made many inroads in the treatment of mental conditions such as depression and anxiety, psychiatry’s use of pharmaceuticals as an intervention is not always the best answer for every patient. Some patients experience serious side effects from these medicines and may even experience increased episodes of depression and suicidal ideation, in some cases. Other patients may have depression that is “treatment resistant,” meaning that traditional pharmaceuticals do little to improve their symptoms. While pharmaceuticals can help some, they are not always the easiest answer.
Self-medication for anxiety through other means doesn’t end up as beneficial. For many, alcohol use serves as a stopgap in treating anxiety. While it may momentarily alleviate anxiety for a few hours, studies show that alcohol and anxiety are not a good mix. In fact, individuals who use alcohol to alleviate stress and anxiety may end up more depressed and more anxious than they were to begin with. While alcohol may make you feel giddy or happy at first, it is actually a depressant. It alters the brain’s delicate balance of chemicals over time and can trigger more stress, anxiety and depression.
Those who self-medicate with alcohol also end up having to consume more, leading to serious health problems, disordered sleep, and more. When people try to stop, the withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of alcohol can lead to— you guessed it— more stress, anxiety and depression.
Medical Marijuana: The Better Option for Managing Anxiety, Stress, and Depression
As with the treatment of any mental health condition, individuals experiencing depression, stress or anxiety should work in close consultation with a medical professional. A medical professional can help you weigh all of your options and aid you in developing a treatment plan.
If you decide that cannabis is your best option, working with a medical professional to access high-quality medical marijuana can provide the best results. Medical marijuana is high grade and also available at optimal doses that will help with stress and anxiety but not compound them.
Whatever approach you decide to take, consulting with one of our medical professionals can give you the information you need to make the best choice for yourself and your needs. To learn how you can get your own medical marijuana card and alleviate your depression, stress, or anxiety, schedule an appointment to talk to a cannabis healthcare expert today.