Many people believe that consuming marijuana is the best way to lift your mood. And as far as we can tell it appears to be true. Thousands of cannabis enthusiasts feel happy and free of everyday problems every time they get stoned. But is weed an effective remedy for depression?
Are marijuana health effects as positive as we believe them to be? Is it really worth trying?
In fact, the idea that marijuana can improve your mood and alleviate depression appeared hundreds of years ago when the plant was used in steaming baths by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. Our ancestors had it all figured out!
However, the question is not as simple as it seems to be. It cannot be easily answered with a 100 percent certainty. The connection between marijuana and depression has been studied for years, and every scientist still has their own opinion on the matter of the plant's usefulness. For more than a decade, researchers have been trying to discover all the effects of weed on our body and mind.
One of the most substantial studies on depression treatment was published in 2007 by the McGill University. The authors of this study showed that marijuana can be used as an antidepressant due to its serotonin-increasing effect. However, the effects can vary, and higher dosages of THC can lead to the opposite consequences by decreasing the level of serotonin. As we see, the study's results are as contradictory as the memories of marijuana enthusiasts about their high experience. Some people get a happy euphoric high and stay calm and relaxed, others' time is not as happy—they experience bad dreams and depressing feelings. One of the McGill's researchers, Dr. Gobbi, also highlighted the importance of choosing the right kind of cannabinoids for depression treatment. While it has been reported that the plant can contain about 60 different types of cannabinoids, not all of them may be used to treat depression.
Since 2007, many studies were conducted on the matter of depression treatment, and all of them discovered more and more bits of information on the plant's effects. Dr. Gobbi's next study that began a few years later showed that teens who consume marijuana on a daily basis are more susceptible to depression and anxiety. However, many doctors still note that it is hard to determine what goes first—the illness or weed. Is depression an effect of the frequent marijuana use? Or do people consume cannabis because they are depressed? The more studies are made, the more answers we have.
Among the most substantial studies of recent years is a 2015 study by scientists at Buffalo's University that dived deeper into the questions of stress and depression.
While doctors still debate on the usefulness of marijuana for the people with depression, other approaches to the problem are not 100 percent successful as well. Unfortunately, many popular antidepressants that are considered to be the best modern treatment still have problems with effectiveness. Besides, the consequences of using some of these drugs are not pleasant, to say the least. Many scientists believe that marijuana is safer when it come to side effects.
No matter what most average weed consumers believe, the medicine cannot be based on anecdotal evidence. To declare marijuana absolutely safe and effective, many clinical trials have to be done. Even then, nothing, including pure water, is perfectly safe in all cases. And if we want to get a marijuana-based medicine licensed, we need to go through all the required tests to obtain viable, replicable evidence of its effectiveness.
The future where marijuana is commonly used instead of antidepressants is possible and may lead to incredible improvements in healthcare.