Using weed for depression seems to be all the rage these days. But can cannabinoids really mitigate the symptoms of such a serious mental health condition? Sadly, there’s still not enough evidence to sustain their antidepressant properties.
Even as several states continue to legalize weed, limitations regarding cannabis research prevail. There’s still plenty to learn about using weed to treat depression, but here’s what we do know by now.
How Does Weed Interact With Your Brain?
Cannabinoids, the main chemical compounds found on weed, are also naturally present in the human body. Your endocannabinoid system, which regulates some of your primary bodily functions, holds two types of G-protein-coupled receptors that activate with cannabinoid compounds:
- CB1 is predominant in the central nervous system.
- CB2 appears mainly in the immune, digestive, and peripheral nervous systems.
Molecules in phytocannabinoid compounds like CBD and THC can also bind to CB1 receptors. This combination influences synaptic signaling, and therefore, the release of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. Specialists link fluctuations in these neurotransmitters with chronic depression and other mental health disorders.
Weed vs. Depression Symptoms
In places where weed usage is now legal, patients have found it to be an excellent alternative to treat mild to severe depression symptoms. Thousands of users claim that consuming weed to support their mental health has significantly improved their quality of life.
Weed has a solid reputation for increasing hunger, promoting creativity, and providing an enhanced sense of introspection among its users. As a result, it can motivate depression patients to stay more engaged in their everyday activities. However, the industry’s lack of scientific backup has left weed consumers to decide empirically on dosage and other factors. That’s a problem, considering that not all strains affect the brain in the same way.
Different Levels of Depression Require Different Cannabis Strain Types
People experience depression in numerous ways. That’s why their treatment must adapt to their particular symptoms and concerns — and even their lifestyle. Patients and their medical providers must always discuss what they want to achieve before making a decision. Strains from each main cannabis category will yield different results:
- Indica strains might help patients with little to no interest in their everyday activities regain motivation.
- Sativa strains can help patients who have trouble sleeping or relaxing.
Hybrid varieties blend the best of both worlds, but their characteristics depend on their dominant strain type. Your body will respond differently to all cannabinoid compound combinations. That’s what experts know as the “entourage effect.”
Weed consumers tend to mix cannabinoid strains with several terpenes — which are herbal aromatic compounds — to achieve their desired effects. Studying these blends is essential to learn how to use weed as an antidepressant.
So, Can Weed Cure Depression?
The answer to this question is merely anecdotal. Some people say weed’s a miracle worker, while others have had negative experiences. Responsible consumption is key to achieving the desired outcomes when using weed as a treatment for depression. It also decreases potential adverse effects.
When relying on weed to combat depression, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind. Cannabis can only help soothe your symptoms, but it won’t eliminate the root cause. Still, it can be a potent coping tool to help you get through the healing process. Be mindful of the strain you’re using and monitor your dosage for better results.