Depression is a serious medical illness that involves the brain. It’s more than just a feeling of being “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. If you are one of the more than 20 million people in the United States who have depression, the feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with your everyday life. Symptoms can include
Depression is a disorder of the brain. There are a variety of causes, including genetic, environmental, psychological, and biochemical factors. Depression usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30, and is much more common in women. Women can also get postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter. Depression is one part of bipolar disorder.
There are effective treatments for depression, including antidepressants and talk therapy. Most people do best by using both.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
“Consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be an effective treatment for depression and other mood disorders, there appears to be a sharp decrease in the suicide rate of 15- through 19-year olds males in the treatment states as compared to the control states approximately two years after legalization…
Our results suggest that the legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a 5 percent decrease in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent decrease in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent decrease in the suicide rate of 30- through 39 year-old-males. Estimates for female suicide rates are generally measured with less precision and are sensitive to functional form…
The strong association between alcohol consumption and suicide related outcomes found by previous researchers… raises the possibility that medical marijuana laws reduce the risk of suicide by decreasing alcohol consumption.”
“Those who consume marijuana occasionally or even daily have lower levels of depressive symptoms than those who have never tried marijuana. Specifically, weekly users had less depressed mood, more positive affect, and fewer somatic complaints than non-users. Daily users reported less depressed mood and more positive affect than non-users… Our results add to the growing body of literature on depression and marijuana and are generally consistent with a number of studies that have failed to confirm a relationship between the two after controlling for relevant variables…
The potential for medical conditions to contribute to spurious links between marijuana and greater depression requires further investigation.”
Apr. 2006 – Thomas F. Denson, PhD
“People who have never struggled with a life threatening or disabling illness often do not comprehend how debilitating the resulting depression can be. Long days spent struggling with sickness can wear patients down, suppress their appetites and slowly destroy their wills to live. This psychological damage can result in physiological effects that may be the difference between living and dying.
The elevated mood associated with cannabis definitely affected my health in a positive manner. I was more engaged with life. I took walks and rode my bike, things I never considered doing before in my depressed state, even if I had been physically capable. I ate regular meals and I slept better at night. All of these individual factors contributed to a better overall sense of well-being.”
2003 – George McMahon
“The power of cannabis to fight depression is perhaps its most important property.”
1997 – Tod Mikuriya, MD
“With appropriate use of medical cannabis, many of these [cannabis-using] patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of opiates and other pain pills, ritalin, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, anti-depressants and other psychiatric medicines, as well as to substitute the use of medical cannabis as a harm reduction measure for specific problematic or abused substances with a much more serious risk profile (including alcohol, heroin/opiates, and cocaine).”
June 11, 2012 – Frank Lucido, MD
“Numerous patients report significant improvement and stabilization with their bipolar disorder when they utilize adjunctive therapy with medical cannabis. While some mental health professionals worry about the impact of cannabis on aggravating manic states, most bipolar patients trying cannabis find they ‘cycle’ less often and find significant improvement in overall mood. Bipolar disorders vary tremendously in the time spent in the depressive versus manic states. Those who experience extended depressive episodes are more likely to be helped with cannabis.
Patients who use cannabis to ‘relax’ may be treating the anxiousness sometimes associated with depression. Cannabis aids the insomnia sometimes present in depression and can improve appetite. Better pain control with cannabis can reduce chronic pain related depression. While cannabis cannot yet be considered a primary treatment of major depression it may improve mood when used under physicians supervision and in combination with therapy and/or SSRI’s.”
2003 – Jay Cavanaugh, PhD
“Some patients have found the mood altering effects of marijuana to be helpful for treating mood disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar (manic-depressive) illness. Using marijuana to treat mood disorders was described in medical writings in the 19th and early 20th centuries…
The mental component of the pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) often causes psychological problems and is now technically classified as an atypical (not typical) depression. Many women report benefit from using marijuana to improve the symptoms of PMS.”
1998 – Bill Zimmerman, PhD