Research Shows Promise for Cannabis as an Antidepressant: Our Take
For decades, we were told that marijuana is harmful, even a gateway drug. Cannabis opposition often claimed that using the drug would incite violence, lead to crime, and that it was linked to increases in depression (this last point has since been rejected by scientific research) or even insanity (think “Reefer Madness”). As Cannabis popularity grows, these falsehoods are slowly disappearing, backed by further research. A recent study out of the University of New Mexico’s Marijuana Research Fund has found a crucial link between cannabis consumption and depression, suggesting that not only is this false, but that instead, it leads to a decrease in depression related symptoms.
The study, titled “The Effectiveness of Cannabis Flower for Immediate Relief from Symptoms of Depression,” states that depression is “among the most pressing epidemics faced by Western societies and future generations worldwide” add into the mix, the global climate with COVID-19. Currently, most of the recommended treatment options include cognitive therapy and prescription medicine. Many patients also take treatment into their own hands, using alcohol and illegal drugs in an attempt to mitigate symptoms.
According to this study, cannabis could offer another needed treatment option. Almost 96% of participants felt a decrease in their depressive symptoms after consuming cannabis flower products, with “the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experiencing antidepressant effects.”
Surprisingly, it was not CBD that had the largest impact on participants. Instead, THC levels were the greatest antidepressant indicator of the tested cannabinoids. While negative side effects were recorded, such as a decrease in motivation in 20% of the study group, 64% reported feeling happy, optimistic, peaceful, or relaxed.
I believe additional and continued research is needed to determine whether using cannabis is, in fact, an effective treatment or just a temporary mood booster, but the results are promising, especially during a time when approximately 17.3 million Americans report symptoms of depression each year.
While medical marijuana is currently legal in 33 states, it is not usually approved to treat depression. Results from this study, and others like it, might help to change that, allowing cannabis health professionals, including doctors, entrepreneurs and technicians, to recommend cannabis and promote products as viable treatment options in states where medical marijuana is legal.