People have been using medical marijuana for depression and anxiety for decades. Self-medicating depression with marijuana is nothing new, even though previous generations of weed enthusiasts would not have used that term. The coveted effects of marijuana are the antithesis of anxiety and depression. Anxiety makes you worry and feel stressed but weed makes you feel mellow. Depression is characterized by an inability to feel pleasure and a loss of interest. Conversely, weed makes food taste delicious, music sound beautiful, and makes everyday life seem hilarious. The medical establishment is just now catching up to what anxiety and depression sufferers have known for ages. For many people, medical cannabis is helpful in managing anxiety and depression.
Does Marijuana Make Depressed People Feel Better or Worse?
Because its symptoms are subjective, it is hard to make general statements about what makes depressed people feel better. Some people swear by medical marijuana for depression, but it is difficult to find studies to back up their claims. One study found that marijuana users have higher rates of depression. Correlation does not mean causation, and the 420-averse could interpret this to mean that weed makes you more depressed. Of course, it could also mean that people turn to weed because they are already depressed and that they feel better with weed than without it.
The Stress-Busting Herb
The stereotype of the laid-back stoner is the opposite of the stereotype of the stressed-out workaholic overachiever. Therefore, can marijuana restore some calm to the minds of anxious people? Some studies on the effects of medical marijuana for anxiety and depression have been promising. One study showed that people with chronic stress, a cause of clinical depression and anxiety, have lower endocannabinoid levels. Medical cannabis could raise the cannabinoid levels of depressed and anxious people, thereby lowering their stress.
What the Law Says About Medical Marijuana for Anxiety and Depression
With some conditions, the therapeutic effects of marijuana are indisputable. For example, THC lowers intraocular pressure, therefore, it is an effective treatment for glaucoma. However, an improvement in depressive symptoms is harder to pinpoint. Thus, no states have explicitly approved marijuana for depression.
Even though there are not any that states list depression and anxiety as qualifying conditions for a medical cannabis card, people can and do legally treat depression and anxiety with cannabis. Many states contain language in their qualifying conditions laws about “other conditions” for which physicians can recommend patients for the medical cannabis program. Some states say that any debilitating illness qualifies, and anxiety and depression can certainly be debilitating. Likewise, some people starting using medical cannabis for a different condition but found that it helps their depression and anxiety, too.
If you have clinical depression or anxiety, you can get a physician’s recommendation for a medical cannabis card. The first step to relief from anxiety and depression is to get a medical evaluation.
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