Lido Wellness Center Blog
Marijuana for Depression: What Are the Effects?February 16, 2023
With marijuana becoming popular and even legal in many states, its use has become widespread. Along with this is quite a bit of information and misinformation about the benefits of the drug. Some of these are creeping into the mental health world.
There seems to be a bit of an “all-or-nothing” approach to the acceptance of marijuana in the new paradigm. Either it is the answer to just about all the problems in the human body, or it is still the poison that leads to drug addiction.
But we want to go over the use of marijuana for depression.
Because, while marijuana use has been associated with various mental health benefits, there is also a risk for developing certain psychiatric disorders with regular use. Let’s explore some of the short-term and long-term effects of marijuana on depression.
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Short-Term Effects: Using Marijuana for Depression
The short-term effects of marijuana use can vary depending on the individual. Some people may experience an immediate change in mood, feeling more relaxed and less stressed. There’s some evidence that people experience better sleep and temporary relief from anxiety.
One of the ways that marijuana may provide short-term relief for depression is by interacting with the brain’s endocannabinoid system. This is where we regulate our mood, appetite, and sleep. When THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, it can lead to an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels. Ostensibly this relieves the depressive symptoms.
Others may feel an increase in anxiety and paranoia. For some people, these effects are only temporary and will go away once the marijuana wears off. For others, the effects may last for a more extended period of time.
Long-Term Effects: Marijuana for Depression
Cannabis use disorder is a potential long-term effect of regular marijuana use. Marijuana addiction. This disorder is characterized by impaired control over marijuana use, continued use despite negative consequences, and craving for cannabis. It can
Cannabis use disorder can lead to other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Chronic marijuana use may worsen symptoms of depression. Chronic marijuana use may also impact brain development and cognitive function.
There is evidence that chronic marijuana use can lead to changes in the brain similar to those seen in people with schizophrenia. These changes can include problems with memory, attention, and decision-making. Chronic marijuana use may also increase the risk of developing psychosis.
Negative Effects: Marijuana for Depression
While some people may feel like it is the answer to mental and physical health, the reality is that there is good reason to reconsider if you are trying to medicate your depression with marijuana or weed. Here are some of the potential adverse effects of weed on depression.
- Worsened depression symptoms: While some people may experience short-term relief from depression symptoms when using marijuana, chronic use can actually worsen depression symptoms over time. This is because regular marijuana use can lead to changes in the brain that contribute to depression, including a decrease in serotonin levels.
- Increased risk of developing depression: Studies have shown that individuals who use marijuana regularly are at an increased risk of developing depression, particularly if they start using marijuana during adolescence. This is likely due to the negative impact that marijuana can have on brain development during this critical period.
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors: Some studies have found a link between marijuana use and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. This is particularly concerning for individuals who are already struggling with depression, as suicidal thoughts and behaviors are a common symptom of the condition.
- Impaired cognitive function: Chronic marijuana use can lead to impairment in cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making abilities. This can make it more difficult for individuals with depression to manage their symptoms and engage in daily activities.
- Dependence and withdrawal: Regular use of marijuana can lead to dependence, and individuals who try to quit may experience withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can exacerbate depression and make it more difficult to manage.
Evidence Based Treatment for Depression
If you are struggling with depression, many treatment options are available.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. It combines a cognitive and behavioral approach to help people understand, identify, and change their negative thought patterns.
Antidepressant medication can also be an effective treatment for depression. Exercise, nutrition, and self-care are essential components of a well-rounded approach to treating depression.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression. TMS involves the use of a magnetic coil that is placed on the scalp, which generates a magnetic field that can stimulate the brain’s nerve cells.
TMS is typically used as a treatment option for individuals with depression who have not responded to traditional treatments, such as antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. The therapy is generally well-tolerated, with few side effects, and does not require anesthesia or sedation.
Why Risk Using Marijuana for Depression?
Marijuana use is associated with a variety of short-term and long-term effects on mental health. Some people may find that marijuana relieves their symptoms of depression, while others may find that it worsens their symptoms.
But there is no need to experiment or test. There are many documented approaches to managing depression—ones that do not come with the same risks as marijuana use.
If you are considering using marijuana to treat your depression, it is important to speak with a mental health professional first. If you want to know more about treatment for depression, please call us today. Our team is ready to answer your questions and offer you options for a plan that makes sense to you.