We often hear about the benefits of cannabis — how the plant can help with pain, inflammation, cancer, glaucoma, and other physical ailments. Many are aware that cannabis can help you relax and fall asleep more easily. What some might not realize is that it may also help in alleviating symptoms of depression. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis and depression.
What Is Depression?
Depression affects more than 264 million people worldwide. Moderate to severe depression of the long-lasting kind can severely affect your work, home, and social life. At worst, it can lead to suicide. It’s a complex mood disorder that has many forms — including seasonal affective disorder, manic depression, and major depression.
A variety of reasons cause depression to occur, including:
- Extreme stress and anxiety
- Severe illness
- Major life changes
Symptoms manifest in many ways and depression can affect people differently. You may experience effects such as:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Low self-worth
- Irritability or a short temper
- Suicidal thoughts or ideations
What Are Some Conventional Depression Treatments?
A combination of mental, physical, and social factors can contribute to depression. There isn’t a straightforward treatment that can cure it — but lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, and medication may help.
In particular, psychotherapy can help to provide you with the coping mechanisms you need to manage your symptoms and cope with adversity. Medications can be effective but they sometimes come with harsh side effects such as dizziness, disorientation, and more.
How Can You Treat Depression With Cannabis?
While many people associate cannabis with worsening depression symptoms, some experts are finding that it may actually help to alleviate them. What cannabis and depression studies are revealing is that small amounts of THC are most effective. Small doses can ease symptoms. Larger doses of THC, on the other hand, can aggravate your depression.
One of the biggest benefits of using cannabis for depression is that the plant doesn’t have the same side effects as conventional medications. You can also use it in conjunction with lifestyle changes and talk therapy to help make your symptoms more manageable.
What Are the Best Cannabis Strains for Depression?
There are hundreds of strains of cannabis out there, and some are better than others for managing certain symptoms. Here are a few of the best strains to help ease depression:
- Jack Herer, an uplifting strain that can boost creativity and happiness
- Harlequin, a balanced 1:1 strain that delivers relief while helping you to keep a clear head
- Cannatonic, another balanced strain that delivers bliss without the anxiety often associated with THC-dominant varieties
- Blackberry Kush, a strain that can help you to fall asleep when your depressive thoughts keep you up at night
Small doses of THC may allow you to naturally and effectively manage your depression symptoms. If you choose to use it, the key is to start low and go slow. Gradually increase your dose until you find the amount that provides you with the ideal results. Be careful, though, as too much THC may worsen your symptoms.
Should you experience severe depression and worsening symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor right away.