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Doctor’s Advice On Using Marijuana To Treat Anxiety And Depression

By Thomas Green, MD, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

If you’re struggling with depression, I would recommend being evaluated by a physician who specializes in depression before initiating medical marijuana or increasing the dosage.

We are in a very stressful time in our lives. For those who have a history of anxiety and depression, the current worldly troubles can lead them back into or worsen these ill feelings. For those who have never had anxiety or depression before, this can be the beginning of a difficult time.

It can be overwhelming to think of COVID-19, job insecurity, food and housing insecurity, managing schooling for the kids, racial issues and typical stressors of life for an extended period of time. But unfortunately, this is where we are without a specific timeline as to when it will sort itself out.

Having an open discussion with family, friends or heath care providers about personal mental health issues can be frightening. This is an important topic that needs to be addressed. Without facing the issues, depression and anxiety can worsen. We all know someone who is struggling whether ourselves or others. We need to be aware of symptoms such as pessimism, feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, sleep disorders, decreased interest in hobbies and activities such as sex, persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to therapy, suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Unfortunately suicide has been the second most common cause of death in people aged 15-29.

When many people hit this wall of distress they begin self-help. When this therapy involves exercise, meditation or talking to friends, it can be very therapeutic. When this involves overuse of alcohol or drugs, it can become dangerous.

 

So my question is: where does cannabis fit into this picture of therapy for anxiety and depression?

We have many people using medical marijuana for anxiety/depression. There are also many who are self-medicating with recreational marijuana.

Unfortunately, the studies regarding cannabis and depression/anxiety have mixed resultsi. The studies themselves are done with difficulty since cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug. Often the dosage of the drug is incompletely known since the drug is supplied by the patient.

Insomnia can promote depression or be caused by it. Many people use THC/CBD to help them sleep. In many cases this works well. For others it causes increased anxiety and sleeplessness. It has been reported that the sleep architecture of cannabis induced sleep has a smaller REM componentii. This component of sleep is important for memory and mood.

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