Can marijuana help treat depression?

In more than 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, as well as the territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, the medical use of cannabis is legally permitted. Controversy ensues about what conditions should make patients eligible for approved use.

Depression is a condition that has been discussed (as well as pain, anxiety, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep, etc.). So far, this research has been mixed.

Depression and marijuana use often coexist in patients, but separating them from each other is a chicken or egg problem that researchers have not yet resolved.

Ingredients of hemp

There are two main types of chemicals in marijuana, which may have different effects on your depression:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, gives a feeling of excitement and is what makes this drug attractive for recreational use.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component of plants, which contributes to its pharmacological effects, but does not participate in high levels; it is a medicinal component that has been studied for the treatment of depression.

Can marijuana help depression?

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Buffalo Addiction Institute in February 2015 found that compounds called endocannabinoids in the brain are related to overall well-being and activate many active compounds in cannabis The same receptor.

In tests on rats, the researchers found that under chronic stress, the production of endocannabinoids was lower than under normal conditions. They concluded that the chemicals in marijuana may be a useful treatment to restore normal endocannabinoid function and relieve symptoms of depression.

A study was published in Journal of Affective Disorders It was found that smoking marijuana can significantly reduce self-reported depression levels in the short term. However, the researchers also found that repeated use does not cause any long-term relief of symptoms, and may even increase depression in some people over time.

Understand the risks

Although there is some evidence that cannabis may have antidepressant properties, many people believe that there are important risks that need to be addressed when considering using the drug to treat depression.

Motivation syndrome

There is a well-known phenomenon called “motivation syndrome”, that is, people who frequently use cannabis become indifferent, socially withdrawn, and their daily function level is much lower than the level of ability before using cannabis.

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mental illness

Some studies have shown that people who smoke marijuana (especially those who smoke regularly or in large amounts) are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than people who do not smoke marijuana.But the study failed to conclude that there is a causal relationship: that is, it is not clear whether cannabis use directly causes depression.

In some people who are susceptible to other mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, smoking marijuana may trigger the manifestations of the disease. There are also searches that indicate that heavy use of marijuana during adolescence (especially teenage girls) can predict depression and anxiety in a person’s later life.

Some people are also at risk of developing mental illness from the use of marijuana. People with substance-induced psychosis may have delusions, hallucinations, or both.


One of the biggest problems with using marijuana as a tool for coping with depression is that it can lead to psychological dependence. It is estimated that approximately 30% of marijuana users will eventually become addicted to marijuana, and this proportion will increase among those who start smoking marijuana before the age of 18.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo have been experimenting with cannabidiol extract to determine whether it can provide mood-boosting benefits without the risk of drug dependence.

Lack of patience with proven treatments

Because the effects of marijuana are quick-acting, experts are also worried that proven long-term behavior-based coping strategies and depression treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), do not seem to be very helpful at first, and are unlikely to be affected. Pursue despite their value.

Very good sentence

As states continue to legalize cannabis for medicinal use (and many for recreational purposes) and improve eligibility criteria, researchers may continue to explore the relationship between depression and cannabis use.

However, this may require more legal scientific research to prove or disprove the efficacy of medical marijuana, and may relax restrictions on its use. If you suffer from depression and are considering medical marijuana as a treatment option, first consider weighing the pros and cons with your doctor.