Are you getting really sick of the inside of your apartment? Have you watched literally EVERYTHING on Netflix? Do you find yourself reaching for that bong or joint more often lately? Well, Covid depression is real, and Cannabis use across Canada has gone up considerably since March 2020. But is our favourite flower helping with those sad feelings or, is it making it worse?
Smoking cannabis can help treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress shortly after use, but depressive symptoms are likely to worsen over time, according to a study published online in an online journal.
The study conducted, analyzed data from nearly 12,000 entries on a specially designed mobile app. The app allows users of medical cannabis to track symptoms before and after use at home and to provide information about the type and quantity of cannabis used.
“ Research on the effects of cannabis on depression, anxiety, and stress are rare and have almost exclusively been done with orally administered THC pills in a laboratory,” said lead author Carrie Cuttler, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychology. “What is unique about our study is that we looked at actual inhaled cannabis by medical marijuana patients who were using it in the comfort of their own homes as opposed to a laboratory.”
In the study, most of the patients using natural cannabis flower to treat their depression reported antidepressant effects. However, the intensity, and extent of side effects varied alongside the properties of each plant.
Research also discovered that up to one in five individuals who used cannabis flower containing high levels of THC experienced negative side effects, such as feeling unmotivated, or anxious. Having said this, the report adds individuals in the study were three times more likely to have positive feelings like happiness, optimism, peacefulness, and relaxation.
Cannabis use in Teens and Depression
Cannabis is the most popular drug for teens, who are now starting to try the drug before things like alcohol. Yet, even as Cannabis legalization is now a reality across Canada, there has been a push to highlight the downside and potential dangers of Cannabis. Researchers from McGill and Oxford Universities analyzed 11 studies that covered 24,000 teens. They found that using Cannabis at least weekly before 18 is associated with a 37 percent increased risk of depression in adulthood, even when taking into account someone’s existing mental health issues. In fact, the researchers estimate that about 400,000 cases of depression in North America could be associated with teen cannabis use.
CBD as a Treatment for Depression
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound that has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential use as a therapeutic. CBD interacts with the body similar to THC, but does not produce the feeling of euphoria that results from consuming THC.
According to a recent study, CBD produces serotonin in the brain. This release is what keeps our emotions in balance and is one of the major ways in which CBD can treat depression. More research is still needed to determine the extent to which CBD can help with the of depression, but with legalization in Canada being a reality, funding is more likely.
Here are some ways you can take CBD:
- Oral. This includes tinctures, capsules, sprays, and oils. These mixes can be taken as they are, or they may be used in other ways, such as smoothies or a coffee.
- Edible. Drinks and foods, such as CBD-infused gummies, are now widely available.
- Vaping. Vaping with CBD oil is one way to quickly ingest the compounds. However, there’s some debate over the long-term safety of this method. In addition, it can also cause coughing and throat irritation.
- Topical. CBD-infused skin products, lotions, and creams are a big business right now. These products incorporate CBD into things you apply directly to your skin. However, this is likely best for physical pain, not mental health.