West Virginia recently opened its first dispensary, allowing the thousands of patients who have applied for a medical marijuana certification in West Virginia to officially shop for their medicine in stores.
And while West Virginia’s list of approved conditions for medical marijuana maintains many chronic and terminally ill conditions, often patients will experience other symptoms or problems that medical marijuana may help with.
One condition that comes up often is depression, especially in cases of terminal illnesses.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about medical marijuana for depression, and how patients with depression use medical marijuana!
What is Depression and Can it Be Cured?
Depression is defined as a mood disorder that is characterized by feelings of sadness, emptiness, and worthlessness. Depression can be a standalone diagnosis, or it can be comorbid with other serious conditions.
Depression can manifest in many ways for different people, so there are no universal symptoms that outline depression to its full degree, although there are indicators. Some common warning signs of depression may include the following:
Changes in sleeping habits
Changes in appetite
Feelings of apathy, sadness or hopelessness
Guilt or anger
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Withdrawal from friends and family members
These symptoms may come on gradually, or they may appear suddenly with no apparent cause at all.
People living with chronic or terminal conditions are especially vulnerable to depression, often making the condition even worse, and severely decreasing quality of life along the way.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for depression, and it is a lifelong condition, however there are steps that can be taken to help with depression, including therapy, medications, and changes in behavior. Many patients have even found individual ways to help curb their depression to the point of returning to a healthy lifestyle.
Can Cannabis Help with Depression?
Depression and cannabis technically have some commonalities.
They are both highly relative to the individual experiencing them.
They both interact with our bodies in unique ways.
And they can alter your perception of feelings.
Cannabis also has a few things in common with antidepressants, minus the side effects of course. But saying that cannabis can universally cure depression would not be accurate, and in fact there’s very little known about the relationship between cannabis and depression right now.
There is a large amount of growing evidence that cannabis may help significantly with anxiety, but depression is a unique problem that revolves around a subjective experience for a patient, whereas anxiety deals with heightened levels of anxiousness.
The unique part that cannabis can play with depression is likely with treating underlying symptoms, that can help with surface symptoms that have arisen as a result of the underlying condition.
For example, someone with chronic pain from an injury may experience depression because they are unable to do the things that they love to do. If cannabis can help reduce or remove the chronic pain, the patient may see a decrease in depression as they are able to return to their favorite activities.
In other cases, where depression settles in because of unpleasant thoughts or experiences, cannabis may help offer a different perspective or improve feelings of euphoria, but that will be highly subjective to the person, and results will vary depending on the person.
So it’s important to note how depression arrives, and how cannabis treats different symptoms, rather than looking at cannabis as a specific means of treating depression itself.
The Evidence of How Cannabis May Help with Depression
Because cannabis often does its hardest work in the parts of our bodies that we have no
conscious control over, the full power of the plant has yet to be discovered. Many of the ingredients in cannabis go to work in your endocannabinoid system, where your body will begin working with the cannabis on a wide variety of different functions such as your emotions, cognition, motor control, and even behavior.
The regulation of these endocannabinoids is extremely important to the overall function of your body, health, and mental health, and an imbalance in this part of the body may contribute to depression and anxiety.
Chronic stress may cause the endocannabinoid system to suppress the production of important endocannabinoids, and that might lead to symptoms of depression. Cannabis is currently being studied to determine if it can help restore the production of these important compounds and potentially relieve the symptoms of depression.
There are strong links between cannabis and reduced anxiety, which often exists alongside depression, but studies are still being done to thoroughly understand the relationship between cannabis and depression.
People Who Use Cannabis Have Lower Levels of Depression Overall
Anecdotally, patients with depression who use cannabis often report an increased quality of life, improved appetite, and improved quality of sleep, which are all things that depression can affect.
In fact, out of studied control groups, patients who use cannabis typically have a lower rate of depression in their subgroups than people who do not use cannabis. And especially because of the positive impact that cannabis can make with PTSD, studies on cannabis and depression are in high demand.
Although scientists and doctors are working hard to study the relationship between cannabis and depression, there are some barriers to entry that are restricting access to proper clinical studies due to the legal status of cannabis on a federal level.
It’s our hope that with more studies, a more conclusive link between medical marijuana and depression will be achieved. As of right now, we know that cannabis interacts with depression in some kind of way, but exactly what ways are presently unclear.
With properties like improved quality of life, decreased anxiety, improved mood, better quality of sleep, and improved appetite, it’s hard to ignore the possibility that cannabis may play an important role with treating depression, and we hope to see more studies confirming this soon.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Certification in West Virginia
Depression is a lifelong affliction and can occur alongside many different health problems. Many patients have found relief using cannabis as a part of their treatment plan, and West Virginia offers medical marijuana certifications to help with your chronic or terminal condition.
Take the steps to schedule your medical marijuana evaluation appointment today and get access to legal marijuana products available at dispensaries!
Being a West Virginia medical marijuana patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you. We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way! Feel free to give us a call at 877-303-8424 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical marijuana card in West Virginia.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
West Virginia Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve
wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana.
Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for
our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at 877-303-8424, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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