Cannabis for Depression & other Mental illnesses : What the Science says - Article by Dr. Siva (BAMS, MD-Ayurveda)
Depression is a silent and insidious illness that can disrupt many facets of an individual’s personal life – from social to personal and professional. It can be debilitating and the worst part is that a large number of individuals are affected by depression in the modern world due to modern stressors are pressures. This can lead a person to lean on anti-depressants. Although they are helpful in many ways, they have a number of side-effects that can affect the person’s life in other ways. Some such side effects include indigestion or stomach aches, dizziness, loss of appetite, insomnia, headaches and more. This is why most people prefer psychotherapy like talk therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Although these are effective, they may require time, dedication and slow growth.
This is why many people are looking for more natural alternatives and this search is leading them to ancient remedies like Cannabis. Although this appears to be a new age remedy, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and is now coming back into the spotlight. There are a number of benefits for those who consume Cannabis for depression. Here’s what the science says.
CBD activates 5-HT1A subtype serotonin receptors
Studies involving animal models, performing a variety of experiments on the anxiety and depression, such as the forced swimming test (FST), elevated plus maze (EPM) and Vogel conflict test (VCT), suggest that CBD exhibited an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects in animal models discussed. Experiments with CBD demonstrated non-activation of neuroreceptors CB1 and CB2. Most of the studies demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and the 5-HT1A neuro-receptor.
THC activates dopamine receptors
The relationship between THC and depression, however, is slightly more complex. The studies show that the way a person reacts to THC is dependent on their personality. In a study conducted on mice, THC was delivered to selectively-bred stress-resilient socially dominant (Dom) and stress-sensitive socially submissive (Sub) mice. Here, low dose exposure in the Sub mice alleviated depression, whereas it had the opposite effect on Dom mice. “Interestingly, corticosterone concentration in serum was elevated at the high dose regardless of the mice-population tested. We conclude here that differences in dominance behavior and stress vulnerability are involved in the regulation of cannabis response among users and should be considered when prescribing THC-containing medications to patients” states the study
However, when it comes to dopamine, a study conducted by Bloomfield et. al stated the following “Owing to the complexity of the cannabinoid–dopamine interactions that take place, there is conflicting evidence from human and animal studies concerning the effects of THC on the dopamine system. Acute THC administration causes increased dopamine release and neuron activity, whereas long-term use is associated with blunting of the dopamine system. Future research must examine the long-term and developmental dopaminergic effects of THC.” The main takeaway here is to consult a doctor and follow their dosage and duration instructions to benefit from THC-based products.
CBD is an FAAH inhibitor that maintains Anandamide (AEA) levels, an endo-cannabinoid which regulated mesolimbic reward system.
CBD is shining in the spotlight for its anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like properties. In a study conducted by Leweke et. Al, the research found the following “cannabidiol treatment was accompanied by a significant increase in serum anandamide levels, which was significantly associated with clinical improvement. The results suggest that inhibition of anandamide deactivation may contribute to the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol potentially representing a completely new mechanism in the treatment of schizophrenia.”
With such strong research in place for not only depression, but also other mental illnesses, Cannabis is on the forefront as a treatment for a number of disorders. If you’re in need of medicine with a history of no side effects, get started with your Cannabis treatment at CBD store today.