Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that can have a significant impact on the quality of your life and your relationships. Whether you have been formally diagnosed or have explored treatment options on your own, you probably already know that science has not made many advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of depression. You may also have been frustrated by the fact that the only options your doctor offered you were prescription drugs or talk therapy.
We are bombarded with a deluge of messages from Big Pharma telling us that taking prescription antidepressants is the only way to handle feeling low. Pharmaceutical antidepressants were introduced in the 1950’s and now there are more than thirty on the market. These are a viable option for some but are certainly not for everyone.
Talk therapy is another option, but, unlike the two to four weeks antidepressants can take to start having an effect, positive results from psychotherapy often take much longer. There are also more barriers to access because seeing a psychotherapist is dependent upon having the time, access, and financial means.
Cannabis has been used medically for over 5,000 years, and for much of that time, cannabis has been used to treat mood disorders. To this day, issues like anxiety and low mood are the reason many people start using cannabis. One survey of medical cannabis users found that 12% had chosen to use cannabis instead of pharmaceuticals. This evidence is bolstered by the fact that in states which allow medical cannabis usage, Medicare money spent on antidepressants has decreased.
How Cannabis Can Help With Low Mood
Cannabis has come to the forefront of possible new treatments for depression for two reasons:
- it has an impact on serotonin levels
- the growing link between the endocannabinoid system and low mood.
Many prescription antidepressants target serotonin levels, and cannabis works in much the same way—by increasing levels of serotonin. This was demonstrated in a 2007 study with animals. A 2009 study showed that an antidepressant effect can be stimulated in rats merely activating cannabinoid receptors — the same mechanism used by cannabis. Another study conducted in 2015 showed that cannabis could help with chronic stress by keeping the endocannabinoid system working correctly.
There is now a significant amount of evidence suggesting problems with the endocannabinoid system cause low mood. Unfortunately, researchers don’t yet know the exact way in which endocannabinoids influence emotions and behavior. But they do know that when there is a deficiency of endocannabinoids in the body or when they do not function properly, depressive symptoms can result. It is believed that cannabis can act in much the same way as the body's natural cannabinoids (yes, you have them!) and stimulate the endocannabinoid receptors, which can lessen the symptoms of depression. Unsurprisingly, Big Pharma is working on developing several types of drugs that alter the endocannabinoid system, and some are already on the market. But is it necessary to turn to prescription drugs for this effect or could you use something more natural, like cannabis itself?
THC vs. CBD
How does THC vs. CBD work in the treatment of low mood? Both have been studied in regards to their efficacy in treating low mood. THC has been found to activate the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, which is linked with an antidepressant effect in animals. In 2010, THC was again found to act as an antidepressant in animals. Another study showed that THC increased BDNF, which also gives an antidepressant effect.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that researchers have found that too little or too much THC can worsen the symptoms of depression. This is why it’s important to experiment with different doses to see what works for you. Cannassist is also formulated with ingredients that support mood. Keep reading to learn more.
More studies have been performed with CBD, and it seems to be even more effective in helping alleviate symptoms of depression. A 2014 literature review of several studies on animals found that CBD can serve as an antidepressant. This was confirmed by another study in 2016, finding that cannabis can treat anhedonia—a symptom of depression which prevents you from feeling pleasure.
Though you may have read that some studies have found a link between depression and cannabis use, scientists have yet to determine in which direction the link goes. There is a chance that people who suffer from depression are more likely to use cannabis as a coping mechanism, not that using cannabis has caused them to develop symptoms of depression which is what some people argue.
Choosing Cannabis vs. Prescription Antidepressants
When you start prescription antidepressants, it can take several weeks to see the effects. In addition, the secondary effects are often worse in the first weeks. Common side effects include nausea, agitation, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, and low sex drive. Doctors often reassure their patients that side effects will disappear over time and that the benefits of the medication will “most likely” outweigh the costs of the side effects. That sounds less than desirable, doesn’t it?
As you may already know, cannabis doesn’t have nearly the same number of potential side effects as prescription antidepressants. However, there is also evidence to suggest that antidepressants and cannabis could complement each other in the treatment of depression. Did you know that the endocannabinoid and serotonin body systems actually interact? A 2011 study found that this might be the reason there is evidence suggesting that cannabis can make antidepressants more effective.
Cannabis can serve as a viable alternative to antidepressants or function in coordination with your pharmaceutical treatment. Why not give it a try?
Other Healthy Habits That (Cannassist)
Self-care is important whether you suffer from depression or not. However, anyone who has experienced depression knows how difficult it can be to find the energy and motivation to engage in self-care routines like exercising or preparing a healthy meal.
This is where Cannassist can make a real difference in your wellness routine. Cannassist is formulated with a combination of ingredients that help regulate your mood. Serotonin levels are very important in maintaining a balanced mood. Cannassist contains L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP, which are building blocks that help produce serotonin. Cannassist also has Vitamins B3 and B6, L-Theanine, and Carnitine, all of which give serotonin a boost. Finally, Cannassist is formulated with Saffron and Rhodiola Rosea, which are linked to an elevated mood and feelings of vitality. All these ingredients come in the convenience of a pill, which requires only minimal effort on your part, making sure you can always engage in self-care, even when you’re not feeling your best.
Despite the messages we get from Big Pharma and society, prescription drugs and talk therapy aren’t the only things you can do to help with your depression. Whatever you choose to do, know that using cannabis might be a good complement to them or might even be your primary remedy. Ultimately, nobody but you knows which treatment will serve you best. If you want to give cannabis a try, make sure to take into account how much you are using and what strain it is. With careful consideration and a bit of patience, you may be able to find your way to good vibes in no time.