Much of the world is currently experiencing a mental health crisis. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 1 in 5 Americans is living with a mental illness. That’s equivalent to over 57 million people in the United States alone.
For years, the standard treatments for these conditions have included medication, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, and talking therapies. However, in recent years, more people have become interested in the potential of medical marijuana for mental health disorders.
This article explores some of the most common complaints and whether cannabis could help.
The idea of using medical marijuana for mental health is somewhat controversial. For example, some have suggested that the plant is associated with an increased risk of serious conditions like psychosis and schizophrenia. Indeed, there is some evidence that starting cannabis use at a young age may precipitate these disorders in susceptible individuals.
However, for most adults who use it sensibly, cannabis could help relieve the symptoms of some of the most common mental health disorders. This is excellent news for those hoping to manage their conditions without pharmaceuticals and the many individuals for whom standard treatments have proven ineffective.
Cannabis works gently with the body by influencing a biological system called the endocannabinoid system. It is responsible for many essential functions, including mood, sleep, and appetite. When used in moderation, it causes minimal side effects, and most users enjoy its subtle calming and euphoric effects.
Below, we explore some of the current research on medical marijuana and a few of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the USA: depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders and one of the most difficult to treat. A large proportion of patients are resistant to standard antidepressants, making the search for alternative treatments a priority.
There is a complex relationship between cannabis and depression. Some sources suggest depression rates are higher than average among cannabis users. They claim that the plant can modestly increase the risk of developing this debilitating disorder. However, it is unclear whether the association is cause or effect, and it may simply be that more people with depression are turning to cannabis for relief.
Certainly, some strains contain terpenes, such as limonene, that are associated with uplifting effects. Others are rich in CBD, which has been shown to affect the serotonin system and may be an effective treatment for various mental health conditions. For example, in a 2022 study, 86% of CBD users with depression said that the compound made them feel better overall.
Anxiety is another common condition that some people choose to manage with medical marijuana. It is a hotly debated subject since high doses of THC (the intoxicating chemical in cannabis) can cause side effects like increased anxiety and paranoia.
However, it seems that CBD-rich strains could offer some very tangible benefits for anxiety disorders. A 2015 review found that the compound could help with the symptoms of several anxiety-related disorders, including:
● Generalized anxiety disorder
● Panic disorder
● Social anxiety disorder
● Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It seems that the type of cannabis is a crucial consideration here and that anxious individuals should choose strains with high levels of CBD rather than an excessive THC content.
PTSD is notoriously challenging to treat, but medical marijuana is offering a glimmer of hope. It is listed as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in many states, and proponents cite benefits such as improved sleep and relief from nightmares.
There needs to be more research into medical marijuana and PTSD, as determined by a 2021 review that stated the current evidence is insufficient. However, many people swear by its benefits, and there have been plenty of studies into the effect of cannabis on specific symptoms, such as insomnia.
Again, it may be best to choose strains with a generous CBD content, and treatment should always be carried out under the supervision of a medical professional. As with any medicine, be alert to any potential side effects and worsening of symptoms that may occur.
The use of medical marijuana for mental health disorders is contentious, but it offers a potential lifeline for those who have been unsuccessful with conventional treatments. Indeed, many insist that it has helped them find some much-needed respite where other therapies have failed.
If you are living with mental illness and would like to give cannabis a try, take a look at your state’s medical marijuana program to see whether you qualify. The application process generally involves consulting a physician, who will confirm your diagnosis and determine whether cannabis may be a suitable treatment for you. You then need to fill in the application on your state’s medical marijuana portal and wait for approval.
If you feel overwhelmed by the application process, help is always at hand. Telemedicine services like https://mmjcardonline.com/ allow you to speak with a doctor from the comfort of your own home, and consultations generally take just a few minutes. They will then complete the application on your behalf and even offer a money-back guarantee if you are not approved.
These services are also often cheaper than applying via the traditional route. So, if you are keen to try medical marijuana for mental health, try telemedicine. It could save you time, money, and hassle.