Updated on January 29, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Now, more than ever, we understand that depression is an illness that can affect anyone at any age. Instead of being stigmatized, patients with the condition are treated with understanding. Those with depression can’t be expected to force themselves into a better frame of mind — they must seek treatment.
Depression is a mood disorder that creates a deep sense of sadness and causes a loss of interest in the things a person once enjoyed. Those with this condition struggle with shifts in mood, sleeping difficulties, changes in behavior and other symptoms that can affect their whole body. If left untreated, depression can lead to other serious health risks.
Most mental health professionals will prescribe a combination of therapy and medication. However, many are using medical marijuana as a more natural alternative to help people deal with the symptoms of depression.
If you’re considering using cannabis as a treatment option for your depression, there are a lot of options out there. Thousands of strain varieties flood the market in states where the plant is legal for medicinal use. There are also many different consumption methods. However, smoking and vaporizing are two of the most popular because they deliver the effects of marijuana quickly. But which is best for patients with depression?
Cannabis is an all-natural holistic healer that works with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids in the plant mimic chemicals produced by our bodies and thus bring a range of healthful benefits. The reason it’s so effective is that endocannabinoid receptors are found in almost every major bodily system.
One of the most popular methods employed to deliver cannabis medication is smoking. Whether by rolling a joint or using a bong, this system is a fast, effective way patients receive the benefits of cannabis. When marijuana is smoked, the plant is lit, releasing smoke that can be inhaled.
However, many physicians advise against smoking medical marijuana treatments in this manner for several different reasons:
Some studies link smoking marijuana to depression. This may be because when cannabis is smoked, it produces a stronger effect. However, this link is not confirmed, and further research is required.
Vaporizing cannabis is picking up momentum and quickly becoming extremely popular among medical marijuana patients. Unlike smoking, vaporizing involves an apparatus that heats cannabis up to its combustion point. But instead of the plant burning, it releases a vapor that can be inhaled. This means that users are not breathing in harmful burnt particles.
This method is recommended more than smoking because it is safer to breathe in vapor, and patients can still receive the benefits of the plant quickly. The main disadvantage is that vaporizers are expensive and must be cleaned and maintained.
Medical marijuana has been approved in many states for patients with qualifying conditions. Although depression is not on every list, there are states where patients can get cannabis medications for this condition. If you would like more information about joining the medical marijuana program in your state, make an appointment with a marijuana doctor near you.