Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Sexual Dysfunction Caused by Mental Disorders

In 2012, Massachusetts passed legislation implementing a statewide medical marijuana program. This legislation, which is called the Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana, allows any state resident with a “debilitating medical condition” to apply to become a medical Cannabis patient.

In addition to the conditions listed by the Act, which include cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, there is also a provision for “other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician.” These “other conditions” extend to psychological disorders, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, PTSD, or depression, you may be eligible for medical marijuana in Massachusetts, provided you have the appropriate written recommendation from your doctor.

If you’d like to learn more about how Cannabis may be able to help you manage your symptoms, please do not hesitate to call Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886 for a private consultation. Dr. Tishler, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and leading expert in Cannabis therapies, is dedicated to helping patients across Massachusetts access safe, effective, and affordable treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

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Does Medical Marijuana Treat Depression and Anxiety?

Cannabis is well-known for its analgesic effects, which have made medical marijuana a popular treatment choice among Massachusetts residents diagnosed with arthritis, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. In addition to its physical painkilling qualities, which have been thoroughly documented by numerous researchers and patients alike, Cannabis can also aid patients in the management of clinical depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Various peer-reviewed medical journals, including Neuron, Pain, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, and Canadian Medical Association Journal, have all published studies highlighting the efficacy of Cannabis in improving mood, relieving anxiety, improving quality of sleep, and reducing the symptoms of PTSD. Consider as an example the following excerpt, taken from a 2006 study published in Addictive Behaviors, which surveyed more than 4,400 adult participants:

“We compared those who consumed marijuana daily, once a week or less, or never in their lives. Despite comparable ranges of scores on all depression subscales, those who used once per week or less had less depressed mood, more positive affect, and fewer somatic complaints than non-users. Daily users reported less depressed mood and more positive affect than non-users.”

This is only one example of the countless studies which have demonstrated the positive effects of Cannabis on depression and anxiety patients. I am always happy to point my patients and prospective patients toward unbiased studies and other helpful resources for making a decision about whether Cannabis is right for them.

How Cannabis Can Improve Romantic and Sexual Intimacy with Your Partner

Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing sexual dysfunction resulting from anxiety or depression, many patients find themselves trapped in a catch-22. While conventional anti-depressants like Zoloft, Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, and Lexapro have helped millions of people cope with most effects of depression, they also share a counterproductive side effect: they can lower the patient’s already-reduced sexual drive and/or interfere with a patient’s ability to orgasm; precisely the opposite effect desired. Medications like Viagra and Cialis are seldom effective in counteracting this problem, because they do nothing to address the emotional aspects of the patient’s decline in libido. Moreover, these products simply aren’t safe for certain men, such as those taking nitrates for heart disease, and cannot help female patients at all.

This is exactly where medical marijuana has an edge over conventional medications. In stark contrast to the libido-lowering side effects of most anti-depressants, as well as depression itself, Cannabis can increase libido. Research has shown that unlike Viagra and its competitors, which exclusively target physical dysfunction, medical marijuana can counteract the underlying causes of dysfunction: stress, distraction, depression, and emotional withdrawal or avoidance. Many patients report feeling more relaxed, “open,” and better able to cope with their anxiety and depression while using medical marijuana. At the same time, Cannabis’ physiological effects, such as increased blood flow, help patients with physical arousal and promote better enjoyment of the physical sensations of intimacy. In short, Cannabis is capable of delivering both physical and psychological relief.

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With this information in mind, you should absolutely never discontinue your current medication without first consulting your physician. If you stop taking your anti-depressants “cold turkey,” or all at once, you could experience major withdrawal symptoms like nausea, stomach pain, headaches, and suicidal thinking. Cannabis and conventional medications don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and most patients see the best results from combining both. In most cases, but not all, marijuana is safe to mix and match with your other medications.

If your quality of life is being negatively impacted by depression, anxiety, or other psychological disorders, you may be a good candidate for medical Cannabis. Call Dr. Tishler at (617) 477-8886 to start discussing the health benefits of medical marijuana in a private consultation.

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