Many patients diagnosed with depression have found relief through prescription antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Effexor. Unfortunately, for millions of others, prescription medications fall short of their promises, leaving countless people who suffer from depression without the effective treatment they need.
If you are a Massachusetts resident age 18 or older, and antidepressants have failed to relieve your depression, consider asking your doctor about treating your depression with medical marijuana (Cannabis), which research has shown to efficiently reduce depressive symptoms with minimal adverse effects. Once you have received an expert opinion from your physician, Dr. Jordan Tishler, founder of the Boston medical marijuana practice Inhale MD, can evaluate your records to determine whether Cannabis is an appropriate method of depression treatment for you.
To learn more about how medical marijuana can help ease the effects of severe clinical depression, contact Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886 for a consultation. We will keep your information confidential.
How Does Marijuana Help Depression and Treat Depressive Symptoms?
Depression is a widespread yet debilitating mental illness. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, major depressive disorder is “the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3,” affecting over 15 million U.S. adults. An additional 3.3 million U.S. adults are affected by another form of depression known as persistent depressive disorder or PDD (formerly “dysthymia”). Other types of depression include bipolar disorder (“manic depression”), which affects approximately 5.7 million U.S. adults, and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which occurs at the onset of menstruation and affects an estimated 3 million women in the U.S.
While these and other subtypes of depression have distinct characteristics, all can have profoundly debilitating effects upon the patient, creating intense, chronic or recurring feelings of stress, hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, irritability, apathy, and/or guilt. Many sufferers also experience diminished appetite, and/or struggle to overcome insomnia. Additionally, there is significant overlap between depression and anxiety, another common yet disabling affective disorder (mood disorder).
While every patient has a different response to marijuana, many report significant alleviation of both anxiety and depression, regardless of whether Cannabis is ingested (eaten), vaporized, or administered through other methods.
For example, in a 2006 study which surveyed more than 4,400 adults, comparing daily marijuana users against weekly marijuana users and people who had never used marijuana before, both daily and weekly users “reported less depressed mood and more positive affect than non-users,” despite all three groups having similar scores “on all depression subscales.” In 2005, a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management revealed that, among 143 participants who reported using marijuana, 86% reported reduced depression (about 123 out of 143 people), while 93% reported reduced anxiety (about 133 out of 143 people).
Why Does Marijuana Relieve Depression and Improve Mood?
The reason marijuana works to relieve depression is that it contains approximately 85 cannabinoids, such as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol). These cannabinoids are the “active ingredients” in Cannabis, just as ibuprofen is the active ingredient in Advil or Motrin.
Cannabinoids stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors that form your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which works constantly to regulate your mood. When cannabinoids interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, they alter your endocannabinoid system’s normal function – a process which is gentle, temporary, generally safe, and begins to occur rapidly after use. As a result, you will experience changes to your mood and perceptions while using Cannabis.
While every individual experiences somewhat different subjective effects, the general trend is that patients report:
- Having an improved mood and increased ability to relax.
- Experiencing less stress, tension, and anxiety.
- Being able to fall asleep more easily, and wake up feeling more rested the next morning.
- Improvements to appetite, which is beneficial in cases where the patient’s depression has diminished his or her interest in food.
It is extremely uncommon for patients to report serious adverse effects. In most cases, the side effects of marijuana use are mild and temporary, generally limited to dry mouth and drowsiness.
To be clear, it is crucial that patients continue taking their antidepressants as they normally would unless directed otherwise by their physicians. Sudden cessation of antidepressant use (quitting “cold turkey”) is extremely dangerous because it worsens the depression and can lead to suicidal ideation.
Boston Medical Marijuana Doctor Treating Patients for Depression and Anxiety in MA
Dr. Jordan Tishler, founder of Inhale MD, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School licensed to practice as an Emergency Physician specializing in substance abuse disorders. After observing that marijuana never caused a fatal overdose – and becoming deeply concerned with the lack of medical guidance provided to patients at Massachusetts marijuana dispensaries – Dr. Tishler decided to establish a medical practice based around the emerging discipline of Cannabis therapy.
Today, Inhale MD is one of the only practices of its kind in the state of Massachusetts. Standing at the nexus of Cannabis research and patient care, Inhale MD is committed to ensuring that patients receive guided, ongoing medical direction on key issues such as dosage size, dosage frequency, and methods of administration. Our mission is to fill the knowledge gap left open by sales-oriented dispensaries by educating patients while overseeing their treatment with compassion and precision.
If your depression medication isn’t working for you, you don’t have to continue suffering in silence. Cannabis may be an additional option. To learn more about whether medical marijuana could be right for you in a confidential consultation, contact Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886.