Everybody experiences some periods of sadness and despair at some point throughout their lives, but these feelings often subside after a few hours or days, it is simply an inevitable and unavoidable part of being human. However, if these “low points” are happening for an extended period of times, you may be suffering from depression.
Depression is a mental illness that affects more than 350 million across the world, which is 5% of the world’s population. 20% of people with depression also develop psychiatric symptoms. This illness is characterised by its ability to send the sufferer into long periods of overwhelming sadness. Although each person will experience depression differently, the sufferer will often feel unmotivated and uninterested. Daily tasks such as getting up, showering and meeting with friends can prove an arduous task, which can lead to isolation and to a deterioration of mental state.
What treatments for depression currently exist?
The treatments for mental illnesses are very complex. Usually, treatment for depression consists of subjecting the patient to a course of anti-depressant medication. Another treatment option for this illness is to perform cognitive behavioural therapy. Many people find that combining both treatments works as an effective course of treatment.
For those who do not experience positive results with these conventional treatments, there are alternative options, such as conducting cannabinoid treatments for illnesses such as depression. Cannabinoids are compounds with therapeutic properties that are present in the cannabis Sativa plant.
Samir Haj-Dahmane, a leading medical cannabis expert and researcher at Buffalo University, explains that “the use cannabis-derived compounds to restore normal endocannabinoid and could help to stabilize moods and alleviate depression”. On the other hand, it have been found that cannabidiol produces anti-depressant and antipsychotic effects in animals. A study aimed to see whether CBD would produce anti-depressant effects in mice that were subjected to forced swimming test. The results showed that the CBD treatment reduced the amount of immobility displayed by mice and that, in general, cannabidiol induces anti-depressant effects similar to those of imipramine (a standard anti-depressant).
How can cannabinoids help to fight depression?
- Sleep: For some people, depression can cause exhaustion. Others, however, suffer from extreme insomnia. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can have a sedative effect on the user, which makes it much easier to fall asleep and more importantly to stay asleep.
- Appetite: THC and CBD are cannabinoids known for their appetite-stimulating properties. Sometimes depression is linked or causes some kinds of eating disorder. For this reason people with this mental illness who lose their appetite may find that cannabinoids can help them to regain it.
- Pain: People who suffer from depression often experience pain. Cannabidiol is very effective for relieving these types of symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects.