Depression is one of the most common mental health problems. However, it is often forgotten that depression is often linked to stress, which in turn is linked to pain. Indeed, one of the most common side-effects and causes of recurring physical pain is stress and depression. This is perhaps not surprising – being in pain everyday is a stressful experience.
Antidepressants as they currently stand have a very high therapeutic index, and are not highly addictive. They work by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRIs) and noradrenaline (noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants – NASSAs). The increasing levels of neurotransmitters may also disrupt pain signals, making them a mainstay in treating chronic pain conditions.
Cannabis can have many antidepressant-like effects, in particular the cannabinoids THC, CBC and CBD. This means cannabis can be an immensely useful adjunct to current antidepressants, or be of potential use for anyone who doesn’t handle SSRIs and other antidepressants too well.
- Can help provide relief from depression arising from physical pain
- Can potentially help control the side-effects of antidepressants, such as nausea, insomnia and even loss of sexual desire!
- Not all antidepressants work for everyone, meaning that cannabis could prove to be a valuable alternative
- Cannabis has various cannabinoids and terpenes that can help fight depression, e.g. limonene, CBC, CBD and THC
- Though sativas can be great for those with depression, anyone prone to anxiety as well may want to avoid certain sativas
- Getting the dosage right is important – too high a dose could make things worse
- Though most antidepressants aren’t contraindicated by cannabis, some are, especially older ones like tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Like other antidepressants, will not sort other sources of depression, e.g. a bad home environment or grief