Depression

Depression affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. However, for some people it becomes a persistent part of their lives. Persistent depression can be classed as clinical depression. It is also often called unipolar depression, as it stands in contrast to bipolar depression, which includes erratic shifts in mood from extreme euphoria to extreme sadness.

Depression could be the most common type of mental health condition in the U.S., affecting just over 26% of the population, although major depression affects around 16.1 million Americans, which is 6.7% of the population. Due to the persistence of a condition like depression, as well as the time it can take to treat it properly, the social impacts cannot be overestimated or necessarily even measured properly. Those with recurrent depression can expect their life expectancy to be shortened by 7 – 11 years. Depression can also dampen the immune system and make one more prone to illness.

Depression could be the most common type of mental health condition in the U.S., affecting just over 26% of the population, although major depression affects around 16.1 million Americans, which is 6.7% of the population. Depression may be comorbid with many other conditions, and can both be a factor in causing another mental or physical health problem, as well as a symptom of another, deeper underlying problem.

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.

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