Marijuana use is prevalent, but marijuana does not help treat depression symptoms; in fact, marijuana may actually increase a person’s depression symptoms. To better understand the link between marijuana and depression, let’s examine marijuana, how the drug affects the brain, and the drug’s impact on people dealing with depression.
What Is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a greenish-grey mix of dried flowers of the Cannabis sativa flowering plant. It is commonly referred to as pot, weed, Mary Jane, and other slang terms. Additionally, marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints), water pipes (bongs), or cigar wraps (blunts). Marijuana is sometimes incorporated into cookies, brownies, and other “edibles” as well.
Roughly 147 million people — or approximately 2.5% of the global population — use marijuana, according to the World Health Organization. In some instances, marijuana is used for therapeutic reasons. Research indicates marijuana helps alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses. Also, controlled studies have shown marijuana may help treat asthma, glaucoma, and other medical conditions.
How Does Marijuana Affect a Person’s Health?
Marijuana impairs cognitive development. It sometimes affects a person’s recall, i.e. the ability to retrieve past information.
Marijuana affects a person’s psychomotor performance as well. The drug impairs a person’s ability to use complex machinery, along with his or her motor coordination.
There are various chronic side effects associated with marijuana, too. These side effects include:
- Impaired cognitive functioning
- Lung inflammation
- Acute and chronic bronchitis
If a person continuously uses marijuana, now may be a good time to seek treatment. By taking steps to treat prolonged marijuana use, an individual can minimize the drug’s effects on his or her brain.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?
Marijuana has been shown to affect several parts of the brain, including:
- Amygdala: The amygdala regulates fear, anxiety, and other emotions. Marijuana sometimes hampers the amygdala’s ability to function properly, leading to feelings of paranoia or panic.
- Neocortex: The neocortex supports decision-making, movement, and complex thoughts. If a person uses marijuana, the drug may damage the neocortex. And when this happens, it may be difficult for a person to perform activities that require complex thinking, feeling, or movement.
- Nucleus Accumbens: The nucleus accumbens regulates motivation and reward response. Research shows marijuana impacts nucleus accumbens activation during reward anticipation.
Ultimately, marijuana affects the functioning of certain chemicals and alters the mind. This may lead to health complications like cardiovascular issues. It may also make it tough for a person to manage his or her depression symptoms.
What Is the Link Between Marijuana and Depression?
A study published in the journal Addiction, from 2003, highlighted a link between heavy marijuana use and depression symptoms. Researchers noted heavy marijuana use may increase a person’s risk of depression. Conversely, they also stated social and familial factors may impact a person’s depression symptoms.
Self-medicating with marijuana is a serious problem, too. Using marijuana to reduce health issues sometimes contributes to severe depression and suicidal thoughts. It may also lead to frequent marijuana use, as well as co-occurring disorders that involve both depression and substance abuse.
What Is the Best Way to Treat Depression?
When it comes to finding the right depression treatment, marijuana is not the answer. Instead, an individual should evaluate depression resources to explore all of the treatment options at his or her disposal. An individual may also want to consider one or more of the following depression treatments:
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants are designed to help alleviate sadness and hopelessness, and lift a person’s mood. They sometimes help individuals address depression symptoms; in many instances, however, antidepressants cause nausea, vomiting, and other unwanted side effects.
- Talk Therapy: Talk therapy, also referred to as psychotherapy, involves meeting with a psychologist, social worker, or other trained mental health professional to discuss and help manage depression feelings and thoughts. It may help an individual identify the underlying cause of his or her depression, as well as find a solution to achieve long-lasting depression symptom relief.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive depression treatment that is covered by many insurance companies after the patient has tried anti-depressants. During deep transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, magnetic pulses are directed to areas of the brain impacted by depression to re-set neural pathways and naturally stimulate the release of neurotransmitters.
The right depression treatment varies, but Achieve TMS helps individuals discover the value of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) therapy for treatment-resistant depression.
To schedule a free deep TMS consultation for depression treatment, please call or text us today at 877-909-8595.