Can Marijuana Help Depression?
Medical marijuana can be used to treat a lot of different things, including Alzheimer's, Crohn's Disease, chronic pain, wasting syndrome, and cancer. But can marijuana help depression? Well, that is complicated.
Some evidence from studies have suggested that medical marijuana can help treat mental disorders, particularly depression and bipolar disorder. It even has the nickname, the Green Prozac.
The Israeli army tried treating troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, another mental condition, with medical marijuana on an experimental basis and found positive results.
People have reported that cannabis usage has helped their depression. Dr. Michael Thase agrees, for the short term at least, kind of. But he rejects the notion that medical marijuana is a sustainable antidepressant. He says that it is too much of a habit-forming drug to ever be used to treat depression, even though marijuana is not physically addicting.
He is right to do so because the evidence of medical marijuana being an effective treatment for depression is thin at best. There have been some studies that suggests marijuana can increase serotonin levels, which can reduce depression. Some evidence suggests that medical marijuana in small doses is a powerful antidepressant. However, other studies have stated that it makes depression worse, especially in large doses. Evidence for either result is inconclusive at best, unfortunately.
Presently medical marijuana is not legally used to treat depression. It was petitioned to The Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission to allow medical marijuana to be used to treat mental illnesses, but the commission denied the request, stating that there was too little evidence supporting the theory that medical marijuana helps treat mental illness.