Study: Marijuana Is Effective Against Depression
The relationship between cannabis and depression has always been a strenuous one, with mainstream media encouraging ideas that cannabis causes depression. Well, new research not only refutes this, but also explains the mechanisms that allow cannabis to potentially actually help those suffering from depression.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM AND DEPRESSION
These new findings revolve around the endocannabinoid system. It is a system within each and every one of our bodies, closely tied in with our central nervous system. It is this system that the active compounds of cannabis, known as cannabinoids bind to and activate. The body also produces its own natural variation of cannabinoids, which interact with the system and regulate the mind and body.
So how does this all link to cannabis and depression? Well, using mice, this new research found that when subjugated to chronic stress, the natural production of cannabinoids becomes inhibited - resulting in degraded cognition, anxiety, and other symptoms associated with depression. When said mice were then administered marijuana cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system was brought back into balance, alleviating some of the symptoms of depression.
According to lead researcher Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane, "Using compounds derived from cannabis -- marijuana -- to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression."
PUTTING THE MEDIA TO RIGHTS
This research is a great example of why you should always take sensationalist headlines with a pinch of salt. Of course, depression is an extremely complex condition, and understanding the hundreds of interactions cannabis has with the body is just as complex, but correlation doesn't mean causation. There is yet to be one piece of research that definitively establishes a causal link between cannabis and depression. If anything, research like this would suggest that the inverse is true – that those suffering depression seek out cannabis as a form of relief.