Depression can come in many forms: seasonal, postpartum, premenstrual and the list goes on. The causes of depression also vary: sometimes it develops from chemical imbalances in the brain, other times it develops from the happenings in everyday life.
Treatments for depression are readily available, ranging from medication, talk therapy and even a combination of both. However, for those battling depression from chronic stress, these outlets don’t always work.
Scientists at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions say that certain components of cannabis may be very helpful in reducing depression caused by chronic stress, specifically.
Chronic stress, can be “psychologically and physically debilitating.” However, after studying the endocannabinoid system — the brain’s group of chemicals similar to the chemicals in cannabis that affect the way we feel, think, behave and respond — researchers believe that cannabis can have a significant impact on this system.
In general, stress has a negative effect on the endocannabinoid system. It ultimately alters the function of the system, decreasing its production of these much needed cannabinoids; and without these chemicals, people are subject to mood swings, breakdowns and more.
Because the chemicals in marijuana are similar to the chemicals in the endocannabinoid system, researchers believe that cannabis’ main compounds (THC and CBD) can “stabilize moods and erase depression.”
Another study from 2007 showed that low doses of THC can work like an antidepressant by increasing serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects mood, behavior and sleep.
The scientists of the study injected laboratory animals with a synthetic cannabinoid called WIN55,212-2 and tested the effectiveness using the Forced Swim Test – a test that measures depression in animals. Ultimately, the researchers observed an antidepressant effect that also increased serotonin production.
All of this research is exciting, it shows that cannabis can be a promising remedy for the hundreds of thousands of people battling chronic stress’ byproduct.