According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, in any given year one in five people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. Those who have experienced this first-hand know that illnesses such as depression or anxiety can affect so much more than just your mental state. Dealing with these illnesses can make it extremely challenging to perform everyday activities like going to work, spending time with family or even getting dressed in the morning.
There are currently many treatment options for those suffering from anxiety, depression, or sometimes both, such as therapy or medication. However, more recently there has been talk that there could be something outside of traditional anti-depressants that can help these illnesses. And that thing is medical cannabis.
Can Cannabis Really Help?
Cannabis is often described as having a calming, relaxing effect on the user. Unfortunately, there are few studies on exactly how cannabis helps, therefore it’s been tough to determine exactly what it is about cannabis that might help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression. There is also some debate as to whether those who have anxiety and depression experience true symptom relief, or if the cannabis masks the symptoms for a while, or causes a placebo effect.
THC, a chemical compound found in cannabis, has been found to raise serotonin levels in those who use it. Serotonin is a natural chemical in the brain that acts as a mood regulator. Those who suffer from anxiety and depression can sometimes have an insufficient amount of this chemical in their brain. Because of the relatively low risks associated with cannabis compared to other pharmaceutical drugs, some doctors believe it is worth trying if there is a chance that it could significantly improve your quality of life.
Does Cannabis Work the Same for Depression and Anxiety?
While often seen together in the same patient, depression and anxiety are two separate conditions. Furthermore, like other medical treatments, different patients respond differently to cannabis. Adjusting the levels of CBD and THC can also impact the effectiveness of cannabis on the body and the mind.
To find the right strain and dosage to achieve the best results, it is recommended that patients wishing to try cannabis to relieve their symptoms work with a cannabis counsellor. Typically, it is recommended that you begin with a “low and slow” approach. In other words, you will be advised to try very low doses of one or more medicines and increase dosages incrementally, while carefully monitoring the effects. Some patients keep a daily journal, specifically monitoring their treatment plan and their quality of life.
Is This the Right Treatment for Me?
If you are interested in seeing if cannabis is the right treatment for your depression or anxiety, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. If you obtain a prescription, one of our cannabis counsellors will walk through all treatment options that are available to you.