Medical Marijuana for Depression

Medical marijuana has proven extremely beneficial to the treatment of a range of conditions, deficiencies, and disorders. Depression is the most common illness in the world, with estimates reaching as high as 350 million people suffering from depression, globally.

More and more evidence is emerging to prove the efficacy of medical marijuana for depression. Not only does one experience an immediate benefit, but the long-term results are profound. Here we’ll taking you through a look at the many benefits which medical marijuana holds for depression sufferers.

Cannabis Sativa Induces Rapid Sustained Anti-Depressive Effects

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has proven itself effective as a fast-acting anti-depressant drug which has sustained effects. Most commercially available antidepressants have a long onset time with a relatively low efficacy whereas acute antidepressant effects can be measured and felt within just 30 minutes of ingesting CBD, with seven days of sustained effects following the treatment. Studies show that CBD interacts favorably with the 5-HT1A neuro-receptors closely linked to depression and anxiety.

In addition, 5HT1A stimulation benefits neuromodulation and decreases both blood pressure and your heart rate. Drugs derived from cannabinoids promote bolstered cognitive benefits through distinctly different neural pathways to conventional antidepressants and are a fantastic treatment for mood, depression, and other neuropsychiatric conditions.

Cannabis Sativa Induces Rapid Sustained Anti-Depressive Effects

CBDs and Endocannabinoids for Major Depression

Major depression has the highest incidence rate of morbidity out of all mental disorders. Despite many modern antidepressant therapies being available, most only have limited effect on the wide-range of mood disorders rampantly plaguing society. Cannabinoid agonists and endocannabinoid enhancers have a far greater therapeutic effect than standard antidepressants.

Not only does treatment with cannabis make you feel better immediately, it also increases the release of serotonin in the hippocampus, while increasing both serotonin and noradrenergic neuron firing. Serotonin deficiency is caused by a range of factors from genetic influences to digestive issues, a poor metabolism, and of course stress. Serotonin directly influences dopamine which is known as the ‘feel good’ hormone. It literally makes you feel good.

Profound Neurological Benefits of Phytocannabinoids

Cannabis plants are packed with phytocannabinoids which hold a broad range of benefits. Out of the 60+ phytocannabinoids present in marijuana, many of them act uniquely upon the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The activation of CB1 receptors has proven beneficial to the treatment of epilepsy, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and for the treatment of drug dependence.

CB1 stimulation has also proven effective at combating long-term depression through causing a distinct switching the functioning of the functioning of the prefrontal cortex. One is no longer trapped in an autonomous response of stress.

CB Stimulation

The CB2 receptor affects our immune response, regulating immune cell production, the spleen, tonsils, and the thymus. The activation of CB2 reduces the risk of neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s, while also reducing neuroinflammation in general which improves mental acuity.

In terms of depression, CB2 activation brings behavioral effects under control, stimulating your appetite, granting a sense of calmness, and vastly improving the brain’s response to stress in general. CB2 activation’s benefit to the immune system is nothing short of profound. 

Regular Use Lowers Depression and Anxiety

Regular use of marijuana for depression lowers anxiety, particularly during high-stress periods. The CB1 density in the hippocampus and amygdala ensure that emotions are well-regulated and memory is enhanced, while cannabis even benefits those with ADHD and other psychiatric disorders such as bi-polar.

It can be stated that cannabis offers a natural and powerful plant based remedy to treat anxiety and depression with its complex of cannabinoid compounds that can affect the homeostasis of the body and mind so profoundly by selection of specific cannabinoids or in combination with or without THC and in various strengths depending on strain or extraction. This offers great flexibility for dovetailing treatment effects to the patient's need. Of course there are other complex and profound plant medicines that can also treat depression and can be partnered with a cannabis derived treatment such as turmeric which has been recognized in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of anxiety and as an anti-inflammatory. This  would suggest a potential herb partner with cannabis which a skilled naturopath might recognize as a valuable treatment combination for a patient. 

Multiple limbic brain regions involving everything from emotion to cognition are effected for at least 24-hours after CB1 stimulation, with the therapeutic benefits of this stimulation being highly beneficial for post-traumatic stress disorder. Chronic stress is lowered, and healthier fear response is promoted.  The stress-protective benefits of CB1 and CB2 upon the amygdala and prefrontal cortex are profound, dampening anxiety and causing  elevated feelings of well-being.

Cannabis’ Role in Treating PTSD

Cannabis’ Role in Treating PTSD

Conventional medications for post-traumatic stress disorder are known to work, but at times can trigger all-new symptoms of their own. Psychiatric medications are often habit-forming, with dependency arising as a major risk, especially when one is going through a difficult period in their life. PTSD medication can also put pressure on your heart, while bringing one to some means of managing distress rather than overcoming depression.

Cannabis and the compounds inherent help to restore the natural endocannabinoid function of the body, resulting in a significant improvement of seven of the twelve items listed on the PTSD scale.

Marijuana is used by many veterans to help them cope with the symptoms of PTSD, while when used in conjunction with conventional therapy, cannabis causes regression from the condition itself and supplies a protective effect as well. CB-1 receptor activation from the use of medical marijuana for depression is in itself a resolution for PTSD, as most of the symptoms result from an endocannabinoid deficiency.

Medical Marijuana: A Fantastic Treatment for Depression

Medical marijuana for depression is one of the best treatments available with the added benefit of having no toxicity, and a range of neuroprotective benefits. Both THC and CBDs have proven their efficacy through numerous studies and real-world testimonials, but more study needs to be done and misunderstanding of dosage effects is common for those that self-medicate or use for recreational purposes, so it goes without saying that for those using marijuana as a therapy for drepression should consult a knowledgeable therapist or doctor on dosage and the best way to take marijuana for their treatment.


Recently the unfounded fear that marijuana is related to spurring up its own form of anxiety and depression was debunked where dosage is carefully understood and maintained. Medical marijuana instead helps one to reach a balanced temperament, helping both the underlying physiological component and giving one the lift needed to live a life free from depression, anxiety, and social discomfort. Just a single dose at the correct strength (dosage level is VERY important or the benefits may reverse) of high-CBD low-THC marijuana dramatically drops stress, anxiety, and depression levels without any negative side effects when taken correctly at the prescribed dosage level.

Finally, we always advocate using marijuana or CBD oil for medical reasons within the law where you live and with the advice and guidance of a doctor or medical therapist, qualified for the condition you want treated. Check with your state or province health department for government registered GPs they list for the state's medical marijuana program.  If your state currently supports patient registration as an approved medical marijuana patient you will likely gain access to a state dispensary (where these have been established) which can give you guaranteed tested quality, low cost access to supply and  can also help you with the correct dossage according to medical cannabis material weight and the recommended way of taking it .

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  1. I have taken meds for depression that are not good over the years. Never really fixed my problem. I am thinking about trying marijuana.

    • Hi Roland,
      Depression is a hard thing to deal with. I have been there and have known ‘the black dog’. I remember being prescribed antidepressant drugs in my 20s when I did not know very much and I found they made me feel worse with side-effects thrown in.
      I think either marijuana or CBD can help you, but get some medical advice from a natural therapies friendly doctor on this first, especially if you are planning on coming off other prescribed medication.
      I know MJ and CBD can both be really beneficial in this area. As a parallel example, PTSD issues for veterans have been treated with both, and with success.
      I am a firm believer that nature’s plant world contains everything we need as a species for everything that ails us. We constantly think we can synthesize and improve on these natural healing agents (for profit) and instead seem to end up with crude facsimiles and with often blunt results of that is not in balance with us. The irony (and increased profit) for the pharmaceutical industry is that many medications produce side-effect issues that require further medication to manage…and so the vicious cycle can continue.
      My analysis of feeling depressed is analogous with feeling stuck – like standing still with no forward movement in life – and from that hopelessness emerges and then a sense of worthlessness can develop, and the spiral down takes hold. The psychotropic plants and fungi seem to have a special affinity with or brain/consciousness chemistry and seem to offer solutions for relieving mental issues, naturally.
      I have also found it interesting that many special psychedelic plant ‘medicines’ that have been banned for so long as schedule 1 are now starting to be seriously studied under controlled conditions for their therapeutic value (remember that schedule 1 means ‘of no therapeutic or medical value’) eg. magic mushrooms (psilocybin) is now being clinically trialled in some countries (America and Australia) as an aid to relieve the trauma of facing imminent death.
      Patients in a hospice condition that have been prescribed psilocybin have been found to emerge with a new quality of life and this has also improved the quality of life for family members in spending time with the patient with what remains for them. Interestingly, many patients put their experience using psilocybin as one of the topmost profound of their entire lives and the experience seems to take away their fear of death!!
      I personally can vouch for this after my experience with ayahuasca (7 ceremonies) under the care of an experienced shaman in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Ayahuasca is an ancient native medicinal tea that has one of the most potent and natural forms of DMT that can be taken orally. The resultant healing experiences were profound and hard to put in words.
      The long and short is that these medicines (and I do see them as natural medicines) are powerful and seem to work with miraculous results and often can bring a degree of permanent relief with the ability to let go of reliance on prescribed medications, but (and here is the caveat) you should be careful about how you use them.
      They are best not seen as easy medicines you can just take at any old strength, as aids for some form of entertainment or for checking out on life. They need to be treated with respect and understanding and used correctly with the right intent for what ails you.
      I would NEVER, NEVER take ayahuasca without being in the correct place with the protection and guidance of a true shaman and without a clear goal and purpose for taking the tea, and much as Ayahuasca (described as potentially 20 years of therapy in 3 ceremonies by some) may seem a short cut back to health and happiness again, the experience of taking it and the experiences that result can be very hard work.
      With CBD and MJ my caution would be to know the best way of taking the medicine, the dosage strength and frequency and that means getting good advice from a sympathetic doctor or qualified natural therapies person, as too much can cause problems and too little may not achieve what you need for your condition and the cash you spend.
      For your condition, a wise approach and good advice will (more than likely) give you great relief and I hope this relief can be longterm for you, if not some degree of permanence.
      My very best wishes to you!

  2. Possession of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil is illegal in the Philippines but patients who need cannabis for medical purposes may seek a special permit for compassionate use.

    • Hi Aika,
      From what I have observed recently in news on the Philippines, the president’s wholesale campaign on eliminating ‘drug’ use would make using or holding cannabis for any reason in any form very dangerous. I would be very careful there.
      Unfortunately, valuable and useful plant medicines, that are very important for treating some major health issues, are caught up in these nationally proclaimed blanket ‘wars on drugs’ campaigns. There tends to be hysteria without proper understanding and information on the difference between abuse, criminal and illicit drug activity Vs. what natural plant-based medicines and in what form are important for health, and in some cases critical for survival. I would think, without knowing the details, getting a permit would be very difficult, but even if obtained, getting the right supply would be equally treacherous?
      There was a case in England some months ago with a woman that desperately needed access to cannabis oil to treat her son’s brain seizures and had enormous problems with being blocked from access. It was a serious issue for the boy and doctors weighed in to get a compassionate decision.
      It shouldn’t be that difficult and, of course, Big Pharma does not like competition for their product alternatives, which may not be as effective and in fact proven addictive. Ironically, in the US, there has been a major serious addiction issue with the opioid-based prescription pain medicines epidemic with products like Oxycodone. Further irony has been shown in a study of 2,000 legally prescribed medical marijuana users where significant numbers in the study were able to drop dependence on opioid painkiller medicines altogether when they started taking cannabis.
      The light on the horizon is a change in the law that is slowly rippling through the US and will continue around the world. Politicians that were vehemently against cannabis being legalized for any purpose are now busy working out how far they will go with legalization in their state and how much tax revenue they can skim from a controlled cannabis access market. In Colorado, tax revenue from cannabis is now exceeding that on alcohol!
      I hope common sense will also eventually find its way to the Philippines for the sake of those who need cannabis for medical reasons. Cheers!

  3. Have actually been considering medical marijuana to treat my anxiety and depression and this article has helped me to make an informed decision.

    • Hi Enrique,
      I am so thrilled that the article was a help for you. Depending on the state that you live in, you can hopefully get a medical marijuana card without much difficulty, with a referral from a GP. I wish you the best with the access and treatment. Keep smiling!

  4. marijuana should be legalized all over the world. Let me note that marijuana in its purest form does not cause a high instead it has a lot of amazing health benefits

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