Cannabis and Seasonal Depression
With mental health becoming more and more of a focus in our society, diagnosis of depression, as well as S.A.D. or seasonal associated depression, are more openly talked about. Around this time of year, many of us end up evaluating the past year, spending time with family around the holidays, and indulging in a lot of nostalgic retrospection. For better or for worse, many people suffer from S.A.D and depression, that rears its ugly head in the winter months; cannabis has been used as a tool to help manage these symptoms and allow a break or reprieve from the sometimes hostile confines of our own heads.
How does cannabis affect depression?
Cannabis is a plant-based medicine that has very different effects and interactions within everyone’s system, so before continuing to discuss what cannabis can do for someone suffering from depression, we want to emphasize the importance of traditional treatment methods. Cannabis is not a replacement for depression medications, talk therapy or other doctor prescribed treatment. It’s important to speak with a doctor to discuss the relationship and use of cannabis with other medications or treatments you may be undergoing.
S.A.D. or depression can throw a spoke in the wheel of life very easily. These mental health issues impede our ability to regulate our emotions, sap the energy and motivation from our day to day, interrupt our sleeping patterns, and drastically decrease the quality of life. Looking at the symptoms of S.A.D., we can start to understand why cannabis has been utilized as a potential treatment.
- With S.A.D, a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite is common. The system in our body that controls our hunger regulation is thrown out of whack, and people begin to overeat or undereat.
- Sleep deficiency and irregular sleeping patterns are also affected by S.A.D. whether a patient oversleeps or undersleeps are situational.
- Regulating emotional responses, in both the surplus and the lack of are a huge and prominent symptom of S.A.D.
All of these symptoms are controlled by the bodies regulatory systems. These systems control the homeostasis of our bodies, which simply means they are responsible for keeping the body in balance and functioning optimally. Cannabinoids from cannabis, such as THC and CBD, are absorbed by our endocannabinoids system, which is closely entwined with our bodies regulatory systems; when our endocannabinoid system is engaged by THC and CBD, one of two things happens.
- In areas that are understimulated, the absorption of THC and CBD will help boost function, easing our systems struggle for balance,
- or they reduce stimulation of our systems in areas that have a surplus, returning our systems back to a more harmonious state.
To make that confusing paragraph a little more clear, THC and CBD essentially balance the systems in our bodies responsible for helping our bodies reach homeostasis by either stimulating or depriving certain areas, depending on the natural state of the system.
For example, S.A.D. can be responsible for overeating (past what is considered healthy in maintaining weight), or undereating resulting in weight loss, the endocannabinoid system in our body regulates appetite, consuming cannabis stimulates this system directly affecting the desire to eat (the science behind “the munchies”).
This time of year is hard for many people, and while cannabis can be a great option for many people suffering from S.A.D. or depression it’s important to properly regulate progress and symptoms. Mental illness is something we never recommend self-medicating, for the safest, best results please make sure you speak with a doctor.