In 2011 it was revealed that Australians are the second highest anti-depressant users in the world, with 89 in every 1,000 people taking a form of the medication. For a long time, typical anti-depressants have been the prescribed answer for those suffering from depression, but what if there was an alternative?
The University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions has conducted a study into the use of marijuana on depression. They have found that depending on the nature of the depression, marijuana can be an effective treatment.
Depression that is associated with chronic stress means that there are less endocannabinoids being produced by the brain – a hormone that is associated with motor control, cognition, emotions and behaviour. What the researchers identified was that Endocannabinoids are similar to the chemicals found in marijuana and it’s active ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC.
Because of this, it is likely that marijuana could be an effective treatment for depression caused by long-term stress. It’s a shocking revelation as for many years studies have linked marijuana use to depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
The lead researcher, Dr Samir Haj-Dahmane has said that chronic stress is a leading cause of depression, highlighting just how important this discovery could be. They have not yet begun trials using different forms of marijuana and different types of the drug but this is a work in progress.
The most interesting thing out of all of this is the big question: would we take marijuana for our depression if our doctor suggested it?