Weed and Depression

The Link Between Weed & Depression

Author: Michael Por MD  Editor: Alexander Bentley  Reviewed: Philippa Gold
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Understanding Weed and Depression

 

Most people who consume marijuana do so for its mood-altering abilities. Pot gives people a high and allows them to relax. However, heavy consumption of marijuana can cause unwanted results. It can increase the anxiety and depression a person experiences. Research has found that anxiety is one of the leading symptoms created by marijuana in users11.M. Mirzaei, S. M. Yasini Ardekani, M. Mirzaei and A. Dehghani, Prevalence of Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Adult Population: Results of Yazd Health Study – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6702282/.

 

Individuals feeling depressed and anxious may be prescribe an antidepressant medication. There are some antidepressant users who also consume weed. These individuals may not realize that there are side effects and consequences to consuming both marijuana and prescription antidepressants.

 

Marijuana & Depression

 

Since the 1980s, researchers have completed trials on the effects of THC and CBD on depression and anxiety. For the most part, the results of marijuana’s effectiveness to help people deal with depression and anxiety have been positive. However, the sample size of the trials has been small.

 

While the research on weed and depression and anxiety is positive, studies on weed and antidepressants is almost nil. There is still little that researchers know about the side effects of mixing marijuana and antidepressants have on a person. The reason for so little information on the side effects of the two is mostly down to marijuana being illegal in most places – although a number of states in the United States have legalized the drug.

Self Medicating Depression with Weed

 

A lot of people suffer from depression. How many? According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), in any given year, it is estimated that nearly 16 million adults experience depression.

 

Unfortunately, that number is likely to be wrong due to under reporting. Many people do not report suffering from depression because they do not want to be looked at as suffering from a mental illness. The stigmas around mental health continue and people do not want to be labeled as depressed.

 

Due to the cost of treatment in the US, many people self-medicate with marijuana. It isn’t just the cost of treatment for depression that turn people onto marijuana, however. Many people use it to feel “high” and get themselves out of the doldrums of depression.

 

Some people may feel good and less depressed after smoking or consuming pot. However, not everyone will feel better with weed and depression. The results can be based on the individual. One of the aspects that can make a person’s anxiety and depression worse is the strength and strain of the weed. Users should know the strength of the weed as the stronger it is, the worse they may feel.

Side Effects from Mixing Drugs and Weed

 

Anyone mixing drugs and weed is likely to experience side effects. This happens with all medications whether weed or alcohol is mixed with them. Side effects can be harmful when mixing drugs and weed. Although antidepressants are a mood booster and mixing marijuana with them would seemingly improve a person’s mood even more, this is not the case.

 

Doctors are likely to refuse a patient an antidepressant prescription if the individual is a marijuana smoker. That could be due to the lack of studies and research completed on the mixing of medical drugs and marijuana.

 

Heavy, long-term weed use is harmful for people. It alters the brain’s functions and structure. In the long run, a person can become even more depressed. There is a belief that marijuana is all-natural and not harmful to a person’s health. This is not true and weed can cause health issues the more a person consumes it.

 

Weed Affects the Potency of Antidepressants

 

The way in which the body absorbs and processes an antidepressant may be affected by weed. Therefore, the potency of the depression medication may be less effective. Marijuana inhibits the metabolization of antidepressant drugs22.V. A. Grunberg, K. A. Cordova, L. C. Bidwell and T. A. Ito, Can Marijuana Make It Better? Prospective Effects of Marijuana and Temperament on Risk for Anxiety and Depression – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4588070/. Not having the right potency of antidepressants, a person may either have a delay in the relief of depression or symptoms increasing.

 

A person seeking antidepressant medication that uses weed should speak to their doctor. It is important the doctor knows about a patient’s weed use, so they can prescribe the right medication and strength. It is important for the doctor to know about their patient’s marijuana use.

 

Quitting Weed to take Antidepressants

 

Medical professionals say an individual prescribed antidepressants should not stop using marijuana cold turkey. Heavy pot users should especially avoid going cold turkey. The side effects of withdrawal from weed will add to the depression. A person will experience anxiety, irritability, loss of sleep, change of appetite, and depression by quitting weed cold turkey and starting antidepressants.

 

A person beginning to use antidepressants should cut back on weed slowly. While reducing the amount of weed use, combine it with mindfulness techniques and/or yoga. Experts stress that non-medication can greatly improve a person’s mood.

 

Weed vs Depression

 

Weed can be placed in three different drug categories:

 

  • depressant
  • stimulant
  • Hallucinogen

 

Marijuana affects a person in various ways. Different types of marijuana produce different side effects. Side effects may include:

 

  • loss of motor skills
  • poor or lack of coordination
  • lowered blood pressure
  • short-term memory loss

 

Although weed may seem like a depressant, it can be a stimulant for some people who use it. Some users may experience:

 

  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • increased energy
  • increased motivation

 

Marijuana can also produce hallucinations in users. This makes the drug a hallucinogenic for some users. Weed creates different side effects in different people, making it a very potent drug. Now, mixing mental health drugs with weed can cause even more unwanted side effects.

 

Weed and Depression

 

Long-term weed use can make depression and anxiety worse. In addition, using marijuana can prevent prescribed antidepressants from working to their full potential. Stopping marijuana use cold turkey when beginning antidepressants can add to a person’s issues.

 

Weed consumption should be reduced gradually to get the most out of antidepressants. Marijuana is a drug and it is harmful to individual’s long-term health. Weed has many side effects and the consequences are different to each person who uses it.

 

Previous: Thinking about a Depression Treatment Center?

Next: Depression After Quitting Alcohol

  • 1
    1.M. Mirzaei, S. M. Yasini Ardekani, M. Mirzaei and A. Dehghani, Prevalence of Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Adult Population: Results of Yazd Health Study – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6702282/
  • 2
    2.V. A. Grunberg, K. A. Cordova, L. C. Bidwell and T. A. Ito, Can Marijuana Make It Better? Prospective Effects of Marijuana and Temperament on Risk for Anxiety and Depression – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 18, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4588070/
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Alexander Bentley is the CEO of Worlds Best Rehab Magazine™ as well as the creator & pioneer behind Remedy Wellbeing Hotels & Retreats and Tripnotherapy™, embracing ‘NextGen’ psychedelic bio-pharmaceuticals to treat burnout, addiction, depression, anxiety and psychological unease.

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