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Is Cannabis a Causer of Depression?

Lately, I’ve been struggling with fatigue and depression. It feels hard for me to get out of bed to go to the gym in the mornings, I spend much of my time scrolling on my phone, feeling vague FOMO (fear of missing out) when I click through friends’ socially active Instagram stories… while also drenched in total exhaustion. I usually feel guilty regret the next day, that I have chosen to stay at home, couch locked, waiting for someone to offer to come hang and smoke weed with me, so I don’t have to leave my little bubble.

I’ve been wondering if smoking as much cannabis as I’m used to consuming has been, in fact, detrimental to my journey toward optimal functioning. Of course, I am usually much more of the mindset that there’s a strain, ingestion method, and dosage for every and any occasion. I have trained myself to believe that if I want to feel a certain way, there’s marijuana for it. Writers like myself have been compiling listicles about the best strains for sex, working out, sleep, productivity, creative work, pain… practically any human condition can be sought after with weed. Yet, even with various percentages in THC, CBD, and different combinations of terpenes, there is still the bottom line for getting high is just that- you’re altering your psychoactive state with the chemicals specific to the cannabis plant.

As I am constantly re-stating, only much more robust research, long term especially, will be able to definitively tell us what constant cannabis consumption clearly does to a body. Patterns have been observed and theorized without being able to make clear links to cause and effect. For example, the Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/marijuana-and-depression/faq-20058060 has noted that in studies, regular or heavy cannabis users are diagnosed with depression at a higher rate than nonsmokers. It cannot be said however, that marijuana is the direct cause of this. There are many other factors at play in genetic makeup or environment that can catalyse depression.  I personally have always found marijuana to have, more often than not, a numbing effect on my emotions. Heavy users probably experience the same dullness of feeling. While having your emotional spectrum reasonable shortened can certainly give you the appearance of depression, that can actually manifest as real deadness inside. I know I’ve seen friends just too stoned too often to express genuine excitement. Other studies reported by Mayo Clinic and NPR have seen a link between cannabis as a trigger for psychotic episodes or even schizophrenia. These risks are likely presented in people who have a genetic predisposition toward these mental illnesses. Ultimately, there is a relationship between cannabis and depression, but clear evidence to support it is lacking. And then the study of cannabis as a treatment for depression, apparently at lower usage levels, should absolutely be considered!

I myself am not on any antidepressant regimen nor do I intend to be in the near future. What I will consider is taking longer, more frequent tolerance breaks from cannabis (which, in effect, would make consuming cannabis more of a special occasion event), and lessening my dependence and habitual routine of use. Even if I do decide I need to decrease my overall ingestion of cannabis, there’s still plenty of ways to benefit from it without tampering with my mental state. You can always catch me in the skincare, topicals, and muscle relief section at the dispensary.

 

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