Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Around the world, approximately 322 million people deal with the symptoms every day. On an annual basis just under seven percent of adults in the US reportedly experience one or more depressive episodes. These numbers mean you likely know someone right now who has (or has had) a depressive disorder. Perhaps you have experience with this challenging mental health issue yourself.

People around the world have long used cannabis as a way to decrease the effects of depression, long before we studied it. Based on what we know today, is there enough scientific support for this therapeutic application? As is the case with so much of cannabis science, the research about cannabis for depression is limited. It’s challenging in part because unlike cancer or chronic pain, animal studies on depression aren’t very accurate representations. How do you tell if a mouse or lab rate is depressed? Therefore, much of what we know today is based off case studies, anecdotal reports, and patient surveys.

How effective is cannabis for the relief of depression? Recently researchers at Washington State University dug into user data from a mobile app called Strainprint. The self-reported database is a valuable resource in today’s climate, where there is a little robust clinical study about cannabis for mental health issues.

The researchers discovered in nearly 90 percent of the sessions users reported a reduction in their symptoms of depression. Ninety percent is not a statistical anomaly. This patient-reported data is also supported by another survey from Brightfield Group and HelloMD. This report uncovered that close to 45 percent of patients who CBD, used it for the treatment of depression.

Robust clinical trials about cannabis and depression have thus far focused on finding a casual relationship. What this means is that most studies have looked at whether or not marijuana causes depression (not whether it relieves depression). The good news after all this research is cannabis doesn’t cause depression (except perhaps in people with a cannabis-dependence disorder). In most cases is no evidence suggesting that using cannabis will increase the severity of your symptoms.

If you are curious about the therapeutic applications of cannabis for depression, it may be worth exploring. Speak with your health care provider for more information about how to safely introduce cannabis into a holistic approach. Keep in mind, in some cases marijuana might not be appropriate. Based on the user-submitted information collected by the researchers from Washington State University, high CBD strains proved most effective and preferred by users. Try keeping the dose low, and stick to high CBD strains to start.

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