Medical Marijuana and Mental Health Conditions

Medical marijuana is gaining ground as a viable treatment for a wide range of physical conditions, from those undergoing cancer treatment to those living with Parkinson’s disease. Less publicized, however, are the many benefits of medical cannabis for those suffering from mental health conditions. In this blog, we will examine how cannabis can help those with mental health issues. 

Marijuana and Depression

Depression is one of the most severe and most prolific mental health conditions.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 17.3 million American adults – or 7.1% of the adult population – have experienced at least one major depressive episode. According to their data, women are more likely to experience depression. While it is difficult to cure depression completely, there are ways to manage depression so that it does not significantly impact daily life. Medical marijuana is one of those treatments that offer great hope. Cannabis releases endorphins into the system, which can elevate one’s mood and improve cognitive abilities. 

Although to this point, pharmaceutical antidepressants appear to have a more substantial effect on depression, they are known for undesirable side effects, including potential overdose and death. Marijuana offers a safer and more natural alternative treatment. 

Marijuana and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia patients exhibit fairly serious mental symptoms, which may include experiencing hallucinations or struggling with speaking coherently. These symptoms occur when the disease causes them to experience random psychotic events and lose the ability to discern reality. The condition makes life exceptionally difficult, as the patient will struggle with maintaining a normal daily life, such as having healthy relationships or keeping a job. Fortunately, medical marijuana is showing promise for the treatment of this disease. 

Cannabis significantly impacts the nervous system, produces antipsychotic effects in the patient’s brain, making a schizophrenic episode less likely. Conversely, high concentrations of THC may make psychosis associated with schizophrenia worse

Anxiety and Stress

The incidents of anxiety are on the rise, one of the tangential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before 2020, however, anxiety was the most frequently reported mental health condition, as most people will experience anxiety at one point or another. However, some individuals feel anxiety to the point that they need to seek help, often because of the onset of panic attacks. 

The most desirable treatment method is to relieve the anxiety source, but this is often not easy nor possible. Medical cannabis has emerged as one of the most effective treatments for anxiety and stress.  

Cannabis may encourage a healthy appetite, promote restful sleep, and elevate a sense of calm, alleviating anxiety and stress. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Marijuana 

Tragic events in an individual’s life can result in a mental health condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While PTSD is often associated with military service, people may also experience PTSD after any traumatic event, including abuse or a loved one’s death. 

PTSD forces the individual to relive the trauma they were exposed to when triggered by a specific stimulus. A war veteran with PTSD may be triggered by a car backfiring or fireworks show, while an abused woman may be triggered by a particular song that reminds her of the abusive situation. These traumatic PTSD episodes will manifest differently for each person, have one thing in common – the patient relives the past event and may be confused as to where they are currently. Medical marijuana works by helping compartmentalize (or forget) certain events as well as increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain, reducing both the severity and the frequency of PTSD events.  

Can Medical Cannabis Help You? 

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health condition and would like to explore the benefits of medical cannabis, call Dr. Daniel P. Stein at Neurology of Cannabis in Sarasota. 

Dr. Stein is a renowned expert in neurology and medical cannabis. He is available to speak with you regarding your health and treatment options.