As cannabis continues to improve its image in popular culture, articles abound on the internet about the benefits of marijuana use. Administered properly, cannabis has some proven benefits. One of the most talked about alleged benefits is the treatment of depression with marijuana. This is quite different than marijuana withdrawal depression.
An article came out in the Huffington Post earlier this year titled “New Study Finds Marijuana to be Effective Against Depression”. This is cited abundantly by marijuana proponents to defend both medical and recreational marijuana use.
This bit from the article is far less quoted:
However, it’s important to note that the relationship between marijuana and depression is complex. Some research has suggested that regular and heavy marijuana smokers are at a higher risk for depression, although a causal link between cannabis use and depression has not been established. More studies are needed in order to determine whether, and how, marijuana might be used in a clinical context for patients with depression.
There probably will be a study on people at some point, but doses will be controlled and the human subjects will be closely monitored. This is quite different than firing up a joint whenever you feel like it.
Self-Medicating with Marijuana to Treat Depression
When people say they can self-medicate with marijuana for depression relief, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I will defend their right to smoke weed for whatever reason. But I can also tell you from personal experience, that everyday self-medication can worsen depression.
I tried marijuana for the first time when I was 19. Kind of late comparatively speaking, and did not enjoy it the first time. However, I tried it a few more times to be social. I really began to enjoy it in my mid twenties. I used recreationally at what I considered a reasonable rate. As the anxieties and stress of adult life mounted, I began to self-medicate with marijuana more often.
I have always been a bit melancholy and for a long time weed was my antidote to feeling depressed. My problem was the more I smoked weed, the more depressed I felt when the effects of weed wore off. This led to increased weed use and worsening depression.
I quit smoking marijuana several times in an attempt to break the vicious cycle. Each time I did this I would go through a week or so of feeling wretched. This is true marijuana withdrawal depression. Eventually this would even out into my normal state of mild melancholia.
I sought professional help for depression on a couple of different occasions. Both times I was prescribed anti-depressant drugs. I did not like these drugs and eventually quit taking them. This led me back to my on again, off again love affair with marijuana linked with its depressive side effects.
Smoking Weed Everyday for Depression
I am not a doctor or a scientist but I can tell you that marijuana was the worst way I could deal with my depression. Anyone who used to self-medicate the way I did knows exactly what I’m talking about. By the way, I never abused any other substance. Marijuana was my thing.
I have seen a correlation between depression and marijuana use in other people as well. I’ve spent plenty of time around other weed smokers. Those who never quit their daily habit seem to be the ones who are most dissatisfied with their lives. Through my own observation, I have all the proof I need that regular marijuana use is not the path to happiness for me or others I’ve known.
Still, I’m not against legalization. In a free country adults should be able to make their own choices if they do not harm anyone else. Hopefully, studies on both the pros and cons of marijuana use will go on at length. What we don’t need is the antagonism between PRO-POT or ANTI-POT camps. We need more middle ground brought into the general discussion on weed.
For most of the population, recreational weed use is fairly harmless. There are also legitimate medicinal uses for marijuana. As for those of us who have self-medicated with weed to treat depression, we have discovered the hard way, that cannabis is not the all-natural cure we once thought it to be.