As marijuana becomes more socially acceptable, as well as used in medicinal practice, many people with anxiety and depression disorders are wondering if medicinal marijuana might be the best way to deal with their condition. While in some cases, it has been proven to help, in others, it can only hurt. While many people in the medical community support marijuana in medicine, those considering using it should understand that it is not a one size fits all medication.
In some cases, marijuana has been shown to increase depression, though no solid studies are available. However, proponents of using it argue that it is an ideal form of long term medication, especially for those who would normally take narcotics.
If you’re considering medical marijuana, you should try to determine if you are a good candidate before you talk to your doctor. Some things to consider.
- Marijuana is not a cure-all. There are certain mental illnesses that marijuana is not recommended for. While it might help in the face of anxiety or panic attacks, it is often not ideal for people who suffer from more serious disorders like schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder. In some cases, it’s also not been recommended for individuals with depression, though most studies were inconclusive.
- It’s not available everywhere. Chances are, if you’re searching for marijuana for mental illness, you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Check your state’s laws carefully, as we would not encourage you to use marijuana illegally. Nothing causes more anxiety than an arrest record!
- How will you use it? Marijuana is no longer just a smoking substance. Capsules, candies and oils are available to reduce the potential of throat problems due to inhaling smoke. Keep in mind that smoking is often the cheapest method and the most readily available.
- Do you have a history of substance abuse? While marijuana is physically non-addictive, people do become emotionally addicted. This is a substance that you will use as needed. As a result, it’s easy to overdo if you’re not sticking to a controlled schedule.
- Are you comfortable with the stigma? Marijuana is the most commonly used recreational drug in America, with an estimated 1 in ten adults using regularly. This popularity has giving marijuana a disreputable reputation and some people won’t believe that you’re using it strictly to control an illness. Are you able to deal with people who think that you’re using your illness as an excuse to do drugs?
- Can you afford it? For many people, prescriptions are covered by insurance. This is a good thing, as these anti-depressant or anxiety prescriptions could cost a lot of money. But marijuana is rarely covered under health plans, do to the controversy. Going on a medicinal marijuana regimen can be costly with no insurance.
If you are considering using marijuana for your mental illness, then you need to consider all the variables. This is a drug that comes with much more of a stigma than any other drug, and might not be ideal for all illnesses. If you are thinking about it, you should discuss the possibility with your medical provider.
For most people who suffer from depression, their problem is pretty obvious and mainly emotional. There might be a feeling of hopelessness and difficulty maintaining interest. Sometimes, those symptoms aren’t so obvious though. In many cases, people might have physical symptoms of depression that they mistake for something else.
Headaches – The frequent tension felt during depression can present itself as tension headaches that can feel as bad as migraines. For someone who is depressed, these headaches might cause frustration and anxiety, which will result in a cycle of depression and ongoing headaches. Headaches also have the additional side effect of making people light sensitive, which might make them not want to leave the house.
Back pain and body aches – It’s hard to tell if chronic pain causes depression or if depression causes chronic pain, but the two often go hand in hand. While it’s difficult to pinpoint why, it might be due to the way the person carries themselves, or limited physical activity, but people with depression frequently suffer from some form of chronic pain. Exercise is known to help with depression, but those with chronic pain might be more hesitant to participate in exercise. Chronic pain is so common in depression, that some anti-depressants are actually used to treat chronic pain.
One of the keys to curing an illness is to find out the root of that illness. When it comes to mental illnesses, that can be a bit more complicated. The brain is a mysterious thing and there is still a lot we don’t know about it. So when it comes to panic and anxiety disorders, there is a lot of controversy over what actually causes these disorders. Some of the following has been suggested.
They’re hereditary – In families, if a parent has panic attacks or a panic disorder, their children might be more likely to have the same disorder. Whether it’s a physical condition causing the attacks or whether the child is learning a behavior from their family is unknown.
Massive life changes – Increases in anxiety can cause people to experience panic attacks. When the stress is prolonged, the person might start suffering from panic disorders as they are not able to handle the level of stress they are feeling, and instead, suffer from that stress all the time.
Medical conditions – Sometimes, a medical condition might be misdiagnosed as a panic disorder. Someone that has a mitral valve prolapsed, which is a condition in the heart that makes the valves close improperly, might experience symptoms similar to a panic attack. Hyperthyroidism, which involves an over active thyroid and hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, might also lead to symptoms similar to a panic disorder.
Traumatic events – Some people only suffer anxiety during certain times. When they experience this fear out of nowhere, it’s often considered a phobia, while experience fear due to trauma is usually considered a situational panic disorder.