Guest Post: 10 Real People Explain How Cannabis Helps Their Depression
By: Shannon Ullman
Cannabis and depression, do the two go hand-in-hand? Now that cannabis is becoming more normalized, people are questioning how it can help them as a plant medicine instead of just looking at it as a party drug. We were interested in how real people are using cannabis to help their depression, so we took to Reddit to find out. Here’s what people had to say about how they use marijuana to help them deal with depression.
"Fades my depression"
“I have noticed that smoking weed fades my depression. But, my depression is a day to day thing. Some days I feel fine. And other days, I can barely talk myself into getting out of bed to face the day. But, I know that when I'm having a bad day... I light up a bowl, and it definitely makes my day better. It's a temporary fix, and it is probably the wrong approach... but it's something.”
"Relaxed muscles and better sleep"
“Weed is a very personal experience. I fought clinical depression from age 15 to 22 (I'm 23 and finally feeling ... Not sad all the time). I was on [prescription drugs] for sleep and it was so intense I felt like a zombie. At 19 I decided to smoke a joint. Wow what a difference! After a tough withdrawal off [prescriptions] (rly tough. Emergency room tough.) I started to smoke a joint or two at night. My muscles relaxed, my mind wandered, and I was hungry and laughing for the first time! My psychiatrist has been following my weed consumption. We watch for red flags- if my mood starts to fluctuate too much after I smoke, anxiety while I smoke, etc. I suggest if you want to start smoking weed to be smart about it and make sure that someone in your mental health team who is positive to keep a close eye on it.”
"More sociable, happy, hopeful"
“I love weed. I don't get to smoke it that much, but when I do I'm a different person; more sociable, happy, hopeful. But it seems to me that the day after is always rough... I'm fuzzy, tired, kind of on edge. Really don't think it's a good idea for a long-term solution, myself. I've heard that prolonged use can lead to increased anxiety too.”
"Helps escape problems"
“Weed helps me escape my problems for a couple of hours, but then I zone back into reality and feel about the same as I did before I got high. It is pretty great for getting to sleep though, feels comfy man. The feeling when you're high is not for everyone but I really enjoy it.”
"Weed has picked me up off the ground"
“My depression tends to come and go floating anywhere from average to near-suicidal despite where I may be and what I'm going through. Weed has picked me up off the ground. It elevated me to a new height. For once everything was serene and blissful. From personal experience, don't use it as a crutch. Use it as a band-aid. Once you rely on weed for happiness, weed is the only thing that will make you happy.”
"Takes the edge off mental pain"
“I got a vape and, if given the option, would micro-dose every evening, which seems to take the edge off the mental pain, allowing me to think more clearly about emotional things. This is very good for me because I have both anxiety and depression, and certain strains are really good for anxiety. However, it cannot and should not ever replace therapy and a full treatment plan.”
"I was able to enjoy life"
“For me, it was just wonderful. I'm a super lightweight, so a quarter of a mixed joint would last me the night. I could just... live. No nagging, depressive, guilt-tripping, sometimes suicidal thoughts; I could just live and even enjoy the experience that is life as I ate wasabi peas while watching the Last Airbender. The feeling of just being able to live my life would last for a couple days after a session, even.”
"I’d probably be dead years ago if it weren’t for weed"
“I smoked almost every day after work and all day on weekends before I was able to get professional psychiatric help. Now with meds, I smoke only on really bad days, or socially. But it helps me a lot, to be honest. I'd probably be dead years ago of my own accord if I hadn't gotten turned on to weed. However, I try to moderate the amount I use (just like any other drug I take), and avoid days where the derp-hangover can affect my work performance.”
"It makes me feel like a kid without a care in the world"
“I've been smoking weed for 10 years now to battle my depression. It works great if you can keep yourself motivated when you're high. It'll make your depression worse if you just smoke and sit around doing nothing. The thing about being high, is it makes me feel like a kid without a care in the world. I smoke and suddenly I don't care that I'm depressed. I feel that I must say that weed is just like every other medication for depression. It's not a cure, but a mask. However, it's the only thing that has given me enough distance from the feeling of depression that I was able to function.”
"It helps for many reasons"
“Depression is a problem with my head... it affects my mood, my appetite and especially affects my sleeping patterns. I work in customer service... sometimes getting off work at 2 am and sometimes going to work at 7 am. I am unmedicated otherwise, but am able to be normal with minimal marijuana use daily. I have been smoking daily for 19 years, but had to give it up for financial reasons 2 years ago (for 8 months). I suffered no physical symptoms from my withdrawal, but I admit that my appetite, mood, and sleep suffered from not having marijuana at the time. It isn't JUST the marijuana that is helping the average depressed smoker... it is also the quiet time away from the public (most don't smoke at work or in the middle of the street) and the reflective nature of being more in tune with your mind while being more isolated than normal. I don't know anyone whose depression symptoms were made worse by marijuana, but I am sure one exists somewhere. I don't suggest substance use to anybody, but using marijuana and making that a meditative short-cut to a place where I can reexamine my life and my headspace has been a blessing to me for going on two decades.”
While cannabis is not a cure-all for depressed people, some are finding that it helps. Everyone is different and while cannabis may help some people with their depression, it could make it worse for others. Take some time to learn about yourself, experiment with different strains, and talk to a mental health professional to get their opinion.