According to World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 350 million people across the globe. This is a scary statistic because it is a disabling condition that can lead to suicide. What is even more frightening is that we’re looking at a very conservative statistic. Now, one woman says cannabis treats depression, and she’s calling for recognition of what she observed in her own life.
Mass Roots spoke to Maggie Volpo, an author, mother and dedicated medical cannabis activist who has dug deeply into the subject of depression. She says she suffered from depression almost all her life.
Nothing helped Maggie
Maggie says she was miserable and found no relief in therapy and pharmaceutical anti-depressants. She tried three different kinds. Some made her moodier. Some made her sleep more of an issue, and she had no creative ability. Because of these unpleasant side-effects, she no longer wanted to use anti depressants.
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Serotonin imbalance doesn’t cause depression
Most anti-depressants have negative side effects. These range from insomnia to causing birth defects. There’s a theory that depression results from a serotonin imbalance, but a study at Florida State University seems to indicate that this widely-held belief is hogwash.
Anti-depressants focus on serotonin, and yes, anti-depressants could make some people feel better. But if a cup of coffee can wake you up, does that mean you had caffeine deficiency to start off with? That’s Maggie’s reasoning. She says many cases of depression come from trauma, lack of social support, and abuse.
Chronic stress causes depression
Volpo says the amount of stress modern men and women must live with exceeds their coping capacity. Normal everyday commitments cause stress as do drastic life-changes and tragic events. Scientists agree that chronic long-term stress can cause depression.
Stress affects us all. We are constantly connected to streams of negative news. We hear of mass shootings, climate change, hate, terror, accidents and terminal illness. The pressure is huge. People have no choice but to internalize the pain and stress, which leads to depression, insomnia, anxiety physical health problems.
How cannabis treats depression
If depression is actually caused by stress, it is no wonder that cannabis, the strongest relaxation inducing plant known to man, can turn it around. Volpo says that the very first night she used cannabis she slept well. She felt a little groggy in the morning, but other than that, she was fine.
She felt a resurgence of hope, something she hadn’t experienced for years. Cannabis worked for her in a way that no other medicine or therapy session ever did in the past.
Reduced endocannabinoid production
Samir Haj-Dahmane, PhD recently found that animal models under chronic stress showed reduced endocannabinoid production, leading to behavior equal to depression.
Compounds from cannabis can restore normal endocannabinoid function and could stabilize moods and ease depression, says Haj-Dahmane. This is the scientific evidence that backs Vopo’s claim. She says cannabis treats depression, and she may well be perfectly correct.