Study: Marijuana Can Help Battle Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and Addiction

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Cannabis has long been a taboo in the medical world, owing to the fact that it is still classified as a Schedule I drug, together with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methadone, and peyote. And sadly, it still is – in spite of the numerous findings that prove its beneficial effects.

Despite the negative stigma on marijuana, the scientific community has started analyzing the positive effects of cannabis use and how they can actually save lives. There are countless studies that point to the benefits, and anecdotal evidence is booming from every corner.

Now, to take things one step further, the most comprehensive research review on cannabis ever done reveals just how useful it can be in the fight against depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.

Analyzing over 60 studies and articles on the medical effects of marijuana as well as its effects from recreational use, the Canadian team of psychologists has come to revelations that only confirm of its life-saving potentials.

Given the generally-accepted negative view on cannabis use, and thus the little guidance which is offered, the research team led by Zach Walsh, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, decided to delve deeper into what it actually does to those who use it, and what cannabis users report.

The beneficial properties of the two main cannabinoids THC and CBD, as the authors point, have helped many people who are struggling with mental disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, and even to those who are fighting with addiction.

“In general, people who use cannabis say it helps them relax and reduces anxiety,” Walsh says. “And we know that many PTSD sufferers are using cannabis to treat their symptoms.”
When it comes to depression, Walsh notes that although the evidence found in the studies wasn’t quite as strong as the rest of the conditions, it has been found that cannabis could, in fact, improve mood while addressing the symptoms that often co-occur with it.

Which is more, the research found that cannabis has, in fact, “the substitution effect” for opiate dependency. “When you replace a harmful drug with a less harmful drug, it’s a big benefit from a public health standpoint. In some states where medical marijuana is legal, there has been a 25 percent reduction in opioid overdoses,” notes Walsh.

Of course, cannabis should not be regarded as the panacea of the 21st century. It’s a fact that, like any other drug, cannabis is not suited for every condition. Welsh explains that while it may prove useful for the mentioned conditions, it could be risky for people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

He advises that if you have any of these conditions, you should use caution, especially with high-THC cannabis, which may increase mania. And, as a side note, although there haven’t been any cannabis-related overdoses, high quantities can be as harmful as they can be useful, and it all goes down to the individual and the way their body accepts the substance.

“I believe cannabis should be treated the same as other medicines,” says Walsh. “It should be held to the same standards and subject to the same risk-versus-benefit evaluations. We know that its negative effects are certainly tolerable compared to those of many medications we use, so let’s not leave behind all the people who aren’t finding relief in traditional therapies.”

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