Did you know that more than 20% of people in the United States report having a depressive episode within any given month? Furthermore, it is estimated that around 350 million individuals suffer from depression worldwide, and this is just one of the many mood disorders that exist. With statistics like these circulating around, it is safe to say that much of the world can relate to mood disorders and the difficulties they can bring about in both the lives of those who have them, and also those who are close to these individuals.
This fact is one of the reasons why understanding what exactly mood disorders are, is so vital to the overall education of our world, allowing more and more people to feel comfortable about opening up if they believe they may be suffering from a mood disorder, for they are definitely not alone. Many patients of medical marijuana suffer from mild to severe mood disorders, and reports suggest, because of the help of marijuana, a lessening of the negative causes of a variety of mood disorders.
In this informational article, we will first begin by discussing much of what there is to know and understand about mood disorders, and later tie in the medical marijuana element, specifically which marijuana strains have benefitted cannabis patients who struggle with mood disorders, often times life long and on a daily basis.
Keep reading to learn more about the 5 best strains of cannabis that can heal mood disorders…
What Are Mood Disorders?
In definition and in reality, mood disorders are complex and multi-dimensional, so there are a lot of factors at play, especially when it comes to a professional making a diagnosis. Technically speaking, a mood disorder is simply a serious change in mood, but this definition is, in many ways, up for interpretation, except when dealing with a professional.
Professionals often categorize mood disorders into different forms, and these classifications typically fall under one of these conditions; bipolar disorder, depressive disorder (severe depression), persistent depressive disorder (a low grade but long lasting form of depression), cyclothymia (mild bipolar disorder), and seasonal affective disorder. These conditions listed are some of the more common ones, but other mood disorders do exist beyond just the aforementioned.
Bipolar Disorder is a complex mental condition in which the mind swings from one end of the spectrum to the other, often times from mania to depression. This is only one pattern possible of individuals with bipolar, and many experience bipolar differently, making diagnoses sometimes challenging. There are approximately 3 million cases of Bipolar every year in just the US alone, so this condition is quite common, although it does not actually have a cure. The three primary factors that distinguish Bipolar from other mental conditions, involves distinctive changes in activity, energy levels and mood. An individual showing obvious signs of these three occurrences could, in fact, be given a diagnosis of Bipolar.
Depressive Disorder, which does share some similarities with Bipolar, (they are both mood disorders after all), is categorized primarily by a loss of interest in activities and a sad or depressed mood, which can severely impair functionality and progress within day to day life. The primary difference between Bipolar and Depression, is that Bipolar often has the high points (mania), while Depression mostly contains the lows and sadness without a persistent upwards lift. As with Bipolar, Depressive Disorder also has no cure, but is extremely common in the United States with around 3 million cases every year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is probably the least severe of the three mood disorders we are covering in this section, and this is primarily because this condition is cyclical and does not persist all year round or have unexpected stopping and starting points. It is specifically defined as a depressive disorder always appearing at the same time every year. It is typically treatable with the help of a professional, and does not impair the ability to live day to day as much as Bipolar or Depressive disorders do.
Causes and Symptoms:
The cause of mood disorders is not truly fully understood, but they are thought to be existent due to a combination of three factors: inheritance (genetic predisposition), environmental factors or life events, and brain chemistry. Often times, those who have family members with a mood disorder diagnosis, are more likely to have that disorder themselves. Other times, environmental factors or traumatic life events can trigger an episode that can persist for long periods of time and arise repeatedly throughout life. On an anatomical level, many mood disorders are thought to be due to chemicals in the brain either not being present, or interacting improperly. For many with mood disorders, their conditions are usually a blend of all three of these factors. It is vital for more research to be conducted regarding mood disorders, so that further information can be discovered and used to help all those suffering from these often debilitating conditions.
In general, the symptoms of mood disorders can vary significantly from person to person, but we will at least explain the most common symptoms for clarity and education:
- The feeling of being helpless or hopeless in life or about life.
- Ongoing sadness, emptiness, aloneness or anxiousness.
- Feeling excessively guilty, inadequate or worthless.
- Persistent low self-esteem.
- Aggression, hostility or irritability towards others.
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or a suicide attempt (these symptoms are extremely serious and any individual with these symptoms should get help from a professional, immediately).
- Loss of interest in activities or events that were once enjoyed, including decreased or nonexistent sexual drive.
- Strange sleeping patterns; sleeping too much or too little.
- Difficulties with energy (fatigue) and loss of appetite, (including loss of weight).
- Comfort or stress binge eating, or a sudden spike in weight.
- Sensitivity to criticism or rejection.
Conventional Medical Treatments That is Not Marijuana:
As of now, most mood disorders do not have an absolute, definitive cure, but there are some conventional medical treatments that have proven to be successful, and have even allowed some individuals to begin living a normal life again. Primarily, medications are used to treat Depression and Bipolar, as well as talk therapy, and sometimes a combination of the two.
Some common medications prescribed for Depressive disorder patients includes; SSRIs, (e.g. Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, Lexapro), SNRIs, (e.g. Cymbalta, Fetzima) and MAOIs, (e.g. Parnate, Marplan, Nardil). Many other medications and classes of medicines exist for the treatment of Depressive Disorder, but there are just too many to cover all in this article.
For Bipolar Disorder, often times other types of medications are prescribed than anti-depressants, although some individuals are given a combination of drugs, which can include an antidepressant, such as one of the common types listed above. Some frequently prescribed Bipolar medications includes; mood stabilizers, (e.g. Lithobid, Depakote, Lamictal), antipsychotics, (e.g. Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon, Latuda) and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medication). Much of the time, some combination of these medications is prescribed to individuals with severe Bipolar disorder.
It is thought by professionals and medical experts, that the correct combination of medication and traditional talk therapy, can be an especially effective method at managing mood disorders.
Medical Marijuana and Mood Disorders:
The trend among cannabis and medical conditions, tends to be that marijuana assists with some of the symptoms from the ailment, but with mood disorders cannabis often takes a step further with its ability to heal and generate a lasting impact. Depression specifically, and the depressive side to Bipolar, seem to be quite significantly affected, (in a positive manner), by the consumption of certain marijuana strains. Although cannabis does also assist in lessening the impact of some symptoms of mood disorders, (e.g. fatigue, insomnia, lack of appetite, aggression, etc.), it also acts as a relief to the actual depression itself, with many patients turning towards cannabis as an alternative to conventional medications and therapies. Additionally, the use of medical cannabis as a depression relief is often times paired up with regular talk therapy, acting as a sturdy combination for some individuals with depression.
Here are 5 marijuana strains that help with both depression and the symptoms of mood disorders…
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Mood Disorders
1. Lamb’s Bread (sativa)
A potent and powerful sativa characteristic for its sticky, green buds, Lamb’s Bread is a quintessential sativa marijuana strain for assisting those who suffer from depression, stress, or a combination of the two. It is an especially uplifting marijuana strain that both acts as an energizer, working to fight against fatigue, as well as bringing about happy vibes and positive introspection, two aspects that many individuals that suffer with depression need a little more of in their day to day lives.
2. Headband (hybrid)
A world famous mix of OG Kush and Sour Diesel, the Headband hybrid marijuana strain is potent in THC, making just a tiny snap go a very long way. Patients suffering from mood disorders will discover fast relief from depression, or sad, depressive symptoms, (feeling worthless, inadequate, guilty, etc.), with this mood heightening marijuana strain that lets you lose that inner, critical voice a little, and just relax, unwind and enjoy the moment. Presenting a THC ratio at around 20-27%, Headband knows how to pack a powerful punch.
3. Northern Lights (indica)
Northern Lights is considerably one of the most famous indicas within the marijuana community, but helping mood disorders is actually one of its often forgotten specialties. NL has a profound ability to numb the mind and body, bringing about a complete relaxation, and even eventually sedation, which is brilliant for individuals specifically who suffer from Bipolar, happen to be experiencing a period of mania and need to calm down. This indica will do just the trick, allowing you to get to sleep soundly, waking up the next morning feeling more balanced and refreshed. Also an ideal marijuana strain for any mood disorder patients who struggle with insomnia and lack of appetite. This indica will make you munchie out hard and pass out fast.
4. Green Crack (sativa)
Although, Green Crack is not suitable for all mood disorder patients, it is especially healing for those who suffer from purely depressive symptoms and have trouble even just getting out of bed during the day. As the name suggests, this sativa is ultra energizing, which means that is causes fatigue and oversleeping to become a thing of the past, motivating those who are feeling sad or hopeless to take that first, and often difficult step of beginning their day.
5. Cannatonic (hybrid)
Flaunting a rare 1:1 THC to CBD ratio, Cannatonic has an ability to help alleviate the painful and debilitating symptoms of many medical conditions, including depression. In addition, it works wonders at numbing chronic pain, stimulating appetite, uplifting the spirit and also relaxing muscles and body tension, which helps make it easier to unwind and even fall asleep if you are feeling tense. This unique marijuana strain is magical for patients suffering from depressive disorder especially, or even SAD.
Final Thoughts About Marijuana and Mood Disorders:
Although some research shows cannabis’s effectiveness at assisting mood disorders and their symptoms, none of what is written in this article should be taken as advice, and you should always consult with a licensed professional before making any decisions regarding how to treat your mood disorder. Only your physician and you can decide what is right for you, and none of what is aforementioned should be seen or interpreted as medical advice. It is important to remember that the consumption of marijuana is the sole responsibility of the user and discretion should always be taken. We hope you have found this article to be educational and informative.