When you have a baby, it is supposed to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. But for millions of women around the world, the months after the birth of their child are among the worst they ever face as postpartum depression takes hold. Instead of enjoying the wonderful feeling of motherhood, they feel utterly miserable, and most of them can’t figure out why.
It is only after seeking medical help do they realize that their misery has a name. After decades of ineffective prescription drugs, it appears as if taking marijuana for postpartum depression is a viable alternative to traditional medication.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder associated with childbirth, and it affects men as well as women. Anywhere from 11-20% of women who give birth end up exhibiting postpartum depression which equates to around 600,000 females in the United States each year.
This figure comes from the Centers for Disease Control but only relates to live births. If you include all pregnancies, including stillborn children and miscarriages, the figure increases to 900,000. Various studies even suggest the rate of PPD increases to 25% in low-income areas.
It is a very different issue to ‘baby blues,’ and if left untreated, PPD has the potential to devastate families. Although the condition impacts everyone differently, it is often debilitating enough to disrupt everyday life significantly. Women that suffer from postpartum depression realize that they ‘don’t feel right’ but are unable to put their finger on why they feel that way.
As it transpires, their pregnancy has inadvertently led to PPD. During pregnancy, the body releases powerful hormones, and it undergoes constant changes from conception to several months after giving birth. This process leads to frequent, and often substantial, mood changes. After delivering the baby, a woman’s level of estrogen and progesterone plummet, and while some women are relatively unaffected, others experience a noticeable change in mood.
While ‘baby blues’ lasts for a few days immediately after birth, PPD is clinical depression, and the symptoms can linger for years if left untreated.
What Are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
It is easy to mistake PPD with baby blues initially, but if the symptoms persist for longer than a couple of weeks, it’s clear that there is a problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Excessive crying
- Major difficulties ‘connecting’ with your baby
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Sleeping too much or an inability to sleep
- Reduced interest and joy in things you used to like
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- An inability to think clearly or make decisions
- An innate sense of worthlessness
- A feeling that you’re not a fit mother
- Thoughts of death/suicide
- Severe mood swings
- Thoughts of self-harm or hurting the baby
In rare cases, women suffer from postpartum psychosis which is a more severe form of PPD. It typically develops a week after giving birth, and symptoms include:
- An inability to sleep
- Disorientation and confusion
- Actual attempts at hurting yourself or the baby
Postpartum psychosis must be tackled immediately as it is a life-threatening condition.
What is Life with Postpartum Depression Like?
In a word, miserable. It is difficult to describe unless you have experienced it, but it’s safe to say that for people suffering from PPD, the world is a very dark and bleak place. The novel Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel offers a unique insight into the world of a woman with postpartum depression.
It says that one day you realize that your life isn’t worth living and “one morning you wake up afraid that you’re going to live.” Depression is a completely different feeling to typical sorrow or sadness because it “involves complete absence: absence of affect, absence of feeling, absence of response, absence of interest.”
When you suffer from PPD, your mind is constantly filled with dark negative thoughts, and your behavior affects everyone around you. Family and friends are unable to communicate with you, and the baby doesn’t receive the love of its mother. In basic terms, PPD ruins your life.
Conventional (Non Marijuana) Remedies for Postpartum Depression
This process involves talking about your experiences with a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. You use therapy to find better ways to cope with how you feel and learn how to respond to situations positively.
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants include Paxil, Zoloft, and Luvox but it is possible that some SSRIs will pass to your baby via breast milk which is obviously a problem if you’re breastfeeding. As a result, your baby could suffer from the following symptoms:
- Watery stools
- Excessive crying
- Difficulties sleeping
- Loss of appetite
Medical Research on Marijuana for Postpartum Depression
Marijuana is already well known for its antidepressant effects, but obviously, new mothers must steer clear of any strain with high levels of THC. CBD has already shown real potential as an antipsychotic, antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. It also doesn’t provide the psychoactive high associated with THC.
There are a variety of studies which show that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD potentially assist in the regulation of the endocannabinoid system and offer some relief from depression. Relevant studies include Ashton & Moore in 2011 and de Mello et al. in 2014. Perhaps the biggest advocate of marijuana for PPD is the women that have used it to improve their lives.
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Postpartum Depression
1 – Charlotte’s Web (The Famous Marijuana Strain)
This strain gained international fame when it was used to successfully treat Charlotte Figi, a young girl who had Dravet’s Syndrome. It is the ideal marijuana strain for postpartum depression because it is extremely low in THC at 1% and high in CBD at 20%. This indica dominant hybrid (60%) will not get you high, yet it is arguably the most powerful marijuana medication available.
Overall, Charlotte’s Web is a relaxing strain that is perfect for anyone seeking the medicinal benefits of marijuana without the high. As well as treating pediatric seizures, it is highly effective at helping users cope with depression, and it offers a powerful pine smell with an earthy taste and floral tones.
2 – Cannatonic (A Marijuana Strain for Your Spirits)
This strain is higher in THC at 7-15%, but it also contains 12% CBD and 1% CBN. Don’t be fooled by the name, Cannatonic won’t get you high, but it will provide you with an uplift both physically and mentally. It is a 50/50 hybrid that is especially popular in California, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest.
Users of Cannatonic say that it helps focus the mind and they experience strong warming and numbing sensations that flow all over the body. It is effective when dealing with stress, mood disorders, and anxiety and as it has a high ratio of sativa; your mind will remain clear so you can enjoy being a mother.
3 – ACDC (Packed with CBD Goodness)
This strain is another popular antidepressant, and once again, it is an excellent choice for new mothers because it is very low in THC and high in CBD. You can find ACDC strains with up to 20% CBD against just 1% THC. It is a cross between Ruderalis and Cannatonic and provides you with an unusual but very pleasant taste along with a citrus aroma.
Users report a strong euphoric impact on their body which makes them feel very calm and happy. It enables you to become more focused on your work, and after smoking ACDC, you tend to become a lot more sociable. There is even a suggestion that this strain helps boost your creativity.
4 – Harlequin (The Hybrid Marijuana Strain)
This strain is an unusual hybrid cross of Thai & Swiss Landrace and Colombian Gold. It has one of the highest THC: CBD ratios on this list but instead of getting you ‘high,’ Harlequin enables you to remain focused and alert because its THC level is still relatively low at a maximum of 15% and it is often as low as 7%.
One of the main reasons why you won’t get high is because the CBD content counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. The main mental effects experienced by those using Harlequin include anxiety relief and a ‘mellow’ feeling. You should be able to focus and remain alert after using this strain.
5 – Sour Tsunami (The Sweet Marijuana Strain)
Although this strain’s THC level can be as high as 13%, it is completely offset by the extremely high CBD level which can reach 30%. Unlike most CBD strains which are indica dominant, Sour Tsunami is slightly in favor of sativa. The strain is famed for its strange sweet and diesel fuel smell with an occasional chocolate aroma.
It is ideal for postpartum depression because it isn’t deemed ‘strong’ enough for recreational users, but it will improve your mood and alleviate pain without causing you to ‘veg out’ on your sofa. Sour Tsunami should keep you relaxed, and it tends to take effect relatively quickly.
Find out how you can have CBD delivered to your doorstep (all states) and how it it helps Depression…
Final Thoughts About Marijuana and Postpartum Depression
For far too long, women have suffered from postpartum depression in silence. It is a genuinely debilitating, and in some cases dangerous, condition which is capable of tearing families apart. Conventional medication doesn’t work as often as it should, but an increasing number of new mothers swear by the efficacy of marijuana to treat their postpartum depression. It can improve your mood and keep you calm without negatively impacting your ability to be a mother to your child.