Medical Marijuana for those with Depression
There is evidence that marijuana works for some psychiatric disorders. Principally depression and bipolar disorder. Among some people, marijuana is jokingly referred to as “green Prozac”.
“I think cannabis has a lot of potential in the treatment of mental illness,” says Lester Grinspoon, emeritus professor of psychiatry at the Harvard School of Medicine. He says that it can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder and depression. Like any medicine, he cautions, ” it will not work for everyone. ” Grinspoon has, over the last three decades, been one of the few psychiatrists willing to speak publicly on ” mental marijuana.”
Two weeks ago, the Israeli army said it would provide, on an experimental basis, medical marijuana to troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, another mental illness. Good enough for an army, good enough for me.
The Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission was petitioned to add mental illness to its list of approved uses of medical marijuana. The commission denied the request. It argued that there was no rock-solid scientific evidence that weed worked for mental illness. The odd thing is that it had approved pot for treatment of Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, chronic pain, and wasting syndrome based upon –– anecdotal evidence.
Yes… Clinical depression is a very serious illness. People with this condition have long-term, often debilitating feelings of sadness and low self-esteem. There can be suicidal thoughts. Depression makes ordinary tasks such as going to work, cooking, cleaning, even personal hygiene, very difficult.
Once a doctor has evaluated the symptoms, prescription medications are routinely prescribed. There are many types of anti-depressant medications: tricyclic antidepressants, MAOs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs neither (serotonin-nor epinephrine reuptake inhibitors) and a few others.
A very recent analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jan 2010) stated that antidepressants are only effective for those with severe depression. Those patients with mild to moderate depression had no benefits with prescribed medications. However, these medications are prescribed with alarming frequency to those patients who may not benefit. Pharmaceutical companies profited $9.6 billion in 2008 on antidepressants alone. Is it about your health and well-being or about money?
To add insult to injury, the side effects from antidepressants can be serious and unacceptable for many people. Sometimes the side effects are worse than the symptoms of depression. Here are some of the side effects for each type of medication.
* as always please be sure to consult with a health professional to assess the risks and rewards of adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment program.