3 Popular Questions About Marijuana & Depression Answered

Depression is something that the majority of us face at some point or another—according to the World Health Organization, 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Most treatments for depression may include therapy or some kind of pharmaceutical like Cymbalta, Zoloft or Prozac.

But cannabis has been used as a treatment for depression for hundreds of years, and now people are re-discovering the plant’s mood-uplifting properties. Marijuana can combat depression because it works with our endocannabinoid system to boost compounds that regulate everything from appetite to memory to mood.

We’ve compiled the most popular questions from our Answers page exploring the use of marijuana to alleviate depression. If you think you may want to add cannabis to your depression treatment, please consult with your doctor first.


Q: What type of cannabis can be taken for depression?

Answer: @ddlim
Hi there, I’m not an MD, but I can tell you that depression is a very common reason for people to use medical marijuana. You really just need to experiment and find the right strains/products for you. Take a look at this article, which lists some good strains for depression.

There are also a number of holistic approaches you can take in addition to cannabis. This article goes over some of these.

Read more answers to this question.

Q: I would like to know the best type of marijuana for depression and anxiety.

Answer: @dneice In discussing mood disorders, I like to separate the discussion into two parts: symptom relief and alleviation of the possible underlying cannabinoid deficiency that may be contributing to your depression and anxiety.

For immediate symptom relief of depression, the sativa and sativa-dominant strains such as Jack Herer, Blue Dream, Green Crack, and a host of others work. However, if you also have anxiety, sativas have been known to increase this.
For anxiety, strains like Grand Daddy Purps, among others, seem to work. You’ll have to find the strains that work for you and one may work better at one time and another may work better at another. The terpenes in cannabis also contribute to your sense of wellbeing and I would investigate aromatherapy as a less expensive and perhaps more effective way to get the terpenes into your system.

To alleviate the chronic condition of depression and anxiety, I would suggest taking a high CBD/low THC tincture to start two to three times a day, but base your dosage on the recommendation of whatever brand you purchase. We have found that CBD patches and different ratio patches 18:1 or 4:1 (CBD:THC) patches work as well. These modes of administration allow for consistent bio availability and thus allow your body to work full time on helping you get better (contrasted with smoking, which only gives your body three to six hours of bioavailability). We have seen a lifting of mood within a day or two, but sometimes longer.

On another note, moderate exercise, meditation, and watching what you eat (start taking an Omega 3 supplement and avoid processed foods) can also help with mood disorders.


Q: Which strain is ideal for a serotonin deficiency?

Answer: @drkim Hello, and thank you for the great question.

For a reduction in the symptoms of depression, I recommend a very small dose of sativa or, even better, obtaining a vaporizer pen from which was specifically formulated for depression; it can also be dosed precisely.

There’s preliminary research that has shown low doses of cannabis to activate serotonergic neurons, thereby increasing serotonin—and has even been shown to exert potent antidepressant-like properties in the rat forced-swim test (FST). However, the same study showed that higher doses of cannabis actually reduced serotonergic action from baseline.

Considering the above, it becomes clear that cannabis is best used at the lowest dose and frequency possible to address your depression. There is both scientific and a plethora of anecdotal evidence that heavy cannabis use can lead to the worsening of depression.

Photo credit: Andrew Neel

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s easy, private and 100% online.


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