Euphoria vs. Inflammation

Depression
is difficult to treat because it is a symptom of many origins—such as genetics,
brain chemistry, daily life, etc.—and as a consequence, requires many different
approaches to treat. Treatments from psychiatric analysis to exercise, pills
and electro shock therapy have all been tried with varying degrees of success.

Cannabis,
anecdotally the best treatment option for most cases of depression, is not
recognized by most physicians, but has more recently been recognized by new and
exciting research.

Depression Clouds Cannabis @doobieculture
Depression Clouds Cannabis @doobieculture

Many
depressed people find cannabis beneficial due to its unique ability to produce
euphoria with a minimum of negative physical and psychological effects. However
like most of the prescription anti-depressants, cannabis doesn’t solve the
underlying problem associated with depression—it just makes life more livable.

But,
over the last 20 years, research papers have been connecting depression to the
disparate condition of inflammation.

Inflammation
is essential for life—without it there wouldn’t be life as we know it.
Inflammation is how the body protects itself from stress whether that be
from an injury in a car accident, a bacterial infection or the loss of a job.

Why
inflammation leads to depression is a question that is still being studied, but
numerous research papers have found that inflammation is positively correlated
with depression, i.e. more depression means more inflammation. Correlation does
not equate to causation, but if true, then the powerful anti-inflammatory
properties of cannabis may be one of the reasons so many depressed people find
it so effective.

Inflammation
causes the production of cytokines, which regulate inflammatory responses.
Inflammation needs regulation—the right amount is very good—too much can be
very bad. That’s where cytokines come in—some cytokines increase inflammation
and some cytokines reduce inflammation. That’s where cannabis comes in, as it
induces production of cytokines that reduce inflammation.

The
fact that inflammation causes depression has been confirmed by studies showing
that anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce depression by suppressing inflammation.
Of course, cannabis wasn’t one of the drugs studied, but a new study released
in February 2015 by researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Research
Institute on Addictions reported that the endocannabinoids, which our bodies
produce, aid in the treating of depression, caused by inflammation producing
stress.

However,
just because the endocannabinoids our bodies produce can cause a reduction in
stress and thereby lower inflammation, doesn’t mean that the cannabinoids in
cannabis can do the same thing. That’s what we pay researchers to find out.

Laboratory
mice were administered cannabinoids from cannabis. The data confirmed that
these cannabinoids functioned as well as the body’s own endocannabinoids in
relieving stress and the accompanying inflammation.

According
to lead researcher Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane, “Using compounds derived from cannabis
to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize
moods and ease depression.”

Samir Haj-Dahmane PhD; Senior Research Scientist; Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology; Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo; 2018

Notice
that he said “restore normal endocannabinoid function.” If the body does not
produce sufficient cannabinoids, our ability to deal with stress successfully
is reduced. In our modern industrialized world buffeted by economic, government
and inter-personal forces beyond our control, it should come as no surprise
that stress levels are increasing to a degree that our bodies cannot produce enough
endocannabinoids to deal with all the stress that permeates our daily lives.
Like insulin, if we don’t produce enough cannabinoids, we need to take in
additional amounts from external sources.

People
who have depression are likely to ingest cannabis several times a day depending
on the intensity of their depression. For some reason, that makes them a “degenerate
addict” unlike the people who take multiple doses of Wellbutrin or Zoloft every day
with their multiple egregious side effects of seizures, cardiac complications,
anxiety, insomnia, suicidal thoughts and a veritable litany of other
deleterious reactions.

No
doubt giant pharmaceutical corporations like Novartis, Pfizer and Merck are
stressing out over losing a significant portion of the $9 billion spent on
anti-depressants each year. Whether their stress will cause inflammation,
producing depression, is hard to predict, but if it does they can go to their
doctors who, just like they recommend calcium for osteoporosis, will recommend
cannabis as the first line supplement-of-choice for
treating depression.

cannabis-and-depression-@doobieculture
cannabis-and-depression-@doobieculture

By Lanny Swerdlow, RN

Sohel Parvez Haque

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