Robert Bergman

May 9, 2019

Depression is a debilitating disease affecting nearly 350 million people worldwide and 15 million Americans.

Although a variety of medications treat this condition, many patients choose alternative therapies to avoid uncomfortable side effects.

Cannabis has been used as treatment for thousands of years. Now, in addition to medical marijuana, CBD oil is available to reduce the symptoms without harmful side effects. This article explains what depression is and how marijuana can treat it.

In this video, the ‘Mental Health Herbalist’ explains how CBD and its potential as a treatment for depression. He also provides links to 13 research studies regarding this subject.



What is depression

While everyone feels sad or even depressed once in a while, depression is the prolonged, intense feelings of sadness. It encompasses other, more severe emotions such as helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. This type is treated with modern medicine and generally speaking, doesn’t naturally go away on its own unless treated (unlike bouts of depression in response to a significant or traumatic event).

What causes depression

This condition is surprisingly common. It can cause disability, and within the next few years, it could be the leading cause of disability (second only to ischemic heart disease). The tricky part is that people with it (or their loved ones) are always hunting for a reason behind their disease. They assume there must be an external cause of the sadness rather than the real cause, which is a biological one. Major depression affects almost 15 million Americans.

Causes of Depression
Causes of Depression

Types of depression

While clinical depression is typically diagnosed in adults, there are also other types unique to children or teenagers. Childhood depression is when a child suffers from something more than just the average ups and downs of being a child. Sadness every day for prolonged periods of time is a strong indicator that a child suffers from this. Other signs such as behavior that isn’t allowing the child to have normal family life, social life, interests, and activities, or complete schoolwork could mean that he or she has childhood depression.

With teenagers it can be a little trickier, as it isn’t so uncommon for the feelings of teenagers to be changing often. If unhappiness lasts for 14 days or more and the other symptoms of depression (listed below) apply as well, it could be depression rather than the natural mood changes that come with adolescence.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information about different types

Other types include major depression, chronic depression (which includes dysthymia), bipolar depression, seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder, or “SAD”), psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and substance-induced mood disorder (SIMD).

Major depression is the leading cause of suicide in the United States. Clinical depression is often left untreated, causing the symptoms to worsen and sometimes lead to the worst case: suicide. If someone is talking about suicide or death, it could be a warning sign — call a hotline immediately.

Symptoms of depression

There are some signs, many of which are normal in small or short-lived amounts, but if they persist without relief, then they can be signs of clinical depression. Some of the biggest indicators include a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, or else an ongoing depressed mood in general.
To diagnose, these symptoms would have to be present for at least 14 days and would persist on a daily or almost daily basis. It cannot be diagnosed if it is a side effect of using a specific medication or drug, or from some other condition like hypothyroidism. The symptoms of clinical depression include:

Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of Depression
  • Having trouble decision making, remembering details, or concentrating
  • Less energy, fatigue
  • Consistent feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Consistently pessimistic or hopeless
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping, wakefulness in the early morning
  • Restless and irritable
  • Losing interest in hobbies, activities, or sex
  • Losing pleasure in life in general
  • Changes in appetite
  • Physical pain, such as cramps, headaches, or digestion issues
  • A feeling of emptiness, sadness, and/or anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Current treatments for depression

Conventional treatment often includes prescription drugs called antidepressants. The trouble with figuring out an antidepressant regimen is that it often takes a fair amount of trial and error to find the right combination. And even then, there are the side effects.

Because of the side effects of prescription drugs, patients must pick and choose which side effects they are willing to live with. These side effects often include dry mouth, nausea, nervousness, lowered libido, headaches, insomnia, drowsiness, appetite changes and so on. They are expensive and can be harmful.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information about current treatments

Other forms of treatment of at least the symptoms of depression include counseling and lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly. Depression is different for everyone, so there is no one common treatment.

CBD and depression

Using marijuana to treat depression is actually nothing new. There was even a written recommendation found as early as 1621 for using it to treat feelings of melancholy. Doctors in India used to subscribe Cannabis to their patients who had depression during the 1600s as well.

CBD for Depression
CBD for Depression

Marijuana works faster than antidepressants, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the assertion that it has the same beneficial effects as antidepressants do. It works by stimulating the endocannabinoid system in your body and causes the faster growth of nervous tissue. The beauty of marijuana is that it does not have the dangerous side effects that any prescription drugs would have.

Marijuana is known to enhance mood, give the user energy, help them focus, calm anxiety, stimulate appetite, and help with sleep. In other words, it can fight the symptoms of depression very effectively.

Medical Research on Medical Marijuana and depression

In 2006, one study showed that people who regularly used marijuana did not suffer from as high of levels of depressive symptoms as people who did not use marijuana regularly. This supports the findings of other such studies, including one between 1990 and 2007 that found men between the ages of 20 and 39 had lower suicide rates after medical marijuana was allowed in their state. While substances such as alcohol are correlated with higher risk of suicide, such studies show that marijuana has the opposite effect.

Medical Marijuana for Depression
Medical Marijuana for Depression

Another study showed that stress and depression tend to cause natural endocannabinoids in the body to be depleted. In theory, these missing endocannabinoids could be replaced with the ones in marijuana, bringing the body back to homeostasis (and relieving a patient of depression). Human trials have yet to be done, but the future is looking bright.

Medical Research on CBD and depression

CBD is a highly important cannabinoid in marijuana known as Cannabidiol. It is responsible for a broad range of the beneficial medicinal properties of marijuana. With specific regards to depression, CBD has been shown in numerous studies to fight the symptoms of depression and treat it altogether.

One study demonstrated that CBD has effects similar to antidepressants, specifically in a Cannabis sativa strain of marijuana. Although it was an animal study, it has the potential for improving the lives of millions of people suffering from depression.
Another study showed the antidepressant effects of CBD in mice, much like imipramine (a type of prescription drug used as treatment already). Of course, CBD would not have the same side effects as found with imipramine.


It’s important to understand the difference between CBD and THC when thinking about how depression can be treated by medical marijuana. CBD are cannabinoids that interact with the receptors in our brain and immune system. While both are cannabinoids, CBD and THC work differently.

Understand the Difference

CBD has properties that benefit physical conditions such as inflammation, gastrointestinal system, emotional disorders, neurological diseases, pain, and even potentially cancer cells. THC, on the other hand, gives the “high” feeling and stimulates appetite, treats fatigue, and helps with asthma. Both can be beneficial for patients with depression.

How to take medical marijuana for depression

There are a number of ways to take medical marijuana as a treatment. You can choose strains that are high in THC, high in CBD, or even high in both. Sometimes a little trial and error is the best way to figure it out. Thankfully, trial and error with marijuana does not include the same side effects as trial and error with pharmaceuticals.

Smoking or vaporizing marijuana will provide the quickest relief to those suffering from depression. Some side effects come with smoking, of course. Vaporizing is better because the therapeutic effects of marijuana will not be dulled by the heat since it does not need to heat up as much as with smoking.
Other ways of taking marijuana include edibles, pills, tinctures, or transdermal forms. These are made from marijuana oil, sometimes known as CBD oil (if it is highest in CBD).

CBD oil to treat depression

CBD oil can be extremely useful in the treatment. Because stress can cause the depletion of natural endocannabinoids in our bodies, marijuana can help treat that by replacing the depleted ones with the ones found in a marijuana plant. It is a natural cure for a growing epidemic.
While this is still in its theoretical stages, what’s not theoretical is the anecdotal evidence that using marijuana can be highly beneficial to people suffering from depression.

CBD oil for Depression
CBD oil for Depression

CBD oil is a concentrated form of marijuana, allowing the user to get fast and beneficial relief. For some people, the absence of THC is helpful because they don’t want that “high” feeling that comes with consuming marijuana high in THC. Therefore, CBD oil can be the perfect solution.


Grow your own depression medication

The beauty of using marijuana as a treatment rather than a prescribed medication is that it is a plant. If a plant is your medicine, you are easily able to grow it yourself. This allows you to get the supply you need, whenever you need it.

TIP: Looking to buy medical seeds? Check out this marijuana seed shop

The key thing to decide before growing marijuana is which strain you should choose as a treatment and the specific symptoms you have. The best marijuana strains for depression include low THC hybrids such as Blueberry and CBD-rich sativas, Cheese. Order the seeds today and finally find some natural and effective relief.

Have you ever tried medical marijuana and did it work out for you? Please share your experience in the comments below.


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The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


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