How do you deal with depression? How do you cope with what seems to be a specter of sorrow—invisible yet, like a demon confining the damned, able to grip on one’s heart so tightly you can’t breathe? How do you survive that?
Psychiatrists treat their patients diagnosed with clinical depression using prescription drugs like vortioxetine (Brintellix), which improves focus and memory retention but has the unfortunate side effect of diminishing one’s sexual drive, among others. As of the time of this writing, Brintellix can cost around $300–$400 for a month’s supply.
For the average person, that may not always be feasible.
Is there a cheaper alternative for treating depression? As it turns out, there may be a better option.
Marijuana as a Panacea
While technically a downer drug, recent studies on cannabis revealed that the substance decreases symptoms of depression in several ways. For example, cannabis increases serotonin, which is a natural chemical in the brain that controls mood, sleep, and appetite and is the target of typical antidepressant medications.
THC and CBD, the two most known compounds in cannabis, both contain antidepressant effects. However, research on nonpsychoactive CBD as a viable treatment for depression is more conclusive than THC’s, as studies on the latter are still lacking.
With the rising acceptance and legalization of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States of America as well as in many countries around the world, the substance may be a more economical and more accessible treatment for depression than regular antidepressants are.
Perhaps the only problem would be the intoxicating properties of cannabis, which may impair one’s performance, particularly in the workplace. However, many companies are also reviewing their policies on cannabis use, especially if it’s prescribed by a psychiatrist. Besides, there are legitimate ways to pass workplace hair drug tests.
Most people think that depression is just a state of being morose. However, that’s not quite accurate. Depression is more like losing one’ s meaning in life, like thinking that there’s nothing worth living for, thus leading to the decision of ending one’s life.
It’s different from nihilism. Depression is a mental disorder; nihilism is a worldview. A clinically depressed person thinks that their own individual lives are worthless compared to others, while a nihilist believes that all life—everything—is meaningless.
Yet despite that contrast, depression leads to more suicides because it dangles false hope in front of its victim. It’ll whisper dark thoughts in your mind, keep you second-guessing your actions, and feed on every negative emotion—anger, hate, despair, lust, greed, pride, angst, and all the rest, not just sadness.
Depression can strike at anytime without warning. It can lurk inside a cheerful person then plunge their mood down the dark abyss. It’s when tragedy pushes comedy off the script, off a cliff. Worse, it’s spreading at a concerning rate.
This is only a quick overview on cannabis and depression, but it should be enough to give you an idea of how the substance affects the disorder. There are people who suffer silently.
If you know someone who is hurting, recommend them to a psychiatrist. And if they have no means to seek conventional treatment, let them know there are alternatives that can help them fight depression. There is always an option to continue living. There is always a meaning to life.