Marijuana for depression may be the next cause that defenders of marijuana legalization latch on to after a new study has indicated the drug could be a viable form of treatment.
Huffington Post reports that neuroscientists from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions found that “endocannabinoids — chemical compounds in the brain that activate the same receptors as THC, an active compound in marijuana — may be helpful in treating depression that results from chronic stress.”
This marijuana study was conducted on rats and found that production of this chemical compound goes way down under conditions of chronic stress, thus causing a reduction in “our cognition, emotion and behavior,” the news site adds.
While the science isn’t exact at this point, researchers believe that a lack of production for endocannabinoids could explain a lot when it comes to the development of depression, as they “have been linked to reduced feelings of pain and anxiety, increases in appetite and overall feelings of well-being.”
After placing the rats in the study under stress, they applied marijuana cannabinoids to the creatures and found it to be an effective way of restoring the levels of endocannabinoids that are naturally produced in the brain.
“Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression,” lead researcher Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane said in a university press release.
A second study published prior to this marijuana for depression study found that marijuana can be of assistance in controlling the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
“The findings of our study suggest that the connectivity within the brain’s fear circuit changes following trauma, and the administration of cannabinoids prevents this change from happening… This study can lead to future trials in humans regarding possible ways to prevent the development of PTSD and anxiety disorders in response to a traumatic event.”
The marijuana legalization effort has picked up a great deal of steam since 2012, when voters in Colorado voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.
Since that time, very few ill effects have been reported in the news, and a recent article on the Inquisitr even touted the enormous tax benefits that the state has seen from its decision.
Do you think that the momentum favors nationwide legalization, and should the medical marijuana supporters be latching on to alternative uses like marijuana for depression to better make their case?
[Image via Shutterstock]