Cannabis & Depression: What Science Has to Say

Cannabis & Depression: What Science Has to Say

Woman finding internal peace

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For years and years, cannabis in Las Vegas was illegal or restricted only to those who met strict legal requirements. As a result, there was a shortage of research about its benefits. But not that legal cannabis in Las Vegas is available for wide use, and is becoming more widely available in other states as well, we’re learning more about its benefits.

One of the most fascinating areas of research and customer experiences relates to cannabis and depression. More and more people are asking— can cannabis treat depression? And if so, what’s the best way to go about it?

While we’re primarily a recreational Las Vegas cannabis dispensary and don’t want to go too far into the realm of questions best suited for experts, we wanted to provide a short overview of the potential links and research behind cannabis and depression and how you can start to explore how using cannabis to help with depression symptoms might be able to help you or someone you love.

Defining Depression

First of all, it’s important to address exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about depression. Depression is categorized as a mood disorder, and in severe cases it can leave people who suffer from it unable to enjoy friends or their life, work effectively, or even eat and sleep. It’s estimated that around 350 million people suffer from depression around the world— that’s roughly equivalent to the entire population of the United States.

Depression can range from ‘major’ (six months or more of severe symptoms) to dysthymia (two years or more of mild depression symptoms interspersed with periods of stability). Bipolar disorder and manic depression are also seen as types of depression, categorized by rapid changes in mood and behavior. Seasonal affective disorder is another form of depression, one triggered by changes in the seasons.

Depression can be caused by external forces (life circumstances, grief, abuse, stress, or substance abuse) or internal forces (genetics, chemical imbalance, etc.). Symptoms can include low self-esteem, feelings of guilt or shame, inability to concentrate or think positively, poor sleep, weight fluctuations, exhaustion, and even suicidal thoughts or behaviors. 

How Cannabis Treats Depression

Doctor Prescribing Cannabis for Treatment of Depression


The history of using cannabis to treat depression goes back as far as the 1600s, when it was used by doctors in India to prescribe to patients.

Cannabis works to treat depression symptoms by engaging with the endocannabinoid system. This system within your body features a range of receptors, and when the natural compounds in cannabis link up with these receptors, it triggers signals that tell your brain to initiate the production of beneficial chemicals that increase mood, improve focus, boost energy, and more— the opposite of many of the symptoms of depression. 

So does the research back up the claims that Las Vegas cannabis users and cannabis users worldwide benefit from cannabis to treat depression? 

It turns out, cannabis users have lower levels of depression symptoms than non-users according to a 2006 study. Meanwhile, other research has proven that low doses of THC can produce serotonin and reduce depression symptoms— though high amounts have been shown to occasionally make symptoms of depression worse.

THC can also help change the body’s response to negative stimuli and improve cognitive function and stability in people with bipolar disorder.

Exploring Cannabis for Your Depression

exploring cannabis for depressionIf you’re experiencing relatively minor symptoms of depression, you can visit a recreational cannabis dispensary to browse products that might help improve your mood and boost energy, sleep quality, and positive feelings while treating stress and anxiety.

However, if you suffer from major depressive symptoms, you should consult a doctor about next steps before self-medicating with cannabis or any other form of treatment. Mention cannabis to a doctor that you trust to see whether it may be a viable part of depression treatment for you.

To find cannabis products that can help improve your mental well-being and overall wellness, you can visit our Las Vegas cannabis dispensary, Green, or browse our menu to place an order for delivery or curbside pickup.