Did you know that more than 20% of people in the United States report having a depressive episode within any given month? Furthermore, it is estimated that around 350 million individuals suffer from depression worldwide, and this is just one of the many mood disorders that exist. With statistics like these circulating around, it is safe to say that much of the world can relate to mood disorders and the difficulties they can bring about in both the lives of those who have them, and also those who are close to these individuals.
This fact is one of the reasons why understanding what exactly mood disorders are, is so vital to the overall education of our world, allowing more and more people to feel comfortable about opening up if they believe they may be suffering from a mood disorder, for they are definitely not alone. Many patients of medical marijuana suffer from mild to severe mood disorders, and reports suggest, because of the help of marijuana, a lessening of the negative causes of a variety of mood disorders.
In this informational article, we will first begin by discussing much of what there is to know and understand about mood disorders, and later tie in the medical marijuana element, specifically which marijuana strains have benefited cannabis patients who struggle with mood disorders, often times life long and on a daily basis.
Keep reading to learn more about the 5 best strains of cannabis that can heal mood disorders…
What Are Mood Disorders?
In definition and in reality, mood disorders are complex and multi-dimensional, so there are a lot of factors at play, especially when it comes to a professional making a diagnosis. Technically speaking, a mood disorder is simply a serious change in mood, but this definition is, in many ways, up for interpretation, except when dealing with a professional.
Professionals often categorize mood disorders into different forms, and these classifications typically fall under one of these conditions; bipolar disorder, depressive disorder (severe depression), persistent depressive disorder (a low grade but long lasting form of depression), cyclothymia (mild bipolar disorder), and seasonal affective disorder. These conditions listed are some of the more common ones, but other mood disorders do exist beyond just the aforementioned.
Bipolar Disorder is a complex mental condition in which the mind swings from one end of the spectrum to the other, often times from mania to depression. This is only one pattern possible of individuals with bipolar, and many experience bipolar differently, making diagnoses sometimes challenging. There are approximately 3 million cases of Bipolar every year in just the US alone, so this condition is quite common, although it does not actually have a cure. The three primary factors that distinguish Bipolar from other mental conditions, involves distinctive changes in activity, energy levels and mood. An individual showing obvious signs of these three occurrences could, in fact, be given a diagnosis of Bipolar.
Depressive Disorder, which does share some similarities with Bipolar, (they are both mood disorders after all), is categorized primarily by a loss of interest in activities and a sad or depressed mood, which can severely impair functionality and progress within day to day life. The primary difference between Bipolar and Depression, is that Bipolar often has the high points (mania), while Depression mostly contains the lows and sadness without a persistent upwards lift. As with Bipolar, Depressive Disorder also has no cure, but is extremely common in the United States with around 3 million cases every year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is probably the least severe of the three mood disorders we are covering in this section, and this is primarily because this condition is cyclical and does not persist all year round or have unexpected stopping and starting points. It is specifically defined as a depressive disorder always appearing at the same time every year. It is typically treatable with the help of a professional, and does not impair the ability to live day to day as much as Bipolar or Depressive disorders do.
Causes and Symptoms:
The cause of mood disorders is not truly fully understood, but they are thought to be existent due to a combination of three factors: inheritance (genetic predisposition), environmental factors or life events, and brain chemistry. Often times, those who have family members with a mood disorder diagnosis, are more likely to have that disorder themselves. Other times, environmental factors or traumatic life events can trigger an episode that can persist for long periods of time and arise repeatedly throughout life. On an anatomical level, many mood disorders are thought to be due to chemicals in the brain either not being present, or interacting improperly. For many with mood disorders, their conditions are usually a blend of all three of these factors. It is vital for more research to be conducted regarding mood disorders, so that further information can be discovered and used to help all those suffering from these often debilitating conditions.
In general, the symptoms of mood disorders can vary significantly from person to person, but we will at least explain the most common symptoms for clarity and education:
- The feeling of being helpless or hopeless in life or about life.
- Ongoing sadness, emptiness, aloneness or anxiousness.
- Feeling excessively guilty, inadequate or worthless.
- Persistent low self-esteem.
- Aggression, hostility or irritability towards others.
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or a suicide attempt (these symptoms are extremely serious and any individual with these symptoms should get help from a professional, immediately).
- Loss of interest in activities or events that were once enjoyed, including decreased or nonexistent sexual drive.
- Strange sleeping patterns; sleeping too much or too little.
- Difficulties with energy (fatigue) and loss of appetite, (including loss of weight).
- Comfort or stress binge eating, or a sudden spike in weight.
- Sensitivity to criticism or rejection.
Conventional Medical Treatments That is Not Marijuana:
As of now, most mood disorders do not have an absolute, definitive cure, but there are some conventional medical treatments that have proven to be successful, and have even allowed some individuals to begin living a normal life again. Primarily, medications are used to treat Depression and Bipolar, as well as talk therapy, and sometimes a combination of the two.
Some common medications prescribed for Depressive disorder patients includes; SSRIs, (e.g. Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, Lexapro), SNRIs, (e.g. Cymbalta, Fetzima) and MAOIs, (e.g. Parnate, Marplan, Nardil). Many other medications and classes of medicines exist for the treatment of Depressive Disorder, but there are just too many to cover all in this article.
For Bipolar Disorder, often times other types of medications are prescribed than anti-depressants, although some individuals are given a combination of drugs, which can include an antidepressant, such as one of the common types listed above. Some frequently prescribed Bipolar medications includes; mood stabilizers, (e.g. Lithobid, Depakote, Lamictal), antipsychotics, (e.g. Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon, Latuda) and benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medication). Much of the time, some combination of these medications is prescribed to individuals with severe Bipolar disorder.
It is thought by professionals and medical experts, that the correct combination of medication and traditional talk therapy, can be an especially effective method at managing mood disorders.
Medical Marijuana and Mood Disorders:
The trend among cannabis and medical conditions, tends to be that marijuana assists with some of the symptoms from the ailment, but with mood disorders cannabis often takes a step further with its ability to heal and generate a lasting impact. Depression specifically, and the depressive side to Bipolar, seem to be quite significantly affected, (in a positive manner), by the consumption of certain marijuana strains. Although cannabis does also assist in lessening the impact of some symptoms of mood disorders, (e.g. fatigue, insomnia, lack of appetite, aggression, etc.), it also acts as a relief to the actual depression itself, with many patients turning towards cannabis as an alternative to conventional medications and therapies. Additionally, the use of medical cannabis as a depression relief is often times paired up with regular talk therapy, acting as a sturdy combination for some individuals with depression.
Almost all of us can admit to having feelings of depression at some point in our lives. And it can often be hard to overcome those feelings. Luckily, there are many strains of marijuana you can use to help battle your depression.
1. Jack Herer
This sativa strain is known for producing a euphoric feeling in users. It contains limonene, one of the best terpenes for improving a person’s mood.
2. Pineapple Express
Another strain high in limonene content, Pineapple Express is basically a one-way ticket to Happy Town and is known as one of the most uplifting marijuana strains. Perhaps that’s whye they named a comedy movie after it.
While most marijuana strains that produce euphoric feelings are high in THC, Harlequin is one that actually has a 1:1 ratio between THC and CBD. So not only will it help improve your mood, but if there are any physical symptoms causing your depression, it can help with that as well.
One of the biggest symptoms of depression can be a lack of focus or mental fogginess. Cannatonic is a great strain for both improving mood as well as improving focus, allowing you to tackle tasks that you might not otherwise have been able to do.
Another strain with uplifting properties, XJ-13 also produces a pleasant citrusy aroma. So not only will your brain feel more euphoric, but your environment will improve as well.
While Pennywise the Clown is probably the worst thing to help with your depression, the Pennywise marijuana strain is a very effective solution. Another strain high in CBD, this stain is known to give a nice mellow high to help you get through the day.
7. Laughing Buddha
As the name suggests, the Laughing Buddha strain will put you in the mood to…well…laugh. It’s one of the best strains at producing upbeat and happy vibes, and even the dumbest Dad joke will seem like the most hilarious line ever while using it.
8. Sour Kush
If you’re an experienced marijuana user looking for something particularly powerful to help improve your mood, then Sour Kush is a great choice. This hybrid of Sour Diesel and OG Kush will create a powerful high that will help you forget all of your problems.
9. OG Kush
Unlike Sour Kush, OG Kush will not deliver an incredibly powerful high. Instead, it’s more about relaxing the mind and body for a nice mellow experience. It’ll definitely help improve your mood when you’re feeling down.
10. Northern Lights
One of the most popular marijuana strains around, Northern Lights will help you forget about all your negative thoughts and just relax. It’s one of the best strains at treating insomnia as well, so if you’re depression is keeping you up at night, then you should definitely check this strain out.