Science has demonstrated time and time again that cannabis is less damaging than tobacco and alcohol and, because of this, the plant has been used for thousands of years for a whole range of purposes. Although, marijuana is actually classed as a depressant, despite many people reporting that it produces energizing effects.

THC

is one of the most commonly known compounds in cannabis plants, this is probably because of the psychoactive effects that it delivers. It is situated in the flowers, buds, and leaves. Researchers believe the plant makes THC to defend itself against plant-eating animals, although no-one can really say for sure. When humans consume the plant though, the THC interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, a network that has receptor sites all over the human body's central nervous system.

Pharmaceuticals

In 1999, research was published by the Institute of Medicine which claimed that less than 10% of marijuana users were dependent on the drug and, partly because of this, lots of individuals are beginning to use marijuana as a mood stabilizer after trying other medications they haven't found effective. Pharmaceuticals that regulate serotonin in the brain have been demonstrated to decrease depression in those suffering from it - although, of course, depression isn't something that can really be measured. Regardless, cannabis has, in fact, been shown to minimize manic periods in bipolar patients, as well as level out depressive periods.

Strategies

However, it has to be said that heavy, long-term, cannabis use has been linked to both anxiety and depression, and so it may not be the answer for everyone. According to Heads Up Guys, a website dedicated to providing health strategies for men in managing and preventing depression, there is substantial evidence for increased risk of development of psychoses in relation to cannabis use. Furthermore, according to the same website, there is emerging evidence for cannabis use increasing a user's risk of depression and no evidence at all for the drug decreasing depression symptoms.

Legalization

With increasing legalization and acceptance, I can only hope that cannabis will be utilized to its full medicinal capacity in coming years. Depression is an incredibly serious condition that has taken millions of lives and so, of course, I am not suggesting that smoking a little weed is a quick fix. However, I believe that there is still much more research to be done in regard to marijuana and that it is capable of much more than just getting people high THC weed.

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