Marijuana and Depression: Using MMJ to Self-Medicate
We think of marijuana as a harmless substance, but it quickly led me to harder drugs that nearly took my life. The great people at Emerald Isle were able to get me through my struggle and open my eyes to the dangers of gateway drugs like marijuana. I’ve always dealt with depression off and on while I was growing up.
I used marijuana and alcohol to self-medicate and for a while, it seemed to help things. Little did I know I was only stalling on getting the help that I needed. There is only so much masking that you can do. If you have a real problem, self-medication isn’t going to do it for you long term.
The Dangers of Using Cannabis for Mental Illness
There are real risks of using marijuana for depression. Again, a quick fix can feel good and make you assume that you’ve figured it out. The quick fixes that drugs and alcohol provide can be deceiving. There are many forms of effective treatment for depression, but they don’t include illicit drug use. Therapy and other prescription medications can help, but it takes a certain attitude.
You need to face your depression the same way that you would face a drug addiction. It requires a lot of personal effort and a strong will to succeed. I didn’t think I had that in me, but I taught myself how to be strong not just for myself, but for my family and community.
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The Link Between Marijuana and Depression
The relationship between depression and marijuana is debatable. There is no direct evidence that links marijuana and depression, however, some studies have shown that marijuana users are more likely to develop depression than non-marijuana users. My depression followed me everywhere I went.
It wasn’t something that was ever addressed properly. I had a lot of love and support from my family, and they all knew something was wrong for a long time. It was easy for me to hide it for a while, but after so long all the signs began to show.
Marijuana, Depression and Apathy
It was hard for me to hold down a job. It was hard to have any motivation or drive. I didn’t have any interest in regular activities. My mood was infectious and crept into everybody around me. It’s interesting how one person’s mood can affect others. I could see that my issues were affecting everyone around me, and that made me feel guilty.
I have struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past because of this. Maybe everyone would be better off without me. It’s scary to get into the headspace and think that there isn’t any way out. There is a way out, sometimes you just can’t see it through the fog of depression.
How Can I Tell How Depressed I Am?
How do you know the severity of your depression? Sometimes it can be hard to tell. You can stay in your depression for so long that it just becomes normal. I’ve been there for sure. Looking back on the person I was, it’s easy to tell that there was something wrong. It took me a long time to realize that this is not how everybody else experiences life.
I just assumed everyone else was as miserable as I was, and the people who seem happy are just faking it. Sadly, you can get into that state of mind and struggle so hard to get out of it. The happiest people I have met are the people I’ve met through my recovery network, and their happiness is real.
Adolescent Marijuana Use and Substance Use Disorders
My marijuana use continued throughout my teenage years and into my early twenties. I didn’t think twice about it. I eventually began dabbling with other drugs when the marijuana stopped doing what I needed it to do. My tolerance was so high that I wasn’t feeling the effects anymore. It became like smoking cigarettes. I didn’t get high at all, so I needed something stronger.
I had a friend with a prescription to Adderall, so I began doing it with him. It started slowly, but eventually overtook every aspect of my life. It’s true what they say about marijuana as a gateway drug. It may not be that way for everyone, but I know plenty of people like me who started with weed and went further and further into other drugs.
What To Do About Depression That Won’t Leave?
As I mentioned already, achieving long-term freedom from depression takes a tremendous amount of effort. Sometimes depression never leaves. You can keep it at bay, but like drug addiction, it is always lurking around the corner for a lot of people. Some people deal with clinical depression, which doesn’t ever truly go away.
Everybody deals with a certain amount of depression, but for certain people, it can be crippling and all-consuming. Short-term depression vs. long-term depression can look different depending on the person.
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Warning Signs with Depression and Marijuana Use
Short-term depression symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, and an overall lack of energy. The symptoms of long-term depression look a bit more severe. You begin to suffer from insomnia and other severe physical symptoms. Suicidal thoughts can become a common occurrence.
The cycle of depression and marijuana dependence can amplify things greatly. Self-medication is very common for people suffering from depression. You’ll do whatever it takes to feel some period of relief. This is where a lot of drug addictions begin.
Youth And Gender as Factors in Marijuana Use And Depression
When I got to Emerald Isle, I not only needed treatment for my addiction; but I needed inpatient treatment for depression. It was scary to think of tackling my addiction and my emotional issues simultaneously, but a dual-diagnosis program can be very beneficial in dealing with everything you are going through.
By working on your addiction, you can develop the tools you need to deal with your mental and emotional problems. The personal skills that you learn through recovery can help you in many aspects of your life.
There is a link between youth and gender as factors in marijuana and depression. Younger people are always at risk for drug abuse. When I was a teenager, I had a sense of invincibility like a lot of younger people. You don’t think about the consequences of your actions.
I can’t speak for all younger people, but this is something that I see in a lot of teenagers. When it comes to at-risk youth, it can be a lot easier to fall into drug addiction. Not having the right role models in your life can send you down a lot of bad roads.
Alternatives To Marijuana for Depression
There are many other ways to properly deal with your depression than marijuana. That’s not to say that aspects of the marijuana plant can’t be beneficial. There is a lot of research that’s been conducted on the effects of CBD for anxiety and depression.
CBD does not include THC, so it does not have the intoxicating effect that marijuana has. CBD can be a very good holistic approach to depression treatment. Some people are afraid of using prescription medication, which is understandable given the issues that can come from them.
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Risks of Cannabis Use with Antidepressants
There is something to be said about medical marijuana and depression risks. Medical marijuana has helped a lot of people in many different ways, but if you are prone to depression, you should be careful. Certain strains of marijuana can have more of a downer effect and trigger depression. Antidepressant interactions with marijuana can also result in side effects.
Usually, if you are using antidepressants, it is not a good idea to use alcohol or other substances. This can be the same with marijuana. It is a case-by-case scenario with everybody. What affects one person negatively may not have the same effect on somebody else.
Forms Of Effective Treatment for Depression
Whatever your vice is, self-medicating for depression will typically never end well. As I mentioned earlier, it may help for a little while, and may even give you a sense that you’ve figured it out. That’s not usually the case. You can’t put a band aid over cancer.
Depression is something that will be there right under the surface until you address it head-on. While there is still a stigma attached to depression, it is much more socially acceptable to seek help. Mental health is much more out in the open these days and it’s finally become something people are more willing to talk about.
It all starts with you making the first move. If your depression is making life miserable, there is no self-medication that will work long-term. Your best bet is to seek professional help and begin to develop the tools that you’ll need to have more mental toughness.
Cultivate Lasting Mental Health at Emerald Isle
Mental toughness is one of the most important things you can teach yourself. There are times in recovery when you will be tested. You will feel urges to relapse. If you have mental toughness, you can talk yourself out of a lot of situations that you would otherwise fall victim to.
Once you make the decision to seek help, you will be in a good position to get better. Your days can be full of joy and fulfillment. It’s up to you whether or not you will put in the effort to make them that way.
Reach out to the Admissions team at Emerald Isle today if you’re struggling with marijuana and depression and would like professional help with getting out the cycle of self-medication and regret. Their staff helped me more than I can say, and I am quite certain they will do their best to help you back into health and herb-free happiness too!
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