It’s safe to say over the years, prescription medication and especially anti-depressant drugs have been on a dangerous rise. From a simple mood swing, to a mild case of feeling down, all the way to suicidal depression, anti-depressant drugs are being prescribed left and right.
If you take a moment to stop and think, it’s easy to see these drugs are not the best solution. There are many side effects and risks of taking such drugs. Thankfully over the past few years Medical Marijuana has also been on the rise. Does Marijuana really help with anxiety and depression?
What makes it better than anti-depressants? Here a few facts to answer such questions.
Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors, Serotonin Specific Re-Uptake Inhibitors or (SSRI’s) are a class of drugs used as anti-depressants. Although it may seem like a reasonable solution, taking SSRI’s can be very dangerous.
FDA warnings admit consuming SSRI’s may actually increase the risk of suicide and suicidal ideation. That being said, with the use of anti-depressants on the ever so frightening rise, it is no mystery that there has been a heavy increase in suicide as well.
The result from a meta-analysis of over 70 trials consisting of over 18,000 people concluded; those under the age of 18 taking anti-depressants were twice as likely to be at risk of committing suicide.
The results were surprisingly different with older adults. However authors of the study suggested that errors in the trial data could have lead to a “misleading representation of how bad SSRI’s really are.
Tarang Sharma (study Author) –
The analysis suggests that clinical study reports, on which decisions about market authorisation are based, are likely to underestimate the extent of drug related harms.
Professor Peter Gøtzsche-
Antidepressants don’t work in children, that is pretty clear, in the randomised trials children say that they don’t work for them, but they increase their risk of suicide. What I get out of this colossal under reporting of suicides is that SSRIs likely increase suicides in all ages.
How and Why is Marijuana Different?
Being that there aren’t many major studies or hard hitting, conclusive research linking Suicide and Marijuana. I think it’s safe to say there are many tell tale signs and other suggestive research that hints Marijuana is a much better alternative to SSRI’s. One example being that in the united states, each state that has adopted medical marijuana also has a significant lower rate of suicide.
One study however in 2012 gave us good positive outlooks on the correlation between suicide and marijuana.
D. Mark Anderson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics at Montana State University, Daniel
I. Rees, PhD, Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado Denver, and Joseph J. Sabia, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics at San Diego State University, stated the following in their Jan. 2012 study “High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide,” published by the The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its Discussion Paper Series:
Consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be an effective treatment for depression and other mood disorders, there appears to be a sharp decrease in the suicide rate of 15- through 19-year old males in the treatment states as compared to the control states approximately two years after legalization…
Our results suggest that the legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a 5 percent decrease in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent decrease in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent decrease in the suicide rate of 30- through 39 year-old-males. Estimates for female suicide rates are generally measured with less precision and are sensitive to functional form.
Often referred to as ‘Discontinuation Syndrome,’ Anti-Depressant Withdrawal can be very dangerous.
When taking anti-depressants you face a high risk of severe depression and mental disturbance once you seize to consume the drugs. In fact, most often the depression is much worse after anti-depressants than before.
Evidence also suggests that after long periods of time taking anti-depressants it is alters cell receptors and brain function. Making it even very difficult to heal after such use.
From a 2005 study Chouinard and Chouinardquote:
New and rebound symptoms can occur for up to 6 weeks after drug withdrawal, depending on the drug elimination half-life, while persistent post withdrawal or tardive disorders associated with long lasting receptor changes may persist for more than 6 weeks after drug discontinuation.
Why Marijuana is Better…
Although it is unlikely, it is possible to go through slight marijuana withdrawals. Yet is isn’t nearly as bad as the withdrawals from anti-depressants. There is close to none when it comes to evidence supporting long lasting changes in the human brain when using marijuana. Quite honestly more evidence has shown that marijuana actually can promote brain health in aging adults.
Scientists, Musicians, Doctors, Professional Athletes, Intelligent Celebrities, and Some of the world’s greatest minds admit to smoking or ingesting marijuana. In doing so helps; enhance creativity, increase focus, stress-relief, decrease pain, cope with mood swings, depression and anxiety, etc.
Another great thing about Marijuana going back to withdrawals. Is 50% of marijuana users who decided to stop, feel no effects whatsoever and the other half who do, it is very mild. For Chronic Marijuana users it can be different and withdrawals can be slightly impactful but still nothing like if you were using opiates.
Chronic cannabis users typically experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. These symptoms are much less severe than those associated with withdrawal from chronic opioid or depressant use, but aversive enough to encourage continued cannabis use and interfere with cessation attempts in some individual.
However it is wise to understand these withdrawals are based off THC usage and are not associated with any other cannabinoids.
Fear and Anxiety
As I mentioned in the beginning most anti-depressants are refereed to as SSRI’s or Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors. You may know Serotonin as a chemical released in the brain to promote a feel good sensation causing happiness, peace, or tranquillity. This is correct, however higher dosages of serotonin released especially unnaturally can cause paranoia, fear or anxiety.
Also when you tend to synthetically dose your body with chemicals that your body already produces, it tends to interfere with the natural production, causing harmful side effects.
How is Marijuana Different?..
High Doses of Marijuana consisting of psychoactive THC could possibly increase anxiety in some people. At low amounts however THC is a potent Anxiolytic which helps with anxiety. Others compounds such as psychoactive CBD is a renowned anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety.
CBD has been used to treat schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and multiple other forms of mental issues with brilliant results.
Out of the top 10 legal drugs linked to violent behaviors, 5 of them are anti-depressants.
Here they are…
Prozac: 10.9 times more likely to be associated with violent behavior than with other drugs
Paxil: 10.3 times more likely to be associated with violent behavior than with other drugs
Luvox: 8.4 times more likely to be associated with violent behavior than with other drugs
Effexor: 8.3 times more likely to be associated with violent behavior than with other drugs
Pristiq: 7.9 times more likely to be associated with violent behavior than other drugs
A small study showed the effects of serotonin toxicity and the horrors they can create. Serotonin toxicity is caused when the neurotransmitters levels are too high. The study found that patients with toxicity had a greater likelihood of having a certain gene mutation that changed how their body metabolizes serotonin. Antidepressants increased serotonin and triggered toxicity. 8 patients from this study wound up committing homicide. Again this was a small study but frightening enough to deserve recognition.
A Myth About Serotonin….
Earlier we mentioned Serotonin creates a feel good chemical response. While this is true. The most common mistake when referring to Serotonin is that “Low serotonin levels and depression go hand in hand. At points this may be true but high levels of serotonin have been linked to depression as well which creates confusion and often misleads people wanting help.
Why Marijuana Is Different?
Marijuana in small amounts can boost serotonin levels, but that isn’t it’s main focus. Compounds in cannabis are responsible for engaging with the endocannabinoid system which maintains homoeostasis throughout the body.
Anti-Depressants target a specific type of cell receptor and alters it’s performance and function. Compounds in cannabis or marijuana react with enzyme proteins and multiple cell receptors.
Marijuana effects your immune system and more specifically the central nervous system and all areas that are associated with anxiety and depression.
There are many different reasons for anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness. Meanwhile there are many drugs, natural remedies, exercises and other forms of coping with those illnesses. More often than not most people choose anti-depressants in the form of SSRI’s. This way of treatment is the most dangerous. When there are more natural treatments such as marijuana we should take advantage of what is better for us. It’s time to stop and think about your mind, body and overall health.
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