If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, your doctor has probably written you a prescription for an antidepressant. The problem is, many of these drugs can produce some seriously negative side effects. While you never want to stop using a prescribed medication without the green light from a medical professional, you may want to consider treating your depression with medical marijuana, instead.
Don’t get us wrong, antidepressants can be helpful and extremely beneficial to some. For others, however, the side effects can make symptoms (and depression) worse. In this article, we’re going to go over the benefits and side effects of commonly prescribed antidepressants and medical marijuana.
Commonly Prescribed Antidepressants
Some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants include Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. When you suffer from depression, you have an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters, and are responsible for mood and emotions. Antidepressants will get these chemicals back into a healthy balance.
Potential Side Effects
The common side effects often associated with antidepressants can include:
Increase in Appetite
Loss of Libido
Severe side effects of prescription antidepressants include:
Serotonin Syndrome (dangerously high levels of Serotonin in the brain.) This can result in side effects including but not limited to high fever, seizures, irregular heart beat, unconsciousness, and death.
Hyponatremia (dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood.) This can result in fatigue, psychosis, seizures, disorientation, agitation, coma, and death.
Mania including racing thoughts, extreme moods, impulsive behavior, sleeping disorders, grandiose thinking, and irritability.
Treating Your Depression with Medical Marijuana, Instead
How does marijuana treat depression? It’s actually extremely similar to how antidepressant medication works. Medical marijuana restores the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which improves mood and levels out emotions.
Potential Side Effects of Marijuana
Common side effects of Marijuana (with THC**) include:
Nausea & vomiting
Loss of libido
Dry or red eyes
Impaired mental functioning
**CBD, the non-psychoactive medical component of marijuana, has no known side effects.
While most people will not experience the following side effects of medical marijuana as they are extremely rare, it is important to note them as a possibility. AGAIN, all of these rare side effects are associated with THC, not CBD:
High/Low Blood pressure
Lung Issues (if smoked AND you suffer from a respiratory disorder)
While it may seem as though both of these options carry quite a few potential side effects, marijuana definitely has a leg up on the competition. First, developing serious side effects from antidepressants is way more likely than developing those associated with medical marijuana. Second, because marijuana is all-natural, you cannot overdose on it. Marijuana has never killed anyone. Antidepressants, on the other hand, can be overdosed as well as cause death.
Using the right strain and dose of marijuana will help your depression symptoms, using “too much” marijuana will result in experiencing one or more of the common side effects. When it comes down to it, medical marijuana is a much safer (and potentially more beneficial) option.
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental conditions in today’s society, especially among young adults. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has found that 1 in 4 people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from anxiety, depression, or both. More college students than ever before are weaning themselves off prescription medications and transitioning to calming anxiety with medical marijuana, instead.
Stigma Getting in the Way
A large majority of doctors are still against using cannabis to treat their patients illnesses. Many of these doctors claim that medical marijuana will add to the problem, even though there have been numerous success stories. Although Medical Marijuana is now legal in more than half of the US states, there is still a stigma attached to it that may be inhibiting access to effective treatment.
College students that have spoken about their illness have claimed that they were embarrassed about being on antidepressant and antianxiety medications. Many of them admitted that they would try to hide this fact from their peers, friends and even their families, causing themselves to become quite isolated.
Negative Side Effects of Prescription Medications
It’s important to note that prescription medications can produce a wide range of negative side effects, including but not limited to:
- Risk of suicidal thoughts
- Mood swings
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Increase or decrease in blood pressure
- Heart palpitations and other irregular cardiac symptoms
- Negatively impact lung conditions
- Muscular rigidity and problems with motor skills
- Sexual dysfunction
- Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, confusion, increased anxiety and agitation
- Life threatening allergic reactions
- Death (by overdose)
Effective and Safe Alternative
Obviously, these are some pretty severe side effects for medications that are supposed to simply improve your mood. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, has proven itself to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, without most of these side effects. Common side effects of marijuana use is dry mouth, dizziness, decreased motor skills, drowsiness, and increased appetite. It is true that in a small number of patients, marijuana (specifically THC) can cause paranoia and hallucinations, leading to increased anxiety. This problem can be solved simply by adjusting the strain used to a higher CBD, lower THC concentration.
Patients that reside in legal states have seen more success simply because they have the ability to choose their strain. Knowing what works for you and what doesn’t is a large part of the effectiveness of this medicine. It’s imperative that patients treat marijuana as a medication. Use it when you need it. Becoming a burnout will not help your situation.
Removing the Stigma
Many young patients agree that not only is marijuana more effective than their former prescription medications, but it is also much less embarrassing. Removing the stigma of marijuana opens the door for connection and provides a sense of community. Marijuana can help patients suffering from anxiety and depression to become more sociable when they normally would have isolated themselves. This, of course, is a huge factor in decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Having friends that you can talk to can literally save your life.
More college students are effectively calming anxiety with medical marijuana. Removing the stigma associated with this drug will open the door for even more people to find relief.
If you feel like you would be a good candidate for medical marijuana, and you reside in the state of Florida, call us at (786) 224-4005 or schedule your free consultation ONLINE. It’s time to put your health first!