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Cannabis vs Traditional Depression Medication

Cannabis vs Traditional Depression Medication

According to the American Psychology Association, the number of Americans treated with antidepressants has increased by 64% from 1999 to 2014. That means there are millions of Americans fighting depression and the side-effects of the medications that are supposed to alleviate depression. 

We are essentially trading one struggle for another. But what if we had less struggle all around?

People are now searching for alternatives to antidepressants. One antidepressant alternative gaining popularity is the use of cannabis. Here’s why. . .

Faster response time

When using cannabis, patients can begin to feel relief from their depression almost immediately. In contrast, antidepressants need to be taken for a week or two before they start feeling better.

Stopping, Starting and Withdrawal

Antidepressants are notorious for their withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, and more.

Cannabis has minimal symptoms when stopping or decreasing use. 

This means that when patients are able to effectively manage their depression, they may have an easier time stopping cannabis use or taking breaks.

Fewer Side Effects

The potential side effects of antidepressants run the gamut. Including weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, shakiness, excessive sweating, headaches and more. Cannabis comes with fewer side effects and can actually relieve the symptoms listed above.

The use of cannabis is opening doors to treating depression in a way that isn’t laden with life derailing side effects. It could be the path to feeling lighter and better all around.

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Cannabis Root Medicinal Powers

Like a lot of plants, the makeup of the plant can all hold different properties, potencies and purpose. Flowers and seeds aren’t the only parts that hold the magic. 

The roots of the cannabis plant has a long history of medical use stretching back back to 2700 BC. One of the first mentions of the medical use of cannabis root was by the Roman historian in the 17th century, who wrote that boiling the plant roots could create a liquid that could alleviate joint stiffness, gout, and related illnesses. After this time, herbalists and physicians were utilizing cannabis root to treat fever, arthritis, hard tumors. Despite the long history of cannabis root medicinal properties, we have largely ignored its powerful impacts in our current cannabis research resurgence. 

 

Anti-Cancer Properties

It is reported that chemicals within the roots may play a role in protecting the liver and colon. A compound called friedelin when isolated from the roots is considered to be a free radical scavenger with protective properties.

Other compounds isolated from the roots of the cannabis plant named pentacyclic triterpene ketones are associated with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects.

The cannabis root has been linked to apoptosis, the phenomenon where cells stop growing, and of halting the growth of colon cancer cells in laboratory studies. 

 

Nutrient Rich

Cannabis roots also contain small amounts of choline. Choline is a macronutrient that is involved in numerous biological processes, including nerve function, boosting energy levels, and brain development.

Cannabis root can be infused into creating a restorative tea or into a tincture. It has also been made into a balms and pastes to heal wounds, burns, rashes, and hemorrhaging. 

The Cannabis plant is proving to us that it holds a great deal of history, uses, and medicinal properties. 

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Opioids, Overdoses and Medical Marijuana

Opioids, Overdoses and Medical Marijuana

In the past two decades, the number of drug prescriptions has increased by 85 percent. According to a nationally representative Consumer Reports, more than half of us are regularly taking prescription medications. With that increase and reliance on FDA approved drugs also comes an increase in dangerous addictions and cases of overdose.

In 2013, an estimated 128,000+ prescription drug takers died from adverse drug reactions.

This means that even though casualties from heart attacks, cancer and HIV are seeing a decline, the death rate is on the rise partly because of drug overdoses. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, the national overdose deaths involving opioids went from 8,048 in 1999 to 47,600 in 2017. 

Most Used and Abused

Of course, only you and your medical professional can discuss and decide on the medications that are right for you and your health needs. But what is the most prominently prescribed medication out there right now?

Opioid Painkillers. 

The opioid epidemic is well-publicized by the media and is the stuff of national debates, yet opioid painkillers are among the top 25 most prescribed drugs. It is estimated that the epidemic, kills an estimated 130 Americans every day. 

To restate this, 130 people die in the US every day from a legal and overly prescribed medication. The cycle of abuse is strong within this class of medications. Chronic pain is the most prominent cause of being prescribed opioids, especially OxyContin.

The Medical Marijuana Comparison

Some argue that increased access to cannabis could reduce this devastating toll of opioid abuse. Part of their reasoning? An article published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported lower opioid overdose death rates in states with laws supporting medical marijuana use. 

However, since these studies were conducted there have been more investigation into the correlation between opioid-related deaths and states supporting medical marijuana. The new research finds that the trend has reversed in recent years, with those states now seeing increased deaths. The study’s authors suggest the initial results may now only prove to be loosely related. If nothinging else, the correlation and changes in the legal landscape should push more studies to occur.

Medical Marijuana as the Alternative

A study at Depaul and Rush universities reported that participants said marijuana worked faster to relieve their pain than other prescription medication and had fewer side effects.

Most commonly, marijuana is used as an alternative to opioids but patients also reported cutting down on other medications. Cannabis is showing strong properties in being an alternative to many medications. Check out our Components of Cannabis article to learn more and see the possibilities. 

 

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WHAT IS CBD?

WHAT IS CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a natural occurring molecule compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD is only one, of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and create its robust therapeutic profile.

CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t have a strong effect on cognitive brain activity and doesn’t cause the “high” associated with marijuana. THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound that creates the “high” that is typically associated with the plants use history. These two are the most notable and studied cannabinoid compounds of the plant but every variety of the cannabis family produces cannabinoids, including hemp.

HOW IT WORKS

The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own and has two receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs and associated with the immune system. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system. Discovery of this system has significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease. 

CBD and THC impact us by mimicking and augmenting these compounds in our bodies. They match, enhance and heal dysfunction of endocannabinoid system.

OPTIMIZING USE

Figuring out how to optimize the therapeutic use of cannabis is the driving force behind the debates, research and hype surrounding medical marijuana that’s been unfolding in recent years. It’s no longer a matter of debating whether cannabis has merit as an herbal medication – today the key challenge is discerning how to utilize cannabis for maximum therapeutic benefit.

Most health professionals know little and are still learning about CBD and cannabis therapeutics. Most lack a sufficient expertise to adequately counsel patients on use, dosage, risk and benefits. Luckily there are a few medical professionals who are filling the gap and leading the charge to focus on CBD therapeutics. 

Find your answers and a consultant with Cannaleaf Health

 

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