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Does marijuana lead to depression?

There’s a direct correlation between marijuana and depression, as studies find that many more people who smoke marijuana suffer from depression as opposed to non-smokers. But there’s still some discussion as how this mechanism actually works, or whether there actually is a mechanism at all.

For example, if more marijuana users are diagnosed with depression, it could just mean that depressed people tend to use marijuana. Also, there are hundreds of active compounds in marijuana, so how such a mechanism would work is not always absolutely clear.

However, researchers who are looking into the link between marijuana and depression do have some idea of how it could work.

Quite simply, the brain uses chemicals to transmit information between neurons
These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Some of these are glutamate, gamma-amino butyric acid (gaba), acetylcholine, and more. When a person uses marijuana, these neurotransmitters become extremely depleted. Many studies have shown that depletion of neurotransmitters in the brain is directly linked to depression, so this could be the link between marijuana and depression.

Marijuana depletes the neurotransmitters, and as a result of this, when a person comes out of their marijuana high, they become extremely depressed.

Worse, there’s a tendency among people who are already depressed to use marijuana
When the drug further depletes their neurotransmitters, it leads to a worsening cycle of depression. As the person comes out of their marijuana high, they are even more depressed than they were before they took the drug.

This causes them to use marijuana again as quickly as possible, which further depletes their neurotransmitters… which causes the depression to become even worse. There is hard data to show that using marijuana causes this ever-worsening cycle of depression.

There is some data to show that marijuana in very small quantities can reduce elements of depression. But in high or strong doses, it worsens depression. What is troubling is that the THC in marijuana that is available these days is many times stronger than that in marijuana available some twenty or thirty years ago.

This strong THC count means that modern marijuana is much more depressive that the marijuana used, say, for example, in the eighties
Users of marijuana should keep the dose mild if they want to avoid the depressant qualities of this drug. Heavy or prolonged use is not recommended, as there are no studies to show what happens to the mind when the neurotransmitters are chronically depleted over a long period of time.

However, such extended use has been shown to be linked to severe drop in mental acuity, and serious problems with memory. Some research shows that this could be due to the brain losing part of its ability to form new synaptic chains.


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