10 Quick Facts: How Cannabis is Changing Approaches to Mental Health
August 6, 2018
We’re living in a very exciting time where the dialogue on Mental Health is vibrant, and people are being able to talk about mental health in open ways without fear of stigma.
Concurrently, the movements in cannabis legalization has more people talking and flying cannabis flags proud as more evidence supports the benefits of cannabis on health. Now, both cannabis and mental health are being united in ways that are surprising to some.
Here are some quick facts about cannabis’ place in the mental health discourse showing the need for cannabis education to accompany the privilege of legal cannabis:
CBD rich strains are making their way into more dialogues between cannabis doctors and their patients, recognizing that CBD carries important anti-anxiety properties;
When it comes to high-potency THC strains, the cannabis community is discovering that it may exacerbate feelings of anxiety or depression, so recommend low-THC strains when using CBD therapies for anxiety;
CBD is believed to work with the body’s internal endocannabinoid system to increase the effectiveness of the serotonin receptors of the brain. This is the brain process that medical pharmaceuticals are trying to replicate to treat depression and anxiety.
The cannabis community is also enthusiastic about how CBD can repair and regenerate neurons in the hippocampus. This is essential for the brain’s process in healing itself, which is an essential part of the relief of depression symptoms.
Significant efforts have gone into efforts that advocate for access to cannabis for veterans suffering from post-combat PTSD. An example of an organization that is involved directly in this advocacy is Veterans for Cannabis Access. CBD is is being praised for its ability to interrupt signals in the brain related to fear-related memories and its fear-based responses.
It’s generally accepted that people cannot get physically addicted to cannabis, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a psychiatric handbook for mental health practitioners named something called “cannabis use disorder”. It has 11 specific characteristics including cravings and strong urges to use cannabis, being unsuccessful in attempts to cut down, demonstrating tolerance and needing to use more cannabis, withdrawal symptoms when not using, and recurrent cannabis use despite it being detrimental to social and interpersonal relationships. This underscores from a mental health perspective the importance of taking a balanced approach to any substance use.
The mental health community has warned against cannabis use in teenaged years, concluding that frequent or chronic use of cannabis in the teenaged years could have detrimental effects on the brain, with higher chances of developing brain disorders like schizophrenia later than life. This highlights the importance of age requirements and compliance measures for dispensaries serving both medicinal and recreational cannabis.
Contrary to concerns that could develop with recreational use in the teenaged years, cannabis is proving to be an effective treatment for some of the symptoms of brain conditions like schizophrenia, autism and other nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s Disease.
Medicinal and recreational cannabis is finding increased use among the over 55 crowd, with some strains proving to be powerful in reducing feelings of social anxiety, helping people come out of their shell through new transitions in their Golden Years.
Some people who are using cannabis therapies for mental health find strength in the “less is more” approach of microdosing. While people with mental health issues are better off refraining from high-potency THC strains, the presence of some THC can actually elevate the effectiveness of CBD. When you microdose, you can experience the benefits of the CBD, allow the tiny bit of the THC you’ll access to elevate those benefits, while keeping you clear-headed and not feeling an intense high.
This is Why You Need Cannabis Education
The discourse on mental health and cannabis has more fire now than ever before, but as demonstrated by the facts above, there are fine lines of how cannabis is used for mental health and should be discussed between the cannabis doctor and their patient.
CMN Holdings Inc works with cannabis doctors to create original, high-quality and informative programming that will provided patients information about the ways cannabis is being used in mental health before they see the doctor. This patient education is crucial to increase patient literacy before taking the big step in treating the symptoms of certain mental health conditions with cannabis.
Philip M. Cohen is CEO of CMN Holdings, Inc. and their subsidiaries, Cannabis Medical Network, a digital media network airing in cannabis doctors waiting rooms and Cannabis Lifestyle Network, airing in dispensary waiting rooms. Phil has operated a dozen ad supported digital signage networks in doctor offices and at retail since 1985 and is a past Chairman of the Digital Signage Federation.