How Can Cannabis Help to Fight Depression

April 15, 2020

Known with the different names like marijuana, pot, weed, or hemp worldwide, Cannabis is an ancient plant even mentioned in various ancient texts as one of the sacred plants on earth.

This plant earned this status because of the various medicinal compounds available, which are effective in treating multiple diseases like Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease, Glaucoma, Multiple sclerosis, and many others. One of the conditions it can help treat is depression, which is one of the significant prevailing neurological disorders.

Main components of Cannabis

Two of the primary phytochemicals found in the cannabis plants are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabinoid (CBD). There are natural receptors present in the human body for the active phytochemicals of the cannabis plant to which these bind without any prior synthetic treatment; therefore, it shows no side effect in our bodies.

The central receptors to which these active phytochemicals bind are Endocannabinoid receptors.

Apart from THC and CBD, there are more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, which are yet to be studied. Recently two such components were isolated from the cannabis plant, namely CBDP and THCP. Research shows that these two compounds are much more medically active than the previously studied ingredients. You can make use of these major components by using the best cannabis strains like diamond concentrates. 

Endocannabinoid receptor system

Active phytochemicals (THC and CBD) are mostly shown to activate Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). On activation, these receptors show sound medicinal effects on various physiological diseases such as anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and many others without any psychoactivity.

Certain clinical studies have shown modified endocannabinoid signaling in patients of depression. These studies also concluded that such effects could be reversed by the usage of a controlled amount of cannabis products.

Clinical studies have proved the importance of endocannabinoids in pain-depression interactions. A useful improvement was seen in muscle and nerve pain by the use of cannabis in HIV patients, which directly emphasized improved symptoms of depression and anxiety. In cancer patients, regular use of the solution of Cesamet (nabilone, a Δ9-THC analog) for a month helped alleviate anxiety and pain.

The healing effects of nabilone for the treatment of pain and improvement in the quality of life were also evident in patients with fibromyalgia. Almost the same results were achieved in trials using Δ9-THC (dronabinol) in subjects with chronic central neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia.  

These given studies together imply that depression/anxiety and pain, present together in different patients, respond quite positively to cannabinoids. It has been indicated that Δ9-THC-mediated reduces the pain associated with increased amygdala activity by reducing functional links between the amygdala and somatosensory cortex.

At present, there is extensive evidence pointing towards the endocannabinoid system showing positive effects on neurotransmission, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory processes that become unbalanced during the depression and chronic pain. 


The chart shows the active phytochemicals of Cannabis that help treat depression and pain.

Medical Marijuana to the rescue

Medical marijuana contains THC in a very small quantity and is taken in a controlled way. It is prescribed by a physician for medical purposes. These can include the products of the cannabis plant in various forms like edibles, oils, concentrates, or flowers.

Even with loads of benefits, marijuana still comes under the category of schedule 'A' narcotics, and possession or collection of marijuana from an unauthorized source is a punishable offense. In this scenario, Cannabis must be bought by an authorized source and that too with a prescription, which is why we only trust


Most of the patients of depression do not respond well to the pharmacological treatment because of which depression, along with its co-companion pain, remains untreated, which even makes it a fatal condition. The cannabinoid chemical compounds (THC and CBD) present in the cannabis plant bind to the naturally present endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) of our body and have shown positive results in eradicating the disease.

The endocannabinoid system in our body plays a significant role in producing positive effects on neurotransmission, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory processes, which becomes deranged in the condition of depression and chronic pain. Various studies are still going on, and it is expected to see medical marijuana to be used as an alternative to pharmacological treatments.