The Latest on Cannabis for Depression

Cannabis for Depression

We can all agree that one of the most popular reasons people use cannabis is because it makes them feel good. Even the phrase “getting high” refers to its ability to uplift our mental state. But can cannabis be used clinically to treat depression? In this article we’ll breakdown the use of medical cannabis for depression and take a look at what the latest research has to say.

Cannabis for Depression

Depression affects more than 300 million people and is considered the biggest cause of disability around the world. Current treatments for depression are useful for many, but they can take weeks before a patient experiences relief. These drugs also come with a host of unwanted side effects, and weaning off of them can be a long and horrible experience. With that said, there is hope for effective alternatives.

Cannabis for Depression depressed woman

Researchers are looking to medical cannabis to treat conditions like depression because of its ability to balance the endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring brain chemicals that play a role in cognition, mood, emotions, and behavior.

The idea is that by introducing cannabis into the brain, balance is restored to the system. Some researchers think that chronic stress can suppress the production of endocannabinoids in the brain and lead to depression-like symptoms. This makes sense because stress and depression often go together.

While THC works to relieve depression for many people, there is currently a lot of clinical interest in CBD because of its potential for a large-spectrum of therapies. Researchers are especially interested in the effects of CBD on the brain because of its ability to treat neurological disorders like epilepsy. But can CBD treat depression?

CBD Acts Like an Antidepressant

One of the most recent studies done on the effects of cannabis for depression showed promising results using CBD. The study published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology found that CBD affected mice much like antidepressant drugs. The researchers used rodents who were bred to develop depressive symptoms and found that CBD increased their resilience in stress models of depression. Essentially, the CBD worked like an antidepressant for these animals.

Cannabis for Depression cbd oil

What’s really exciting is that the effects developed very quickly, within an hour of being administered, and lasted for a week after a single dose. Traditional antidepressants like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) take weeks to start working and need to be taken every day.

How Does CBD Work for Depression?

The positive effects of CBD seen in this study are associated with a significant release of neurotrophin (BDNF) in parts of the brain responsible for depression. BDNF promotes neuroplasticity and the formation of new cells, which can cause an antidepressant effect.

Cannabis for Depression leaf on brain

Another rodent study done by the same team found that CBD’s antidepressant-like properties are associated with serotonin levels. This means that CBD might be able to enhance the effectiveness of traditional antidepressant drugs like SSRIs.

Is Cannabis for Depression Right for You?

While these findings are exciting, more research on human patients is needed before CBD or cannabis becomes an accepted treatment in mainstream medicine. Regardless of the research, many patients claim that cannabis works wonders to fight depression in their lives. Patients report it helps them handle day-to-day stress and allows them to see things in a more positive light. And there’s no question that people who use cannabis for recreation enjoy it for its mood-enhancing abilities.

Cannabis for Depression vial

If your doctor feels that cannabis may help manage your depression, Maryland law currently allows them to make that recommendation.

Ready to learn more about how cannabis can relieve feelings of depression? Schedule an appointment for help becoming a registered Maryland Medical Cannabis Patient.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Investigates Whether Cannabis is Effective Against Opioid Addiction

maryland medical cannabis

We all know our country is struggling to find ways to battle the destructive opioid epidemic. The state of Maryland is facing its own battle with over 49,000 residents suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD). With over 30 states now on-bored with medical or recreational cannabis, some are considering it as a possible treatment for addiction to drugs like oxycodone and heroin. But does it work?

maryland medical cannabis

States that have implemented medical cannabis laws have seen a reduction in opioid prescriptions for patients on Medicaid and Medicare health plans. These states are also seeing a drop in opioid overdose deaths. So why isn’t Maryland including cannabis as a treatment for OUD? Here is an overview of what the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission recently reported.

Can Maryland Medical Cannabis Treat Opioid Use Disorder?

The growing anecdotal evidence is clear – medical cannabis can be a useful tool for treating opioid cravings and easing the uncomfortable symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. Opioid patients also report that cannabis helps them sleep and reduces the intensity of cravings.

maryland medical cannabis doctor with flower and tincture

The fact is, cannabis poses less of a risk than current FDA-approved opioid-based treatments like methadone. Patients see better treatment outcomes when they have access to cannabis, and many health care providers have seen high-dose opiate patients significantly reduce or eliminate opiates with the use of cannabis. So why isn’t Maryland using cannabis is fight OUD?

Why isn’t Opioid Use Disorder a Qualifying Condition in Maryland?

The Maryland State Assembly considered adding OUD to the list of qualifying conditions that can be treated by medical cannabis, but some national groups were against the idea. Their concern was over creating additional drug dependency, and the lack of clinical evidence.

But here’s the catch…

The main reason there is a lack of clinical evidence on the benefits of cannabis for OUD is that it’s classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. This classification has severely limited most medical cannabis research, forcing the cannabis community to rely on anecdotal evidence (what patients self-report).

Fortunately, the DEA’s view on cannabis and its medical potential is beginning to change. With the growing number of states that now have laws which allow medical or recreational cannabis use, the DEA acknowledges there is a need for serious medical research.

Cannabis for OUD isn’t a new idea, and a number of states in the US are considering adding cannabis as an addiction treatment. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have already approved cannabis for opioid addiction, which could promote the idea on a national level.

The bottom line?

As of now, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission acknowledges that even though there is mounting anecdotal evidence for using cannabis for addiction, the scientific evidence is not there yet. Based on their medical literature review, the commission’s position is that medication-assisted treatments with drugs like methadone and naltrexone are best.

maryland medical cannabis Remedy Columbia Team
Photo Source: Remedy Colombia Facebook Page

If you’d like to try cannabis for one of the many conditions that do currently qualify in Maryland, we’d love to help. Schedule a visit or just drop by. We can’t wait to see you!

MMCC Celebrates 1 Year, Plus Medical Cannabis Changes You Need to Know

Maryland medical cannabis program

The Maryland medical cannabis program has grown in leaps and bounds since its start on December 1, 2017. At that time, less than 18,000 patients were registered and only eight dispensaries were open. The Maryland market now counts nearly 52,000 patients going to 71 dispensaries.

maryland medical cannabis program stethoscope with flower

Because of this expansion of patients and dispensaries, Maryland’s medical cannabis industry ended its first year of operation with $96.3 million in sales of 730,000 individual products.

And the pace has not let up. Between 250 and 350 patients have been applying to the program each day.

“Every Monday, we come in to 1,000 new applications. … People have really started to take notice of the cannabis program in Maryland,” Joy Strand, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), said.

In this post, we’ll review how much MMCC has achieved and the challenges moving forward.

Maryland Medical Cannabis in Numbers

maryland medical cannabis program doctor holding vial

Since the program started, there have been 2 million transactions. Here is what drove this result in one year:

  • The number of dispensaries grew from 8 to 71.  
  • 1,187 medical providers have registered with the program.
  • The number of patients grew to 51,704 by the end of November 2018.
  • 14 cultivators, 14 processors and 5 testing labs provided safe access to medical cannabis products at dispensaries.
  • 4,659 people registered as caregivers — individuals who care for minors or disabled people using cannabis products.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Challenges

maryland medical cannabis program vial with cannabis flower

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has faced some criticism regarding accessibility to contracts, cost of entry, and products. Specifically:

  • The Maryland medical cannabis program is experiencing high race and gender disparities in their access to state and private sector contracts and in those factors necessary for business success. Based on statistical and anecdotal evidence, it has been determined by the state that affirmative intervention is still needed.
  • In order to purchase medical marijuana in 2018, patients had the option of showing either their license and certification card or patient ID. Now patients have to purchase a $50 patient ID card, which many feel is unfair considering traditional pharmaceuticals don’t have this requirement. Existing patients have until April 1 to purchase the card.
  • Cannabis edibles were not available in Maryland dispensaries for the entire first year. MMCC acknowledged that many patients, especially seniors, prefer to use edibles as their delivery method. Now word has to get out that edibles are available at dispensaries like Remedy Columbia.

Remedy Columbia Proud to Offer Maryland Medical Cannabis

The Maryland Medical Cannabis program still has progress to make, but it also has good reason to celebrate its first year with increased dispensaries and many more registered patients and providers.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Remedy Columbia Team

If you’re just starting the process, Remedy Columbia welcomes all licensed Maryland Patients for walk-ins. We also have Patient Registration Appointments and Patient Education Appointments to help you get started. One of our team members will assist you along your way to becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient in Maryland. The best part? Our menu has a variety of flower, extracts, edibles, tinctures, topicals, and more to choose from, now including edibles. Everybody will find something for them.

Is Cannabis a Viable Cachexia Treatment?

Cachexia treatment

Up to one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to a condition called cachexia, a devastating wasting syndrome that causes weight loss and pain for patients and their families. While cachexia occurs with many types of cancer, it can also develop in patients with other late-stage forms of diseases like heart failure, kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS to name a few, leaving many to consider viable cachexia treatments.

Continue reading “Is Cannabis a Viable Cachexia Treatment?”