Medical marijuana for depression in Missouri?
- Depression and the rules for getting a medical marijuana card in Missouri
- How medical marijuana is used to treat depression
- Which strains and delivery methods are ideal for treating depression
- Links to lists of Missouri medical marijuana doctors and dispensaries.
- How to get certified for medical marijuana for depression in MO
Can you get a medical marijuana card for anxiety in Missouri?
Although depression isn’t expressly listed as a qualifying condition for a Missouri medical marijuana card, it may be included under the list item “debilitating psychiatric disorders.” In fact, depression is one of the most common disorders for which patients use medical marijuana.
However, it’s not as simple as walking into a doctor’s office and claiming that you feel depressed. In order for a doctor to approve the use of medical marijuana to treat depression, they must assert that the patient’s symptoms are debilitating. That means that the condition impinges on the patient’s ability to live a normal life.
In order for a medical marijuana doctor to determine whether a patient is suffering from debilitating depression, patients need more than just a self-diagnosis. The doctor needs to confirm that the patient is experiencing the symptoms of depression. Generally, this isn’t done in one visit.
However, if an applicant has already been diagnosed and treated by another doctor for depression, and has the medical records to back that up, chances are good their request for a medical marijuana card will be promptly approved.
Click here to learn more about how to get a medical marijuana card in Missouri.
What is depression?
Depression — also referred to as clinical depression or major depressive disorder — is a condition characterized by feelings of sorrow, of being overwhelmed, lacking purpose, or feeling as if life is empty. Sometimes there is no apparent reason for these feelings. They can just be the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Occasional feelings of sadness are an inevitable part of being human. However, for patients suffering from depression, these feelings can linger on for months. And, in the worst cases, can lead to a total loss of motivation and even suicidal feelings.
Oftentimes, depression patients will hold onto numerous reasons why they are depressed. Actually, it’s the chemical imbalance that’s causing them to focus on the negative aspects of life rather than focusing on the positive.
Prescription drugs often used to treat depression can come with a litany of unwanted side effects such as nausea, weight gain, loss of libido, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, and digestive disorders.
When used properly, medical marijuana can offer some depression patients a safe and effective herbal alternative to prescription drugs.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression isn’t just a feeling of sadness. It’s a disease that is characterized by chemical imbalances in the brain that causes physical symptoms.
Some of the mental and physical symptoms of depression include:
- General discontent
- Loss of interest in activities
- Mood swings
- Feelings of social isolation
- Early awakening or restless sleep
- Excess sleepiness
- Excessive hunger or loss of appetite
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Lack of concentration
- Thoughts of suicide
- Obsessive worrying
How does medical marijuana help treat depression?
The resinous flower clusters of the cannabis plant produce a set of active compounds known as phytocannabinoids. Our bodies produce very similar molecules called endocannabinoids. Both types of cannabinoid compounds can affect a wide range of bodily functions including mood, appetite, sleep cycles, energy levels, and mental focus.
One of the endocannabinoids involved in these processes is known as anandamide. Among other things, anandamide is responsible for regulating the production and uptake of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin levels are often out of balance in patients suffering from mood disorders.
Cannabinoids have been shown to mimic the effects of anandamide to some extent and help to modulate serotonin levels. Specifically, a cannabinoid called cannabidiol or CBD — a non-intoxicating cannabinoid — helps to raise serotonin levels.
Another cannabinoid found in medical marijuana called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC naturally produces an uplifting effect and can induce feelings of euphoria — a welcome feeling for many patients suffering from chronic depression. However, used to excess, THC can have the effect of increasing symptoms such as anxiety, lethargy, restless sleep, and changes in appetite.
When treating depression with medical marijuana, a balance of THC and CBD will generally provide the best results. However, every patient’s endocannabinoid system is unique. Some patients find that CBD alone can bring depression under control.
There is another way that medical marijuana might help relieve depression. Researchers are discovering that imbalances of microbes in the gut can lead to symptoms of depression and that cannabinoids seem to have a beneficial effect on the good bacteria and/or to regulate the bad bacteria. This process is not yet well understood.
Moreover, cannabinoids have been shown to help tame autoimmune conditions such as ulcer-causing Crohn’s disease which often arise in patients suffering from depression. Improvements in sleep patterns, appetite, and energy levels can also play a role in reducing depression, and cannabis is often helpful in these respects.
Which marijuana strains are good for treating depression?
There are two sets of compounds that define the nature of a cannabis strain — cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are essential oils that have been used for millennia in a healing modality known as aromatherapy. Like cannabinoids, terpenes are powerfully active compounds. However, terpenes are produced in far lower concentrations.
It’s the terpenes in a strain that give each strain its distinctive aroma and flavor. (Cannabinoids are odorless and flavorless.) Terpenes also “color” the medicinal effects of the strain. A couple of terpenes known for their uplifting effects are pinene and limonene which are responsible for the smell of pine and citrus respectively.
Finding the perfect balance of cannabinoids and terpenes might take some experimentation. Some patients prefer to keep more than one strain handy — one for daytime activities, one for nighttime use, and another for social activities or hobbies.
Below are seven strains recommended by cannabis culture news and information source, Leafly which they claim are some of the better medical marijuana strains for treating depression.
According to Leafly, Cinex is a THC-dominant strain “known for its creative stimulation and lightweight effects, Cinex can rekindle interest in the hobbies you love.” Cinex is also high in a terpene called limonene which has historically been used in aromatherapy to treat depression.
Jack Herer is another high-THC strain that elevates mood and increases motivation. Pinene contributes to the strain’s piney scent and uplifting effects.
Patients looking for a balance of THC and CBD might want to look into a strain called Harlequin. With a similar aroma to Jack Herer, Harlequin delivers both the calming effects of CBD and the uplifting effects of THC.
Another piney strain, Granddaddy Purple is known for improving appetite in addition to lifting spirits. This high-THC strain is known to induce feelings of relaxation more so than stimulation and is best for nighttime use.
Another balanced strain, Cannatonic offers the benefits of both CBD and THC. The CBD helps to tame feelings of anxiety that often come with a THC high. CBD also helps to reign in the intoxicating effects of THC.
More of a citrusy strain, XJ-13 is high in THC and energizing terpenes. According to Leafly, “If you’re looking to invite curiosity, creativity, or a social spark back into your mind, you might consider this sweet, uplifting strain.”
Blackberry Kush is another citrusy, high-THC medical marijuana strain that’s known to calm the mind and relax the body. Blackberry Kush is better for nighttime use.
Some experimentation with strains and delivery methods might be required to find the best solution. A certified medical marijuana doctor will be able to help patients choose an appropriate product based on their symptoms and lifestyle.
If a dispensary does not carry any of these strains, a knowledgeable budtender should be able to assist the patient in finding a medical marijuana strain that produces the desired effects.
Which medical marijuana products are best for treating depression?
For patients prone to mood swings and sudden onset feelings of depression a fast-acting delivery method is ideal. Smoking marijuana flower or concentrates such as hash or wax offers the fastest onset time, as does vaping cannabis-infused vape oil.
Unlike sudden onset conditions like PTSD and panic attacks, feelings of depression can be ongoing. If a fast onset time is not required, then products such as cannabis-infused tinctures, edibles, and capsules offer a healthier choice than smoking and vaping. Although edibles are slow to take effect, their effects can be longer-lasting.
Depending on the product being used, ideal dosages can vary widely. Patients are advised to start out with a small dosage such as 5 milligrams. If no adverse effects are felt, the dosage can be ramped up until the desired effects are achieved.
Treating depression generally doesn’t require more than 10 to 25 milligrams a few times a day. Don’t take our word for it. Get advice from a qualified medical marijuana doctor.
Although it’s more difficult to measure the dosage when smoking and vaping, remember that when it comes to THC, just a little goes a long way! Taking excessively high doses of THC and/or CBD can not only make matters worse, it can be extremely costly.
In closing, it’s important to reiterate that not all medical marijuana products will relieve symptoms of depression in all patients. Each patient’s needs are unique. Treatment protocols should be discussed with a qualified Missouri medical marijuana doctor.
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- How to get a Missouri medical marijuana card
- Medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri
- Medical marijuana doctors in Missouri