While using weed for anxiety and depression relief might sound like uncharted territory, countless patients have used medical cannabis to clear roadblocks while on the path to healing.
But if you’re new to cannabis, you might be on the fence about using CBD or THC for anxiety and depression. What do these cannabinoids have to offer that the mainstream medical system doesn’t?
If you’re skeptical about cannabis or you’re not sure how it could transform your mental health journey, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re breaking down how medical marijuana can be an astoundingly powerful healing tool for people living with anxiety, depression, or both.
Anxiety and Depression: Misunderstood Challenges
People living with anxiety and depression must contend with several challenges, including widespread misconceptions about their struggles.
At TeleLeaf, we deeply understand that:
- Anxiety is so much more than excessive worrying, occasional nervousness, or intense anxiety attacks.
- Depression isn’t just the occasional bout of the blues, laziness, or need for alone time.
- Our team has been in your shoes, and we know what it’s like to lose faith in mainstream treatment options. That’s why we’re so passionate about sharing our firsthand experience with medical cannabis.
Mainstream Treatments for Anxiety and Depression
Whether you’ve previously sought treatment for anxiety, depression, or both, or you’re looking for solutions for the first time, you’ve likely encountered information about common mainstream treatment options:
Healthcare providers prescribe a wide variety of medications to help people manage anxiety and depression.
Some of these include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
While each of these types of medications works in different ways, they share a few key drawbacks:
- Side effects – Many psychiatric medications come with baggage; common side effects include appetite changes, sexual dysfunction, and restlessness.
- Habit formation medications prescribed for anxiety and depression often carry risks of dependence (especially benzodiazepines). Weaning off of these medications can take a significant amount of time.
- Symptom management over recovery – Simply put, pharmaceuticals are designed to treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Treating the root cause of your mental health challenges is a much more complex undertaking.
In addition to pharmaceuticals, many healthcare providers recommend mental health counseling as a treatment for anxiety and depression.
Counseling certainly has its perks:
- Counselors are trained to give you tools you can use outside of each session to cope with your symptoms.
- There are a multitude of counseling approaches, each with its own nuances and typical applications.
- Counselors are good listeners—if you need a listening ear, your counselor can be a trusted confidante.
But therapy isn’t without its drawbacks either:
- It can take time to find the right therapist—you might not mesh well with the first provider you see.
- Therapy can be costly, especially if you’re living without health insurance.
- Counselors aren’t always available the moment you need them, and it can be difficult to recall the coping strategies you learned in therapy during very low moments.
Before recommending pharmaceuticals or counseling, many healthcare providers start by suggesting lifestyle adjustments like:
- Getting daily exercise
- Eating a more nutritious diet
- Keeping a consistent daily routine
- Prioritizing a healthy sleep schedule
- Spending more time “stretching your brain” with meditation, reading, writing, or art
But depending on the severity of your anxiety or depression, some of these lifestyle adjustments simply might not be attainable—or they won’t help you unpack the root causes of your mental health challenges.
For instance, people with depression often experience a lack of motivation to do the things they enjoy. While exercise might improve your overall quality of life, working out can be yet another daunting daily task for people struggling to get by.
All in all, today’s mainstream medical treatments feature a host of drawbacks, and many patients find that they simply don’t work for long-term recovery.
Medical Marijuana: An Alternative Treatment with Massive Potential
If you’re struggling to find answers and relief in traditional healthcare, it might be time to consider a new approach—like incorporating medical marijuana. Let’s explore how people living with anxiety and depression could leverage cannabis’s healing power to recover.
More Than Management
Pharmaceuticals are typically prescribed to help people live with the symptoms of their mental health challenges: lack of motivation, low mood, or a constant state of “fight or flight,” for instance.
But intentional marijuana use can help unlock long-term recovery instead of band-aid fixes. How?
- Slowing down – Marijuana can help slow your racing thoughts. With more time to identify each passing thought or emotion, you can start to take an inventory of your internal response to triggers, stress, and stimuli.
- Digging deeper – When your mind isn’t moving at lightning speed, you can take the time you need to investigate what you’re feeling. Ask yourself questions like “Where do I feel this emotion in my body?” “Why does this stimulus make me feel a certain way?” “What parts of my past does this make me think about?”
- Unpacking – As you dig deeper into your thoughts and emotions, you might uncover parts of yourself that you’ve bottled up—memories, experiences, or even personality traits. Once you discover these hidden tidbits, you can unpack and process them.
This is the road to recovery: assessing and identifying your thoughts, asking fearless questions about them, and unpacking the answers you discover.
Marijuana can help you accomplish every step in this process, especially the first step.
While there are many pharmaceutical options on the market today, the selection pales in comparison to the sheer variety and volume of cannabis products available. It’s never been easier to personalize every element of your cannabis treatment, including:
- Administration method – Smoking, edibles, tinctures, topicals, or oils
- Strain – Indica, sativa, or hybrid
- Cannabinoid profile – THC, CBD, and other compounds
- Dose – The volume you need to achieve your desired effects
And you don’t have to tweak your approach alone—medical cannabis doctors and budtenders (dispensary or pharmacy experts) can help you choose the right products, fine-tune your treatment, and create repeatable results.
All-Natural, Plant-Based Relief
Medical cannabis varies from pharmaceutical treatments in two other key ways:
- Marijuana is all-natural and plant-based – While some pharmaceuticals are certainly derived from naturally occurring compounds, they’re far from plant-based. If you’re trying to make intentional choices about the substances you consume, cannabis can offer an all-natural solution.
- Marijuana has a low incidence of habit formation – Pharmaceuticals carry significant addiction potential—especially benzodiazepines. Marijuana simply doesn’t have the same dependence profile; you can stop or start dosing with cannabis whenever you choose without withdrawal.
Perhaps most importantly, marijuana can complement any of the mainstream treatments listed above:
- If you’re already taking prescription medication, marijuana can support more introspective thought or provide relief as needed. Be sure to talk to your healthcare providers about all of the medications you’re taking, including marijuana.
- Counseling and medical cannabis are a highly compatible treatment match. Supplementing your findings with input, advice, or further questions from a counselor can help you hone your intentional practice.
- Medical cannabis can help unlock the time, motivation, or mindset needed to make positive lifestyle changes like exercising, eating well, or spending time on creative pursuits.
Discover the Recovery You Deserve with TeleLeaf
With all of the above in mind, you might be wondering, “Can I get a medical card for depression or anxiety?”
If you’re looking to unlock revolutionary relief, TeleLeaf is here to help. Our mission is to connect patients with medical cannabis so that they can heal and live the life they deserve. Whether you’re struggling with mental health challenges, coping with chronic pain, or searching for a supplement to existing treatments, our expert providers can help you find answers and relief.
Reach out today to make an appointment.
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