While the mental health profession is torn between the advantages and disadvantages of using cannabis to treat psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression, this article will give you some information on cannabis and depression and some practical ways in which you can use cannabis to help manage it.
4 Types of Depression
What really is depression? It is defined as a complex mood disorder that leaves people hopeless, in despair and sometimes suicidal. Some people are unable to sleep, eat, or even function in a normal daily setting. There are 4 types of depression;
- Major depression – long-standing inability to enjoy life for at least 6 consecutive months or more
- Dysthymia – long-standing mild depression of at least 2 years or more
- Manic depression (bipolar disorder) – depression with quick mood changes, impulsive behaviors, insomnia, irritability and hyperactivity.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – depression that is trigger by the change of season or weather.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 350 million individuals of all age groups and backgrounds suffer from depression around the globe. Depression is the biggest cause of disability around the world. Therefore, it’s important that we take a look at how cannabis could prove to be a helping and healing aid for those who choose to use it.
Causes Of Depression
The cause of someone’s depression can vary and often is due to a combination of factors. This includes a history of childhood trauma and abuse, conflicts with family or coworkers, genetics, poor nutrition, lack of enough exercise, one’s state of health, isolation, death of a loved one, major life changes, loss of a job, and chronic stress are just some of the more common issues surrounding depression.
Unlock Your Inner Joy and Manage Depression
So now that we know about the various types of depression and some of the culprits behind depression, how can we use cannabis to alleviate the symptoms and work through it? While this article is not meant to give any kind of medical advice, there are some things you can keep in mind, while you enjoy your cannabis experience. Also, you will want to consider seeking the services of a fully qualified mental health professional if you are choosing to use cannabis for the first time.
One of the more effective forms of psychotherapy is known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). The premise of CBT is that depression and anxiety stem from distorted thoughts. It is not the circumstances that cause people to feel depressed, but rather how they interpret those events and how they think about them that causes depression. Of course, you may be thinking that some events really do cause depression, such as death of a loved one or loss of a job.
These life events are certainly painful and traumatic. To go through these events and process them in a healthy way is easier said than done. So we’ll cover some tools to help you manage your thoughts, and to penetrate the illusions and distortions, so that you can have the opportunity to better understand how cannabis and depression management can work. Together with cannabis, we’ll explore 10 effective keys to working through both small daily conflicts as well as the big life transitions that we all have to face and deal with.
- All-or-Nothing ThinkingTake a hit of your blunt, joint or vaporizer and reflect on this tendency to evaluate your personal qualities in an extreme fashion. For example, a straight A student may say, “because I received a C in Algebra, I’m a loser.” This black-or-white thinking forms the basis of perfectionism. It causes you to have an intense fear of making mistakes or having imperfections, because you will see yourself as a complete failure, worthless and inadequate. Take another toke or puff and reflect on how unrealistic this way of thinking is, because life is not a straight line and it is rarely completely either one way or the other. Take a few minutes to visualize the green goddess giving you more insight into how you may be beating yourself up with this type of cognitive distortion.
- Over-generalizationWhenever you’re ready, take another puff and reflect on the tendency to arbitrarily conclude that one experience that happened to you once is going to happen to you over and over again in the future. Understandably, since what happened was very upsetting and possibly traumatic, it may trigger you to believe that it will happen again. A good example of this is the pain of rejection in dating. A shy man musters up the courage to ask a beautiful woman out on a date. She politely declines, due to a previous engagement. However, the man tells himself, “I’ll never get a girlfriend. No woman would ever want me anyway. I’ll end up lonely and a loser for the rest of my life.” In his distortion, the man concludes that because he was turned down, that this woman would always turn him down and that all women would do the same. Do all women have 100% identical tastes? Of course not. So you see, this is another illogical distortion. If you like, take a few moments to reflect on this and how you may tend to overgeneralize your experiences in this way.
- Disqualifying the PositiveAnother common distortion is mental tendency to transform neutral or positive experiences into bad or negative one. This isn’t just ignoring the positive experience, but it’s actively turning it around into something bad. Many of us have been conditioned this way through culture and society. A good example of this is when someone compliments a person. A person may receive genuine compliments and praise for a job well done at work. You may automatically tell yourself “They’re just being nice.” With one swift blow, you completely dismiss and disqualify the praise. The same thing happens when people respond with “Oh it was really nothing.” The attitude here is the thought that “I’m second-rate.” This particular cognitive distortion forms the basis for some of the most severe and more extreme forms of depression. Take another puff, and as you do so, close your eyes and visualize yourself looking into a mirror. Inside of the mirror, search for experiences you’ve had where you may have been doing this to yourself.
It’s a good idea to keep a journal and write down your thoughts as they come to you. This gives you a record of what’s going through your mind and your emotions. It also helps you to see it on paper, enabling you to experience increased empowerment over your mood. Ultimately, you’ll want to use cannabis to gain a deeper insight into yourself and bigger perspective on yourself. With these 3 crucial keys, you have the opportunity to experience decreased depression and a higher quality of life with cannabis.