Psychological Benefits of Marijuana Usage
1. Neuropathic Pain Reduction
Even at low doses, vaporized marijuana has been proven to be effective at helping those who are experiencing neuropathic pain. Perhaps the most common use for marijuana these days is to help with chronic pain management. Chronic pain is a leading cause of reduced quality of life and those with it are trying to cope but sometimes can barely make it through the day.
There is only so much a person can do before they need to start looking at medicinal approaches to treat their severe lasting pain. Based on studies, marijuana seems to really help people out that have high amounts of chronic pain. Although the pros and cons need to be weighed before utilizing it as a treatment option, it does appear to get the job done for many that have tried.
It is hypothesized that pain relief from ingesting marijuana is a result of the affect it has on frontal limbic cannabinoid receptors – as well as reductions in activity in the anterior mid cingulate cortex as well as altered activity in the amygdale and primary sensorimotor regions. Researchers think that cannabis may target the “affective” qualities of the pain more than anything. In other words, individuals who use marijuana may find that it reduces the unpleasantness as a result of the pain, but not necessarily the intensity of the pain.
2. Antidepressant (Mood Boost)
The long term effects of marijuana as an antidepressant remain unknown. In many cases it is not advisable to use marijuana to help treat depression because it can increase risk of developing more severe conditions like schizophrenia. When smoked, marijuana causes the brain to release dopamine and anandamide – producing a relaxing affect. Many individuals use this substance to self treat their depression and find temporary relief.
As with any drug, using it one time is likely going to have an antidepressant affect. However, repeated use or chronic use is actually linked to having a lower quality of life and lower levels of life satisfaction than non users. There needs to be more research done in this area, but most users find that it does help improve their overall mood and depression. I tend to think of marijuana as a mood enhancer. With a relatively low side effect profile compared to other drugs – even antidepressants – further research is warranted in this area.