Medical Marijuana-2

Medical Marijuana: Indica vs. Sativa for Depression

Medical marijuana can be a helpful treatment for depression. However, if you are new to the use of marijuana, it can also be confusing. There are hundreds of different strains of marijuana. There are different ratios of the active components in the drug. Additionally, there are different ways to consume the drug, such as smoking it or eating it. If you are seeking depression relief, these many different options can feel overwhelming.

One of the first things to narrow down is whether to look for indica or sativa. These are the two key strains of marijuana, and they have very different effects. Notably, you can also choose hybrid strains that incorporate both. However, it is helpful if you know the key differences between the two options before looking at hybrids.

What is Indica?

Indica is typically considered the more sedative of the two strains. People who want to relax their minds and their bodies will usually be drawn to indica. Indica has been shown to help:

Improve sleep
Increase appetite
Reduce immediate pain
Reduce nausea
Relax the muscles

Furthermore, indica has been shown to increase dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has been linked to depression when it is imbalanced.

What is Sativa?

Whereas indica makes you sleepy, sativa wakes you up. People who want to use marijuana to increase focus and improve creative thinking during the day will most likely want sativa. Sativa has also been found useful for treating chronic pain.

Furthermore, sativa has been found to increase serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked even more closely with depression than dopamine is. One of the most popular types of anti-depressants is the category called SSRIs, which work directly on serotonin. Sativa strains of marijuana have been found useful for both depression and anxiety.

CBD and THC in Indica and Sativa

In addition to understanding the strains, it is important to know that each strain also has its own ratio of CBD to THC. CBD is the non-psychoactive component whereas THC is the psychoactive part that gets you high. Both of these also play a role in depression treatment.

In general, indica has higher CBD and lower THC. In contrast, sativa tends to be higher in THC and lower in CBD. This is an important consideration when it comes to medical marijuana because most people want to relieve depressions symptoms without experiencing many side effects. Therefore, they will tend to choose a high CBD strain of marijuana.

Sativa and Indica for Depression

As you can see, things get confusing. On the one hand, sativa generally has better results for people seeking depression relief. This is especially true for people who have depression linked to their serotonin levels. However, sativa also tends to have more THC, which is less desirable for folks who don’t want side effects.

Other Factors to Consider

As you begin to do more research into medical marijuana, you will discover that there is even more to the story than sativa vs. indica and CBD:THC ratios. Each strain also has other cannabinoids as well as terpenes, and these play an additional role in depression treatment. For example, strains high in the terpene limonene or known to improve mood. Another terpene, called pinene, helps improve focus. Therefore, you might choose a sativa strain, which is high in THC, and therefore more likely to produce anxiety as a side effect. However, if it is a strain with high amounts of pinene, that can balance out the anxiety.

Since there are so many factors, it can take a little while to find the right medical marijuana to treat depression. However, marijuana risks and side effects are minimal. Therefore, it can be worth the effort to achieve depression relief.

Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell is a Psychiatrist in New York City and specializes in issues involving anxiety depression and adult ADHD. Medical Marijuana is one of the many treatments Dr. Ditzell offers to treat a variety of mental health issues.