Are you experiencing depression? If so, you’re not alone and are among the millions of Americans plagued by this mood disorder. A recent article shared new statistical details about how depression in the U.S. is on the rise.
Apparently the diagnosis of depression increased 33 percent between years 2011 and 2014. (1) Previously, The National Center for Health Statistics reported that antidepressant usage jumped 65% in 15 years between 1999 and 2014: from 7.7 percent of Americans to 12.7 percent for people 12 and older, twice as large for women than men, and 19.1% for those 60 and older. (2)
The great news, they say, is that “universal depression screenings” are happening more frequently, and that this mood disorder is no longer in the cupboard: people are talking about it and treating it… with pharmaceutical drugs.
I am left to wonder why this depressive state has grown by leaps and bounds? For one thing, there is a lot that has changed in the world since January 1, 2000. It is enough to make anyone depressed. I probably missed something, below, but here are the examples I can recall:
September 11, 2001
The Patriot Act
Ongoing terrorist attacks both domestic and international
Mass murders at schools
Indian Harbour Beach Raccoon Removal
Increasing opioid addiction and deaths
Multiple wars in the Middle East
Intense natural disasters: fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, blizzards and droughts
The Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011
The financial crisis of 2008
Overpriced real estate
Earnings that don’t suit the cost-of-living
The divisive presidential election of 2016 and presidency of Donald Trump
Of course, this list does not include challenging personal situations most of us experience from time to time.
Pharmaceutical companies are the big winners.
Though most of the antidepressant-package inserts warn of one or another side-effect, pharmaceutical antidepressants are the omnipresent ‘go to” solution and coping mechanism for depression. Additionally, aside from the side effects, lots of people report difficulty in getting off antidepressants when they’re prepared to do so.
Depression has been linked to greater neuro-inflammation. It’s common knowledge now that inflammation is a precursor to many different disease processes.
(3) because of its chemical compounds, especially THC and CBD, actual healing, not just symptom masking, can happen to restore deficient areas of the brain and immune system. (4) It’s non-toxic, cost-effective and has little to no side-effects whatsoever.
“… the team examined data from Strainprint, a mobile program cannabis users may use to track changes in symptoms after using different doses and cannabis chemotypes. Overall, self-reported signs of depression decreased by 50 percent.”
So why don’t more people try cannabis medicinally before going down the pharma trail? I suggest there are three main reasons:
The leftover stigma promoted by the Reefer Madness film propaganda of 1936 and following 1937 Marahuana Tax Act
The preference to trust doctors and what they prescribe
A general lack of understanding about therapeutic, not recreational, cannabis use
A buddy of mine used cannabis medicinally to help her recover from depression after nothing else worked. She stated that it gave her back her life, which inspired her to share her experience with others.
So far as I can tell the multiple devastating events of this 21st century have radically altered the world from as we once knew it : disorienting at best and gloomy at worst for people who understand the difference. That said, I believe it is still completely possible to take flight out of depression and remain emotionally and mentally well through it all with the help of responsible, therapeutic cannabis use.
The world may not change in ways we favor but we can.