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Pot over Prozac: Study says marijuana can treat depression

By Oscar Pascual |

Don’t feel like popping pills to cure your blues? Smoke some weed instead.

The University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) released a new study this week, suggesting that marijuana can be useful in reducing stress and depression.

While studying rats, researchers found that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids — a compound naturally produced by the body that’s been linked to a reduction in pain and anxiety while increasing the overall feeling of well-being. A lower production of endocannabinoids could be a reason why chronic stress could eventually develop into depression.

The study notes that endocannabinoids are similar to the chemicals found in marijuana and its active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. That means smoking a joint or eating an edible could actually replace all the good vibes lost on a crappy day.

“Chronic stress is one of the major causes of depression,” said lead researcher Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane in a university press release. “Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression.”

The endocannabinoid system, remember, is the network in every human’s body that helps to regulate mood, appetite, and a host of other functions. Every human, stoned or straight, has endocannabinoid receptors, which are built to react to cannabis.

The latest research backs up prior studies that have also revealed the effective qualities of cannabis on depression and other mental health conditions.

A 2013 study by researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands initially proved that THC activates the endocannabinoid system naturally found in the brain.

“THC administration reduces the negative bias in emotional processing,” says the Utrecht report.

The RIA report goes on to to suggest that marijuana could also treat symptoms of PTSD.

“We have seen that some people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder have reported relief using marijuana,” said Haj-Dahmane.

He wouldn’t be alone. Clinical research from New Mexico concluded that smoking cannabis can reduce PTSD symptoms in patients, while Yale associate professor of psychiatry R. Andrew Sewell contends that pot could even help cure PTSD altogether.

So next time you’re feeling down, put down that Xanax and pick up some Super Silver Haze from your nearest dispensary.