How Can Cannabis Help You Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD for short, is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern. According to the American Psychiatric Association, it affects 5% of American adults, and the symptoms last about 40% of the year on average. SAD is popularly referred to as ‘winter depression,’ though there are rare cases of summertime depression as well.
SAD is not the same as the so-called ‘winter blues.’ The latter involves some shifts in mood, lethargy, fatigue, and sadness, but the symptoms are milder and usually don’t disrupt one’s daily life too much. SAD, on the other hand, can be highly distressing and often needs to be treated so that the affected person can function normally.
One of the natural remedies praised for its ability to help with mood disorders is cannabis. A THC disposable bar for vaping, edibles, CBD oils, topicals, or traditional joints… The variety of cannabis products makes it more than likely for you to find something suitable, depending on your preferences and needs.
Of course, you should consult with your healthcare provider any time you plan to introduce a new substance to your body, but cannabis certainly can lift your spirits and improve your overall well-being. Below, we delve deeper into how it can help you fight seasonal affective disorder (and winter blues, too).
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
In order to understand how cannabis can improve the symptoms of SAD and winter blues, you first need to know what they are. Typically, people with SAD experience long-lasting symptoms of low mood, irritability, fatigue, enhanced appetite, carbohydrate craving, social withdrawal, and sleep problems. They also experience a reduced sex drive, concentration problems, and weight gain.
As for the winter blues, these are not as pronounced as those of SAD. While winter blues include the symptoms mentioned above, they are not as intense or persistent. They usually affect people who have a lot of stress in their lives and those who work long hours. As the name implies, they only occur during the winter months but go away as spring approaches.
Therapy, light therapy, and antidepressants, separately or combined, can improve the situation quicker than it would have improved by itself with changing seasons. While there’s no substitute for professional help, cannabis can increase the effectiveness of the treatment and prevent the symptoms from coming back as severely as before.
How Can Cannabis Help With SAD?
Cannabis is a natural mood booster that can help you fight the symptoms of depression. It has been shown to be effective in treating depression in general by helping to:
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
The first step to feeling better is managing your stress level and releasing the tension that accumulates during the winter months. Cannabis can help with this by inducing a state of calm and relaxation. It can also prevent you from overthinking, which is not only counterproductive but can also make you feel more stressed. By letting go of the negative thoughts, you will have more mental energy to focus on the things that matter.
How does it work?
Cannabis contains cannabinoids that affect the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays an important role in regulating our mood, sleep, appetite, and pain, among other things. When activated, it produces a soothing and calming effect that helps us relax.
Research has found that THC can reduce activity in the amygdalae – the part of the brain responsible for our fight-or-flight response. This reduces anxiety and stress, as well as improves your mood, and reduces irritability.
Get You Out of Bed in the Morning
How do you feel after a long night of tossing and turning in bed? Probably fatigued and not particularly excited about getting up. Cannabis can help you get up and going in the morning by increasing your energy levels and making you feel more alert. Just remember that you shouldn’t use it too late in the evening; otherwise, you may have trouble falling asleep.
How does it work?
Cannabis contains compounds called terpenes. These are responsible for the aroma and flavor of cannabis, as well as its effects. One of these terpenes is called myrcene, which has been shown to increase wakefulness and energy levels.
Improve Your Mood
As with any other form of depression, cannabis can help relieve the symptoms and lift your mood. By reducing your anxiety and stress levels and stimulating your endocannabinoid system, it can boost your overall well-being and improve your outlook on life.
How does it work?
Cannabis contains over 400 chemical entities that all have an impact on our mood, such as:
- CBD has antidepressant effects and helps regulate the endocannabinoid system, which can help increase focus and prevent overthinking.
- THC mimics the endocannabinoids naturally produced in our bodies, which can help improve your mood, increase your appetite and reduce nausea.
- CBN can help improve your mood and induce a state of relaxation.
- Terpenes have sedative and anxiolytic effects that can help promote a state of calm and relaxation.
Improve Your Sleep
Aside from causing anxiety and stress, SAD can also disrupt your sleep cycle. You may wake up frequently during the night and feel tired and exhausted during the day. Cannabis can help you get more restful sleep, which will allow you to function normally and recover faster.
How does it work?
Cannabis is a natural sleep aid that can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Not only will it help you get more restful sleep, but it will also prevent you from waking up in the middle of the night and feeling tired and groggy during the day.
The Bottom Line
If you are suffering from SAD, you can often feel like a prisoner of your own home, stuck in the darkness and cold. But with cannabis, you have a powerful weapon at your disposal that can help improve your mood and overall well-being.
Cannabis can help you get a better night’s sleep, reduce your stress and anxiety levels, improve your mood, and, generally, make you feel more comfortable in your own skin.
If you want to try medical marijuana to treat the seasonal affective disorder, be sure to talk about it with your healthcare provider first. They can help you find the right dosage for your symptoms and ensure that you use the product safely.