Any stoner knows that marijuana is nature's best cure for the blues.
And now we know why, thanks to a recent study on rats conducted at the University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions.
Neuroscientists first determined that chronic stress diminishes the natural production of compounds in the brain called endocannabinoids.
This results in heightened emotional pain and sometimes depression.
Senior research scientist Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane said in a press release,
In the animal models we studied, we saw that chronic stress reduced the production of endocannabinoids, leading to depression-like behavior.
They needed to find a way to get endocannabinoid production up and running again.
Luckily, it turns out endocannabinoids work by activating the same receptors as THC, which is the stuff in marijuana that gets you high.
The team gave marijuana cannabinoids to the depressed rats and just like that, their endocannabinoid levels went right back to normal, according to the Huffington Post.
Dr. Haj-Dahmane concluded,
Using compounds derived from cannabis — marijuana — to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression.
The brain's response to stress is also a major factor in post-traumatic stress disorder, another mental illness that can be alleviated by marijuana.
A study released last year revealed that smoking marijuana led to a 75 percent decrease in symptoms of this torturous condition, the Huffington Post reports.
The University of Buffalo experiment notes, however, that legalizing medicinal marijuana may lead to children believing it is harmless.
Although the issue of legalizing marijuana remains divisive and complicated, this study looks like it could be promising for the future of mental health treatment.
Citations: New Study Finds Marijuana To Be Effective Against Depression (The Huffington Post), RIA neuroscience study points to possible use of medical marijuana for depression (University of Buffalo News Center)