Discover the effects of cannabis on mental health and how to cope with depression with help from Delamere’s holistic therapists
Depression is a very common mental disorder, with around 280 million sufferers worldwide. Likewise, cannabis is one of the most used substances globally, consumed by 3-5% of the entire population (1). The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what gives the drug its mind-altering effects. With the ability to over activate certain brain cell receptors, there is some evidence that cannabis use may lead to depression or make mood disorders worse. Conversely, there is increasing evidence that depression could be responsible for a rise in cannabis abuse (2).
Whether depression is the cause or the result of cannabis use, Delamere can help you to overcome cannabis addiction at our purpose-built wellness retreat in Cheshire. Our residential rehab programmes are designed to treat both the physical dependence on cannabis, with a safe and comfortable drug detox, and the mental challenges associated with substance use disorders. We have a team of holistic therapists that will get to the root cause of your addictive behaviour and help you to develop coping mechanisms to live life without cannabis and depression.
If you have concerns about cannabis and depression, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.
Around one quarter of cannabis users suffer with depression, more commonly women and those who started abusing cannabis at an early age (3). To understand the relationship between cannabis and depression we first need to understand what cannabis does to the body and how it affects the brain. THC is the main chemical in cannabis that alters your mood and behaviour. THC interferes with the areas of the brain responsible for thinking, learning, balance, posture, coordination and reaction time.
Cannabis also works on the pleasure receptors of the brain which floods the brain with dopamine and can temporarily help you to forget your problems. Issues arise when the effects wear off and this can worsen your depression. In large doses, cannabis can cause acute psychosis, which may result in hallucinations and delusions (3). Regular cannabis use can impact your mental health in a number of ways:
Increase risk of anxiety and depression (4)
Permanently effect how you think and concentrate (5)
Cause serious relapse if you have a psychotic illness e.g. bipolar disorder (6)
Increase likelihood of later developing mental illness (7)
There are certain physiologic mechanisms within the body that could explain the relationship between cannabis and depression. The endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating functions such as mood, cognition, reward and pain control. Which is why many people with depression use a medical form of cannabis called cannabidiol (CBD). This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and low mood.
However, recreational use of cannabis containing THC can lead to cannabis addiction as the abuser needs higher quantities to achieve the same ‘high’. If regular intake isn’t maintained the arising symptoms can mimic those of depression.
Depression as a symptom of cannabis withdrawal
The addictiveness of cannabis has long been debated but the link between heavy cannabis use and depression is clear. Smoking cannabis can not only make you more susceptible to developing a mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia, it can make any underlying conditions worse. If you find yourself needing higher amounts of cannabis to cope with your depression and are finding it difficult to quit, you may have developed a cannabis addiction. At this point, suddenly using less cannabis or stopping it entirely can result in unpleasant psychological side effects such as:
Anger and irritability
Symptoms of depression leading to cannabis use
Depression is the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors in someone’s life. Adverse life events or traumatic experiences, such as divorce or the death of a loved one, can lead to depression and make it more difficult to cope. A depressed person will experience a variety of psychological, physical and social symptoms that range from mild to severe. These include:
Feeling helpless and hopeless
Being angry, sad or irritable
Losing interest in activities
Finding no joy in life
Struggling to concentrate
Having suicidal thoughts
Losing or gaining weightv
Lack of energy
Neglecting work or family
Withdrawing from social situations
If depression is causing you to increase your cannabis consumption or smoking cannabis is making your depression worse, it’s time to ask for help. Delamere specialises in treating cannabis addiction and can help you cope with the psychological impact of substance abuse.
Many people who come to us for help with cannabis addiction also have depression. We take a holistic approach to treating each individual physically, psychologically and emotionally. First, helping our guests to reduce cravings with a clinical drug detox and then using talking therapies to treat underlying mental health problems.
Mood swings, anxiety and depression are also common during the withdrawal process which we manage with medication, nutritional support and constant care. We know cannabis and depression are often interlinked and we can help you to unpick the reasons for your addictive behaviour with one-to-one counselling and group therapy work.
By identifying the cause of your cannabis addiction and depression we can develop coping mechanisms for you to stop cravings, start healing and grow beyond addiction.
Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first placeDelamere treatment model
Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere
We believe that cannabis addiction, whether stemming from a need to manage stress or escape problems – stems from somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.
Stopping the cycle of addiction or burnout safely and comfortably
pain is causing
Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth
Everything we do here is about outcomes. Focusing on getting you back to yourself again in the short term, but then growing beyond that when you leave Delamere. Helping you create the foundations for long-term recovery and growth.
There’s no one-size-fits-all here. We listen, learn and tailor our programmes to meet your personal needs, whatever they may be. Your journey to recovery is yours, so we design our programmes with you in mind.
Nature and creativity often bring out the best in people, especially after a difficult period in their life. We offer equine and art therapy, fire ceremonies, nature walks and more to help you relax, reflect and see the world in a new way.
Martin Preston, Founder & CEO at Delamere
If a friend, family member or work colleague is showing signs of cannabis addiction and depression, it’s important they get help.
Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our drug detox programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.
Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.
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