Marijuana and Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety and depression are NOT currently on the list of Qualifying Conditions for Registry in the MI Med MJ program. It is possible that a patient could use the Affirmative Defense-- and prevail--for the use of medical marijuana to treat symptoms of Anxiety & Depression. This however would require getting arrested, charged and going to court, where outcomes are never guaranteed.
We are not aware of any clinics or doctors in MI currently writing recommendations for medical marijuana for Anxiety & Depression.
If you would like to submit a petition to MI-DCH asking that Anxiety & Depression be added to the list of Qualifying Conditions, you may do so by using this simple, fill in the blank form: http://www.qualifyingpatient.com Please consider doing so.
The Current DSM-IV Definition Anxiety (Abridged):
A. A persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.
The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be embarrassing and humiliating.
B. Exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally pre-disposed Panic Attack.
C. The person recognizes that this fear is unreasonable or excessive.
D. The feared situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety and distress.
E. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
F. In individuals under age 18 years, the duration is at least 6 months.
G. The fear or avoidance is not due to direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., drugs, medications) or a general medical condition not better accounted for by another mental disorder...
Major Depressive Disorder (Unipolar Depression)
Research has shown that depression is influenced by both biological and environmental factors. Studies show that first degree relatives of people with depression have a higher incidence of the illness, whether they are raised with this relative or not, supporting the influence of biological factors. Situational factors, if nothing else, can exacerbate a depressive disorder in significant ways. Examples of these factors would include lack of a support system, stress, illness in self or loved one, legal difficulties, financial struggles, and job problems. These factors can be cyclical in that they can worsen the symptoms and act as symptoms themselves.
Symptoms of depression include the following:
· depressed mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness)
· reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed, sleep disturbances (either not being able to sleep well or sleeping to much)
· loss of energy or a significant reduction in energy level
· difficulty concentrating, holding a conversation, paying attention, or making decisions that used to be made fairly easily
· suicidal thoughts or intentions.
Copyright 1994, The American Psychiatric Association
While the only state I’ve found so far to support Medical Marijuana for Patients with Anxiety and Depression is Oregon – it is completely obvious that a percentage of the population DOES find relief from their symptoms of Anxiety and Depression through the use of Medical Marijuana. State of Washington itself has denied, yes denied, three different petitions to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety/Depression, and Bi-Polar Disorder. They denied the petitions for lack of substantial qualifying evidence/clinical trials that the treatment of these conditions is warranted by Medical Marijuana. In just a few short hours I’ve found nearly 20 studies, clinical trials, and personal accounts where the information without a doubt shows that people find relief from their symptoms of Depression and Anxiety through the use of Medical Marijuana.
The debate continues:
full text at http://pn.psychiatry...
Studies Indicate Some Acute Benefit
To Sunil Aggarwal, Ph.D., the verdict is already in.
Aggarwal is a third-year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a fellow in the Medical Scientist Training Program. His doctoral dissertation, titled "The Medical Geography of Cannabinoid Botanicals in Washington State: Access, Delivery, and Distress," discussed the successful use of medical marijuana or cannabinoid botanicals by 176 chronically and critically ill patients in Washington state.
(The term "cannabinoids" refers to any of the substances that are structurally related to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.)
At the AMA meeting, Aggarwal spoke to the Section Council on Psychiatry and asserted that since 2001—when the House of Delegates last voted to retain the Schedule I status of marijuana pending the outcome of research—at least 10 randomized, controlled trials had been completed on the use of cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain of multiple etiologies, appetite and weight loss in HIV/AIDS, spasticity in multiple sclerosis, and severe nausea.
In each of these studies, researchers used a federal-government supply of marijuana grown in Mississippi.
Aggarwal told psychiatrists at the meeting that the total body of literature on the subject shows "that cannabinoids, of which cannabis contains roughly 100 ... have activity at the body's cannabinoid receptors and have many distinct pharmacologic properties, including analgesic, antiemetic, antispasmodic, antioxidative, neuroprotective, antidepressant, anxiolytic, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as glial cell modulation and tumor growth regulation."
Likewise there is just as much information out there denying these claims, and proving completely opposite. Which is where we come down to the patient – the patient is who matters, and ultimately can tell the doctor whether or not Medical Marijuana is working for them. Studies on other people, other conditions, and numerous variables is no match for a persons own evaluation of their health. It is our body after all, is it not?
A misconception I think we should all be out to squash is the idea that people who ail from Anxiety and Depression have less-than severe symptoms, compared to any other debilitating condition approved by the current Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Many of the accounts I read from Doctors say – Medical Marijuana exacerbates anxiety in an individual – while this can be true for some – the majority, and yes majority is valid here, the majority of patients who have Anxiety and Depression claim that Medical Marijuana HELPS them with their condition. "This can come down to the strain that was used during their medical trial. It is widely known that Indicas are better for their relaxing qualities, and Sativas can energize people, motivate - or in some rare instances exascerbate anxiety."
So really it comes down to knowing what works well for the patient on a personal level.
Below is an excerpt of a study listed through the American Psychiatric Association
[full text can be found here http://www.psych.org...ification.aspx :
Norman Sartorius, MD, PhD (Geneva, Switzerland) gave a presentation on the public health implications of the definition of mental disorders. He noted that the challenge is to harmonize the definitions that have been made by different groups since the consequences of the definition are not the same from one group to another. For example, it was announced the all mentally ill persons in France are now classified as being disabled and can now get a pension. While this may be a help to the families of these patients, it ma not be as helpful to the individuals actually suffering from mental illness or to society as it may make it more difficult for such individuals to work. The threshold of disease can be set in absolute terms (e.g., the presence of a particular symptom, like psychosis, equals disease) or certain treatments might define the disorder. In general, disorder threshold involves three sources of information, impairment and consequent disability, distress, and symptoms. ICD has made an effort to keep disability out of the definition because disability depends on the social environment. DSM, in contrast, includes disability as one of the defining characteristics of disorder. It has also been proposed that the social desirability of the condition may play a role in the definition; for example, if an individual has damage of the corpus callosum, it must not be considered a disease in a dis-literate society where reading skills have no social value. Dr. Sartorius then discussed the issue of the stigma and the inevitable discrimination associated with being labeled as having a mental disorder. Stigma is sometimes related to the disease name, raising the question of whether it is possible to define a disorder without giving it a name. Changes in Japan in the name of schizophrenia (from a Japanese word meaning essentially “broken brain” to a term with less severe connotations) will allow us to study the impact of a disorder’s name on stigma. Dr. Sartorius concluded by noting that the main points he is making will be covered in the other presentations at the conference, i.e., that the public health implications relevant to the area in question (e.g., forensic, economic) depend on the definition of mental disorder that is used.
As you can see the social stigmas facing patients with Anxiety and Depression are likely enough to cause the mental illness in the first place. This is the uphill battle patients with these disorders are facing today.
Personally – I’ve suffered from Anxiety and Depression from a very young age – its not something people just magic into existence – its not something people choose – another misconception with mental disorders. I’ve taken a myriad of anti-depressants from the SSRI category, and now have moved onto an SNRI, Cymbalta. I have experience no change in my condition since starting Cymbalta nearly two months ago now. I do however find relief from my anxiety and depressive symptoms through Medical Marijuana. The heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweatiness and lack of concentration are completely eradicated after treatment with Medical Marijuana.
All this is fantastic, but the bottom line is – where is the evidence, where is the scientific information backing the use of Medical Marijuana in patients with anxiety and depression? Below you will find links that will help you in your information search, all of these links are valid as of 5/13/09.
Cannabidiol, a constituent of natural marijuana not found in Marinol, appears to have distinctive therapeutic value as an anti-convulsant and hypnotic, and to counteract acute anxiety reactions caused by THC.
Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects
Antidepressant-like activity and modulation of brain monoaminergic transmission by blockade of anandamide hydrolysis
Science: Association between cannabis use and depression may not be causal, study says
Marijuana use and depression among adults: Testing for causal associations.
Do patients use marijuana as an antidepressant?
'Cannabis' Acts as Antidepressant
BBCi, 14th October 2005
Cannabis And Depression Research
NORML, 18th July 2005
Cannabinoids elicit antidepressant-like behavior and activate serotonergic neurons through the medial prefrontal cortex.
Study: Marijuana chemical may treat depression
Therapeutic aspects of cannabis and cannabinoids†
Treating depression with cannabinoids - Kurt Blass
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis as a medicine became common throughout much of the world by the 19th century. It was used as the primary pain reliever until the invention of aspirin. Modern medical and scientific inquiry began with doctors like O'Shaughnessy and Moreau de Tours, who used it to treat melancholia and migraines, and as a sleeping aid, analgesic and anticonvulsant.
Marijuana and Medicine
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The looming question of the effect of marijuana on the brain has been answered. According to Canadian researchers, cannabis promotes neurogenesis -- the generation of new neurons in the brain -- leading to anti-anxiety and anti-depressant type effects.
Depression: Medical Marijuana is a Successful Therapy
Reported by Rochester Cares for MMMA 5/13/09