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Can Cannabis Help Seasonal Depression?

Mood-boosting for a disorder that's as perennial as the fall foliage.

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This story originally appeared on The Fresh Toast

The weather and foliage on the trees aren’t the only things that are changing around this time of year. As the sun starts to set earlier and earlier, peoples moods can be affected by the decrease in sunlight. This is often known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and it can make the winter months miserable for lots of people.

Fortunately for those that do suffer from SAD, there are numerous remedies that can make this time of year more bearable. Exercise, vitamin supplements and even cannabis can have an enormous impact on fighting against the disorder. While there are resources for offsetting the disorder, getting a full understanding of the problem is paramount in being able to overcome it.

RELATED: Can CBD Help Fend Off The Winter Blues?

Seasonal affective disorder symptoms

One of the most crucial steps in combating SAD is properly identifying its symptoms. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sleepiness and fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • And several others

Those who are suffering from any of these symptoms should refrain from self-diagnosis and seek professional assistance. That professional assistance could lead to more resources to fight the disorder such as an antidepressant prescription.

How common is it?

In recent years, more and more people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder have begun opening up about their struggles. An estimated 10 million Americans are said to be currently dealing from SAD. Additional research shows women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder than men. SAD also appears to be more prevalent among people with pre-existing mental health conditions like bipolar disorder.

The number of people across the globe who suffer from seasonal depression is slightly lower than that of the United States. Only about 1-2% of the global population is said to suffer from seasonal depression while about 5% of the U.S population suffers from SAD.

RELATED: Can Cannabis Help Treat Depression and Anxiety?

How cannabis can help fight seasonal affective disorder

There are a number of proven ways to offset some of the sadness that comes with the changing of the seasons. For example, cannabis contains cannabinoids that can have a positive impact on mood, while potentially increasing serotonin levels. When it comes to decreasing anxiety levels, that’s where CBD comes into play. By working with our body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD has been seen as instrumental in boosting dopamine levels.

Aside from cannabis, there are a handful of other at-home methods that can help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Spending more time with friends, family and loved ones can be highly effective in offsetting some SAD symptoms. The same can be said for making an effort to get lots of sunlight and getting regular exercise.

Ultimately, seasonal affective disorder can set in as quickly and seamlessly as the fall foliage on the trees outside. Knowing that you aren’t alone, and having the best practices for fighting it, can make the fall and winter months better than you could have ever imagined.