Although the holiday season is supposed to be about joy, happiness and goodwill to all, for many the season often feels quite the opposite. Stress, anxiety, family issues, loneliness and unmet expectations can lead to melancholy, despair and depression.
“Reducing stress is one of cannabis’ most legendary attributes and is why it is so functional in inducing sleep, calming nerves and reducing aggression.”
One of the major factors that leads to depression is stress, and stress can soar during the holiday season. A report issued by the American Psychological Association estimated that 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men report an increase in stress during the holidays. The higher percentage for women could be due to women taking more responsibility for holiday tasks such as shopping, family celebrations, cooking and cleaning.
Holiday family celebrations can produce feelings of anxiety and even dread as many families are far from harmonious love affairs. From sibling rivalries to problematic uncles, aunts and cousins, being together may not be all warmth and coziness. Those who cannot be with or are estranged from their families can experience loneliness and isolation. The media’s overbearing emphasis on family along with close friends celebrating joyously can make the situation even worse.
For many, cannabis may be an effective answer to depression, as the role of cannabis in treating depression has been documented in a number of studies. A 2015 University of Buffalo study found that stress reduces the production of endocannabinoids, which can be a risk factor for the development of depression, according to the study’s author a lead researcher, Dr. Samir Haj-Dahmane. “Using compounds derived from cannabis—marijuana—to restore normal endocannabinoid function could potentially help stabilize moods and ease depression,” Dr. Haj-Dahmane said.
Realistically, holiday depression is of a temporary nature, so the role of cannabis in treating holiday depression should be seen more as preventative than curative. If you can keep from stressing out in the first place, you won’t have the problem of reduced endocannabinoid production that leads to depression.
Reducing stress is one of cannabis’ most legendary attributes and is why it is so functional in inducing sleep, calming nerves and reducing aggression. When you know you are going to be in a stressful situation during the holidays, imbibing a few hits of tetrahydrocannabinol-heavy cannabis has been reported to keep emotional processes balanced no matter how imbalanced and hectic everything else is.
Sitting at a bar stool drinking themselves into oblivion and bemoaning their plight has become the classic picture of a lonely and isolated person during the holiday season. A person may still be lonely and isolated from family, but those feelings can often be mitigated by the ability of cannabis to facilitate socialization augmented by the shared camaraderie of others similarly situated. Although many of the legalization initiatives that have been passed by voters allow for consumption at public places in the same way alcohol is consumed, it is unfortunate that very few have opened up.
Perhaps, one of the greatest holiday stressors is a traditional family gathering. There is nothing more depressing than families bickering heatedly. Often, toxic family relations are further strained as forbearance levels are exceeded, especially when they are exacerbated by alcohol. The ability of cannabis to promote socialization and at the same time create a mood of tolerance and compassion makes it ideal for family gatherings. With legalization now in place for almost one-quarter of the population of the U.S., suggesting the use of cannabis is no longer out of line.
For joy, happiness and goodwill to all, cannabis should be part of the holiday season. Hopefully it will become as traditional as candy canes and spiked egg nog.