The Atlantic compares the use of meth as a “top-line antidepressant” in the 1930s to the 1950s to debates over the use of medicinal marijuana today. “It’s an example of how pharmaceuticals, at their core, are drugs. They’re chemicals that were mixed together and believed to be beneficial to humanity, until they weren't.”
In 2014, then National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) director, Thomas Insel, speculated that ketamine “might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.” A recent review of the research suggests that while ketamine may produce a rapid short-term improvement in depression, the effect is short-lived and the potential for addiction and dependence warrants considerable caution.
A small study of 30 participants in Germany claims that cannabis can be used to treat “ADHD” because it increases the availability of dopamine. "This then has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin and dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine." According to the report, 22 of the 30 participants opted to discontinue their prescriptions in favor of medical marijuana.
“Underscoring the incredible momentum to legalize marijuana is the misconception that the drug can’t hurt anybody,” Dr. Sushrut Jangi writes in the Boston Globe. “It can, especially young people.” He suggests that the biochemistry of marijuana effects "systems ordinarily involved in healthy behaviors like eating, learning and forming relationships” and “throws the finely tuned system off balance.”
Marijuana is now legal in two states, and legal for medical use in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Polls show the majority of Americans support cannabis legalization, and more and more of the country is joining the legalization trend. As a counselor working with people diagnosed with psychosis and mental illness I am often asked about my opinion and clinical experience — as well as my personal experience — with medical cannabis.