The number of college students dealing with depression and anxiety is huge, and while physicians have yet to embrace cannabis as a potential means of treating these conditions, many students are making it an important part of their wellness regime.
The American Psychological Association reports that 25 percent of college students are taking psychiatric medications to mitigate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. But for many other students, medical marijuana has become the answer.
Registered psychiatric nurse Barbara Blaser says cannabis has the potential to be a saving grace for suffering students. Blaser worked for the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Disabilities for 30 years before becoming Director of Clinical Services for Oakland-based medical marijuana dispensary Magnolia Wellness.
"I believe that cannabis offers hope for people living with a mental illness," Blaser told Leafly. "I think, in particular, people with anxiety disorders can be helped."
Many physicians, however, are reluctant to discuss medical marijuana as an option with their patients, despite claims from students like Brianna, who says cannabis has been much more effective than her prescription antidepressants.
"The medication helps," she said, "but not nearly as much as cannabis and CBD."
A similar sentiment was shared by DJ, an education major, who also recently moved from more traditional medications to medical marijuana for treatment. He says the important thing is not to get dragged down by the stereotypes of what a cannabis consumer is.
"Cannabis is able to help get symptoms under control without the slew of negative side effects of other meds, but must be treated like medicine. Becoming a burnout is not going to help you feel better, or advance…the repeal of federal prohibition. Know your limit, and only use what you need to get through each situation."
Cannabis, it seems, is the medication these students need.