Depression is one of the most misunderstood conditions out there.

Since the specific cause of depression isn’t well understood, it’s hard to determine who will get it and to make a diagnosis. And, since there is still a certain stigma around mental health conditions, many people refuse to come forward to seek help.

To compound the issue, even when someone does turn to their doctor for relief, the prescriptions their given can take weeks to work, are ineffective for approximately 40 percent of people and come with a laundry list of side effects from weight gain and constipation to sexual dysfunction and insomnia.

But, there may be help on the horizon for people living with depression (at least for those in the 30 states and District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal). And it’s been scientifically proven to not only alleviate symptoms in just 24 hours but also help heal the damage to brain cells caused by the condition in animal models.

So, if you or a loved one is living with depression here’s what the most recent research shows on the power of a single dose of a compound found in marijuana to overcome depression…

One dose, relief in one day and the effects last a week

The research was performed at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Brazil, where scientists examined cannabidiol, a specific component of Cannabis sativa, the plant commonly used to make marijuana.

Using cross-bred rat models that had been selectively bred to develop symptoms of depression, the researchers submitted the animals to situations of stress that would elevate those symptoms. Then they sat back to watch for ‘antidepressant-like’ behavior previously recognized in rat models.

Before the test, some of the animals were given an injection of cannabidiol. And, they found that the antidepressant effects of cannabidiol were fast-acting.

The animals given the compound experienced relief from their symptoms in the same day — not weeks later like those prescription anti-depressants that can take days, possibly weeks, to get into your system.

Even better, the scientists also found that the relief from a single dose lasted a full seven days.

In other words, it appears that cannabidiol holds promise to be used just once a week rather than every single day to reduce symptoms.

If that wasn’t enough, the researchers discovered that on top of its antidepressant benefits, cannabidiol also triggers what they call “neuroplastic mechanisms” that help repair the nerve circuitry in the brain that gets damaged.

To put it simply, the cannabidiol in marijuana could help repair and rewire the depressed brain so that depression is practically “cured.”

According to lead researcher, Professor Sâmia Regiane Lourenço Joca, “Our evidence suggests these effects occur by inducing neuroplastic alterations in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which are brain structures involved in the development of depression. Because cannabidiol is used in humans to treat other conditions, we believe it can also be studied in humans for the treatment of depression in the near future.”

Coping with depression

So, even though marijuana or cannabidiol may not have the go-ahead yet as a standard of treatment, if you live in one of the states that allow the use of medical marijuana, it wouldn’t hurt to open up that discussion with your doctor if other treatments aren’t working for you.

Other ways to cope with depression include:

  • Finding support – Check out support groups at your church and social organizations that provide assistance to people living with depression.
  • Creating a network – Isolating yourself only leads to worsening symptoms. Instead, build your network of social support including family and friends so that you always have help when you need it.
  • Getting more exercise – Even a few minutes each day of physical activity has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression so get out there and get moving.
  • Get more B12 – Many cases of depression are tied to a deficiency of vitamin B12.

Editor’s note: Mother nature’s pharmacy can help with just about anything, if you know how to use it. It’s a better way to find the health you deserve without extreme diets, dangerous pills or brutal workouts! You can find all you need to know in Dr. Michael Cutler’s no-nonsense guide: The Part-Time Health NutClick here for a preview!

This content was originally published here.