For many Calgarians, winter is a special time of year. The snow has arrived, the holiday festivities are in full-swing and the mountains are calling.

But for the 3% of Canadians facing SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) the shorter and colder days of winter can bring along a host of unpleasant symptoms. The lack of sunlight can disrupt sleep-wake cycles, with genetics and hormonal imbalances also impacting the onset of the condition. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder Symptoms

Those dealing with SAD can experience:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weight gain
  • Food cravings
  • Feelings of sadness or anxiety
  • Loss of interest in sex 

Although there are many helpful methods that can help reduce these uncomfortable symptoms, such as spending more time outdoors and exercising, the dramatic change in the weather can be a difficult time for many of us.

Luckily, research is pointing to a natural alternative that can help calm nerves, improve sleep and reduce symptoms for Canadians experiencing SAD.

 

The ECS: A Brief Explanation

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex biological system that helps our bodies regulate a variety of important functions such as mood and sleep patterns. This cell-signalling system was discovered in the early 1990’s when researchers were exploring the famous cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Since the chemical compounds found in cannabis respond so well to the receptors found in our bodies, using the plant to treat symptoms regulated by the ECS (such as mood and sleep) can be extremely effective. This is why so much research is currently underway to explore the link between cannabinoids and conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD.

 

CBD for the Winter Blues

As we mentioned earlier, those dealing with SAD often experience difficulties with anxiety and depression. It is suggested that an imbalance in serotonin may be a culprit behind feeling down, and cannabinoids (specifically CBD) may help out with this issue. 

Although CBD itself doesn’t increase serotonin levels, it can boost the brain’s ability to transmit more serotonin signals. This mimics the effect of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) therefore allowing CBD to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression in a more natural way. 

 

Exercise and Cannabis: a Great Combo to Stave Off SAD

Exercise as a great option for those suffering from SAD, especially when it’s outdoors. The benefits of endorphins associated with a good sweat session have become very well known, but did you know that your body also produces its own endogenous cannabinoids during exercise? 

An animal study performed in 2015 discovered that mice running on a wheel produced endocannabinoids which in turn reduced pain and anxiety. This study suggests that the famous “runner’s high” is very closely associated to our bodies own endocannabinoid system. 

 

The Power of a Great Night’s Sleep

Finally, sleep can be a challenge for those dealing with SAD. The shorter days can disrupt our circadian rhythm, resulting in difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep. Both THC and CBD have proven effective in addressing these nighttime issues. THC specifically can facilitate falling asleep and increasing slow-wave sleep to allow a better sense of rest and rejuvenation. 

Cannabis for SAD: Visit our Calgary and Edmonton medical cannabis clinics

Your appointment is free and covered by Alberta Health Services. Before your medical consultation with one of our licensed physicians, our Cann-Experts will educate you on how medical cannabis works in our body and how it reacts to our endocannabinoid system.

During your education session with a Cann-Expert, you will learn:

  1. The main differences between an Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strain
  2. Benefits of THC, CBD, and Balanced strains
  3. The body’s unique Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)
  4. The timing of inhalation vs ingestion

At the time of your consultation, your Revolution Medical Cannabis doctor will review your medical history and ensure that cannabis will not conflict with any medications you’re currently taking.

Our Calgary and Edmonton medical cannabis prescribing doctors can help create a plan that will help manage your SAD symptoms. Our team will guide you in selecting a licensed cannabis producer as well as the registration.

Schedule your free appointment today.

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