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The best cannabis strains for depression

March 24, 2015
(Gillian Levine for Leafly)

Updated 10/1/19

Depression is a complex disorder, and cannabis is a complex plant. Research has yet to demystify the relationship between the two, and that’s an important consideration for those suffering from depression.

Despite these complexities, there are individuals who claim that cannabis helps them through depression. For some, cannabis can imbue the mind with an elevated sense of engagement and motivation. It can stimulate hunger, conversation with friends, and interest in hobbies and creative escapes. We highly encourage you to communicate with your medical professional to determine how cannabis may interfere with your current treatments and medications.

Related

Does cannabis interact with antidepressants?

It’s important to recognize that cannabis doesn’t serve everyone. If you find that cannabis is becoming a burden on your journey, it’s okay to set it aside temporarily or for the long haul.

And finally, remember that not all cannabis strains are equal:

  • THC strains are the most common. They produce the euphoric high associated with cannabis, along with appetite stimulation. Some people find THC’s effects to pique curiosity and motivation, but others may find that it worsens anxiety. For high-THC strains, look for strains with diamonds below.
  • CBD strains are less common. Because their effects range from no high at all to mild intoxication, these strains are often preferred by those who are new to cannabis or anyone looking to avoid the anxious side effects of THC. For CBD strains, look for strains with circles below.

As you explore new cannabis strains, pay attention to the terpenes (colors) that make up your favorites. These aromatic compounds are important to your experience as they shape the aroma, flavor, and potentially even the effects associated with different strains.

Related

Try these limonene cannabis strains for anxiety, depression, and stress relief

Cinex

cinex cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Limonene, caryophyllene, pinene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Known for its creative stimulation and lightweight effects, Cinex can rekindle interest in the hobbies you love (and maybe in the ones you didn’t know you loved!). Cinex leads with the citrusy terpene limonene, which is being studied for anxiety and depression relief.

Find Cinex Nearby

Jack Herer

jack herer cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Terpinolene, caryophyllene, pinene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Jack Herer is a strain cherished for its uplifting qualities that inspire happiness and creativity. With an aroma of sharp pine and freshly cut wood, Jack can provide a sense of comfort and motivation on low days.

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Harlequin

harlequin cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Cannabinoid profile: Balanced THC/CBD

Harlequin balances the benefits of both THC and CBD, resulting in a strain that can deliver relief alongside a clear head. CBD helps counteract the sometimes anxiety-inducing effects of THC, so if you’re prone to nerves, Harlequin is for you.

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Granddaddy Purple

granddaddy purple cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, caryophyllene, pinene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Granddaddy Purple is a soothing strain that can awaken appetite and encourage a sense of serenity throughout the mind and body. This strain is best saved for late nights when you need a little help finding a cool, calm headspace before bedtime.

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Cannatonic

cannatonic cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene

Cannabinoid profile: Balanced THC/CBD

Cannatonic is another high-CBD strain that delivers you to bliss without the anxiety often associated with high-THC strains. If THC makes you feel sluggish or hazy, consider the clarity and unencumbered relief Cannatonic offers many consumers.

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XJ-13

xj-13 cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Terpinolene, caryophyllene, pinene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

With its bright citrusy aroma, XJ-13 has a way of throwing color back into the world and sharpening the senses. If you’re looking to invite curiosity, creativity, or a social spark back into your mind, you might consider this sweet, uplifting strain.

Find XJ-13 Nearby

Blackberry Kush

blackberry kush cannabis strain

Primary terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene

Cannabinoid profile: THC-dominant

Can’t seem to shake those late-night thoughts keeping you up? Let Blackberry Kush ease you into sleep with its meditative tranquility that helps you find stillness in mind and body.

Find Blackberry Kush

Explore more cannabis strains for depression

Use the Leafly Explorer to find more cannabis strains that have been rated highly by other Leafly users for related symptoms:

  • Jay EmmCee

    Great. As soon as you can suggest a strain that doesn’t induce major paranoid episodes and uncontrollable shaking, I’ll start to listen. I WISH pot was an anti-depressant for me but it has the opposite effect. My mind goes 1000 miles an hour and I have terrible feelings of paranoia.

    • Danny Choriki

      No drug works exactly the same with every person. We need to allow research.

      • Gerry Malone

        Spot on Danny

      • WZimmermann

        Precisely

    • Lyssa Skunkers

      I get panic attacks from certain strains…. Iknow ur struugle what works best for me is sfv og kush… The indica one…. Total calm no depression or anxity n no shaking…. Try n stay away from stativa strains

      • WZimmermann

        I have to say for years I used ultra low dose Xanax. .12 mg at most. It controlled racing thoughts, depression (the depths / the worst of it) and maintained my cool when the *hit hit the fan. Never did I exceed that dose unless someone died or something horrible happened… where I had to be supportive to others in an emergency. And I never got addicted or got weird after being off of it for a few days. HOWEVER I used T.M. (Transcendental Meditation) before I would take any Xanax. It usually worked to replace the need for it. Yoga also worked. Google “Yogi Matt Morning Yoga.” This Mathew Rosenberg morning routine is easy and it has POWER to help you transcend stress in 15 minutes. Amazing, been using it for years. Maybe zero THC marijuana oil could help some looking to MJ to help them with symptoms of depression. But getting high has little or no value for me personally. You have to look at your own reaction but I don’t see it being useful for most people… Stoner lifestylers may disagree but when you’ve known a few of them you realize they live on another level of consciousness that we have no right to judge but I’ve only seen irresponsible behavior from regular users unless they were of extremely high IQ. The rest of us perhaps should be more honest about the effects and perhaps should look to it for party purposes once in a great while? No judgment.

        • Poonam Srivastava

          WZimmermann why the f don’t you just stay away from this site. What are you an evangelist? No, you are a troll. This is not a place to debate the efficacy of medical marijuana. Go back to school boy. Get some help from your true love. I know way too much about your existence and I came here looking for something else. As did everyone else. Bye, troll.

          • Rusty Shackleferd

            A pothead woman who can not handle the truth. I use to detest potheads all through childhood,teens and early to mid 20s. I tried it the first time in my late twenties. Changed my life forever. I started on edibles,I can not stand smoking,it’s toxic and gives others second hand smoke risk. I learned many strains,and learned much about edibles. Too much can kill you,especially if you have heart,or blood pressure problems. To keep this short. I learned to take very low doses of edibles,to not get crazy high. I learned Sativa dominant strains fight depression and prevent me from being lazy on a couch or bed. Sativa makes me want to get off my ass and clean the whole house,and finally read some of those hundreds of books I have in my library collection. I will write a book on Cannabis someone. Give me the money for this knowledge and first hand self research…Black people have to get paid too.

        • ashes52

          Xanax doesn’t even come in .12 mg. The lowest you can get is .25 mg.

          • WZimmermann

            I know, you just break it with your teeth after breaking it in half. No worries friend.

        • Soon to be ex rbc client

          There is a big difference between a stoner lifestyle and using medical marijuana. Just because you use marijuana does not mean you are in someones basement playing video games wasting your life. Im glad you found happiness in sobriety. That means it was the right choice for you BUT, that does not mean that its for everyone. I spent my youth avoiding marijuana because I didnt want to make my mental heath worse. The irony is that Medical marijuana is saving my life… i would have killed myself… it was my last option before I was going to do that. Now I can sleep at night instead of the 4 hour max sleep I have been getting for the last 3 years. Why did I listen to the just say no group.. I might of had some quality of life.
          by the way I have done meditation, exercise, antidepressants of every variety, juicing, supplements, infrared saunas… counselling to the tune of thousands of dollars…. nothing worked better for me then freeking marijuana which I avoided for decades…I am sure the pharmaceutical companies will be digging up any negative press for marijuana because they will lose billions and billions of dollars when this goes mainstream…..

          • WZimmermann

            I’m so happy that you found a solution for yourself. Seriously. And I am learning from your words that sometimes Solutions don’t work the same for all people so I really appreciate your thoughts. Thank you.

          • WZimmermann

            Do you think there is a strain of marijuana that I could use that won’t make me feel stupid? Or leave me with two days of feeling stupid hangover? That’s what I don’t like about it for me, but if there was a strain that agreed with me I’d be happy to try it.

          • Nick Fleischhauer

            AC/DC. Extremely high CBD:THC ratio. Virtually no THC and tons of CBD.

          • Jack

            Yes, marijuana calms you down…it might spike the noise a bit…but in general….it does more good than not good..I see some people say smoking makes it worse…some say it makes life much more tolerable….i agree on the tolerable!

    • Robert Robinson

      ADD react the opposite way to some meds. I have that problem on occasion.

    • Tracy

      Back in the 70’s I never got paranoid from marijuana. On the contrary, I felt happy and creative. I quit because of the paranoia. I have recently been researching because I would like to feel the way I use to feel. I have read that pot that is high in THC causes the paranoia. Maybe try one that has less THC.

    • David W. Eastridge

      sounds like ou consumed a sativa strain,,,,which is a head high,,,, busy mind,,, try a couch lock indica,,, and just relax…..

  • WZimmermann

    I have to say that in no uncertain terms do I think smoking pot more than once every six weeks is a very bad idea. I smoked from age 18 to 27. It messed my life up pretty badly (not that it will yours) and I was very glad I quit when I did. At the time I had fallen in love with a very clean and very sober person. Love saved me. I wanted to be a better person so I quit pot and my life began to grow. We broke up after several months but I was determined to remain drug and alcohol free. I succeeded but it took years to get my footing. Still life became active and I took risks. I moved to different cities and began to get my focused sharp mind back in my mid 30’s but after nine years of smoking pot in my twenties it seemed like forever to get to the point where I realized how smart I was and how to use my intellect.

    I went on to move to California where I suffered a collapse into clinical depression after the death of my father, and the continued problems related to an alcoholic mother, morbidly selfish sisters and other mentally ill family members. Still I stayed the course, remained sober and never took antidepressants. Instead I practiced meditation, exercised and pursued my very ordinary life as a completely sober person. My humor, personality and intelligence slowly began to grow and expand every year into the gift of wisdom (to a greater or lesser degree). The depressions diminished over the years and I started to make long lasting friendships. Today at 60 years I look back at the nine years I spent on pot and the subsequent 35 years off pot. Nothing significant happened while I was smoking pot. Major opportunities came and went almost as if I ignored them. Off of pot I moved through life aware – nothing earth shattering – but I traveled and fought depression successfully. It resurfaces regularly. But I never gave up and I won over the depressions year after year. I always loved the way pot made me feel but at the cost of my educational years and all the opportunities that come only when you’re young. I blame myself more than the marijuana itself because I over-indulged became psychologically addicted. It became a low class boring habit.

    My saving grace was that I was smart. I saw my parents alcoholism consume them so when I hit 27 I threw out the drugs. I started taking Xanax, a benzodiazapine in 2009 when I was forced into a massive effort to reclaim my physical health. I went vegan and was juicing vegetables six times a day and taking coffee enemas twice a day to heal up to 18 health issues that cropped up over the years. I was 55 then. It worked and I got better but the stress of the diet, cleanses and the therapy pushed me into anxieties I never knew existed. So I started taking .12mg Xanax in ultra low dosages. It worked brilliantly and I never got addicted. I finished the therapy in 2011 and was fully well and ready to live the rest of my life in good health. It’s now 2016 and I am still in good health. But I’m getting bored with life. My friends are lovely but they’re older and are retired. I don’t have many younger friends and I stay alone a lot of the time anyway. I tried smoking weed a few times this year. It was wonderful. I loved the highs but there was that undeniable dark side. One nobody is talking about. I remembered it from my youth. And it was exactly the same. I just stopped caring about everything. And I got stupid, forgetful and anxious really fast when just weeks before I would never miss an appointment or be late for or miss a meeting I was suddenly rescheduling appointments, forgetting others and the big point I want to make here is I JUST DID NOT CARE.

    This is so far out of character for me that it’s considerably horrific to report to you here. I did not give a flying fuck about people, commitments or my schedule. It was like I had become a different person! INSTANTLY! I knew what was going on. Fortunately I caught on quickly to what was happening to me. So I stopped. Not that I had ever got started to any real degree but even a few puffs on a pipe with pot in it was enough to change me – I was not going to let pot take away my sixties. I was not going down that path. But I have to say marijuana feels so good, and makes me so happy while I’m high that I tend to get so lost in the pleasure of the drug that I would sell my mediocre but somewhat happy life for a life of highs that would make doves sing, but also lows that could bring me to my knees, destroy my dignity, public reputation and personal respect . To ruin my reputation as a highly responsive and responsible caring person would be a new low for me, but one I might be willing to do. It may not effect you in this way, but I suspect you see a bit of my experience in yours. ??? Finally even though I have smoked only four times this year I CRAVE marijuana. I LOVE IT and from this instant obsession I have learned that for me I’m in or I’m out. No two ways about it. For you it may be different and God bless, but I think for most people marijuana is a death sentence of sorts. Death to focused interest, real creativity, cognitive aliveness, critical thinking – and so on. Why would anybody take away everything they have worked for, for a simple high? I would. And that’s the clincher. I’m actually thinking about chucking it all and turning into a pot head again. After all these years. After all that work to beat depression and bodily illnesses. After I have written here I’m still thinking about it. And I know it’s hell. I know for me pot is just about the worst thing I could do to tear down all the years of work I’ve built all the work I’ve done to get better from depression. I know I’ll lose friends and yet I’m still thinking about it …after just four (4) highs. So before you think about starting whether it be fore the first time or after a long hiatus think about what you’re doing. Travel, people, food, conversations, books, music and all the joys of life without pot are still great. Pot is for me a losers excuse, a short cut to a fantasy world that replaces the real one where hugs, love and joy live. There is no reality for me in the use of pot. I think I just talked myself out of using it. Thanks guys.

    Considerations: Pot is not like psilocybin or ayahuasca. It is light years away from the enlightening positive effects of guided ceremonies where these drugs are used to accelerate consciousness. Marijuana is deadening, numbing and disorienting for me. It, in a word, makes me “stupid.”
    And that’s not where I want my future to go. And if you’re young and you still listen to adults with this level of experience there is nothing wrong with smoking pot once or twice a year. Getting a little drunk or exploring hallucinogens. But be careful. Your life exists outside these things. And they can be useful and/or fun. But in any kind of excess they become detrimental to your growth, intellect and to your future. Much love, Namaste’

    • Nate NaRLey

      thats allot of bullshit words .

      • WZimmermann

        Find, then don’t read them. Go read something that you connect with. Darn haters.

        • James Alexander

          Sounds like you’re beating yourself up over using cannabis perhaps primarily because of your past love influence. Most studies do show that cannabis is greater negative effects on youth than adults. Doing high math intoxicated on cannabis is unlikely successful for most, unless they’re already pre-trained and talented as sober mathematicians. Like anything in life, especially living in a relatively free and affluent society–it’s your choice and your life–and your responsibility to decide your life. Everything in moderation. If it works for you, it works. There is no cure all drug, person, therapy, or practice that will make your life perfect. Do you drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, take meds of any kind? These are all legal as is cannabis in my districts. Use it if you like it, but use it wisely, as you would use or do anything in your life. Perhaps make a list of things to do that day and the next two days, then ingest cannabis as you like. If you accomplish less of the list than you would sober, especially the most important things on the list, that could be informative, as it seems you’re concerned about your ability to perform well in life during and after use.

          Are you taking cannabis to procrastinate facing some challenge? Maybe write a list of why you desire using it. If using it accomplishes those desires with little or no negative effects, then the pros outweigh the cons.

          Consider famous geniuses who used (not abused) cannabis: https://herb.co/marijuana/news/famous-geniuses-cannabis. If you plan on using heavily, it could be a handicap, but no one can say until you’ve tried. Everyone has their own path. Choose yours.

    • Kathy

      Geez did you really think we wanted to read your life story?

      • Tracy

        If you won’t want to read it then don’t. Your comment is just you being a jerk.

    • Carmen

      WZimmermann your words greatly resonate with my personal experience, and I thank you immensely for sharing them. Apparently it’s a shared experience by some people who use it and it’s good to know I’m not alone. Needless to say, reading your experience has been extremely helpful. The experience I had was very similar to yours. I stopped smoking many years ago, and I basically stopped for similar reasons. So here I am again, “jonesing” “craving” that divine high. Seeking to de-stress and feel better by disconnecting … not having a care in the world (which is an illusion/delusion) or meeting life’s daily responsibilities. I’m currently experiencing a deep bout of depression and wanting to self medicate instead of taking the prescribed Zoloft. I went as far as to get a medical mj card this time because if I start smoking again I already know that I’m not going to want to stop and I will “need” to have access to it. I have always felt that it has a strong psychological/mental/emotional pull on me that stems from simply smoking and getting high in the past. Knowing what I know and experiencing what I experience, I find myself finding reasons to justify smoking again. I too LOVE IT, but my truth is that I have no control and end up abusing it. As a consequence it has terrible, detrimental, adverse effects on my well-being, mental health, health and overall life. It ends up making me feel a million times worse than I was feeling.

      • WZimmermann

        What a wonderful note. I tried it and I quit right away because I felt disgusting. I have a whole ounce of it that somebody gave me. I can’t even stand the idea of getting high it or on other strains. In fact the only drug I would consider would be psilocybin but that’s illegal in California. I think what you want is consciousness expansion. Try Transcendental Meditation and add to it the Wim Hof breathing technique. I think you’ll get quite high on both of those. Marijuana just makes me stupid. I think it’s kind of a dumbing-down drug. One reason they approved it in California and Colorado perhaps? I wanted to also mention creativity. Marijuana creativity is generally false creativity. For me I would get up the next day and read notes and ideas I had while I was high the night before and they would be absurd. It’s not to say that you can’t do interesting things while you are high on marijuana but there is biological pay back the next day and frankly I felt like dirt for 3 or 4 days afterwards. Why not go to the public swimming pool or the gym. I can’t imagine dragging my 61 year old body through a night of alcohol or marijuana because of the after effects or hangover. I try to respect my body because it truly is my best friend period when I meditate on that I often think about the reality of that thought. I hope you do well with whatever your decision is but in my experience drugs for depression and self-medicating aren’t a great idea. That said micro doses of Xanax and Valium have worked very well for me that would be one sixteenth of a milligram Xanax and 2.5 mg Valium when it gets too real. Other than that I don’t take any medications today for depression. Best of luck

    • Lynn Huma

      Thanks for sharing, very illuminating. I have been battling cyclothymia for 7 years now plus dealing with my son’s autism diagnosis, I had to become a stay-at-home mum……there are no words to describe my exact feeling. Lynn

    • Tracy

      From what I gathered from all of this, you are happy when high and miserable and depressed when not. Part of your misery is you beat yourself up about getting high. Try to accept it, and make friends that will accept you if you decide to get high. You say you will lose your friends if you smoke pot. If so, they aren’t friends so you aren’t losing “friends”.

  • Out of everything I have tried that is a prescribed pharmaceutical, the only thing that makes me not want to kill myself but doesn’t leave me numb is cannabis. It’s taken me a long time to be okay with this because of the negative stigma on pot smokers.

    • Heinrich D. Bag

      I’m glad you found something that helps. I was on the pharmaceutical merry-go-round for far too long. I was completely numb. I called the medication “psychic Novocaine”. I was a zombie but if I stopped taking it the depression was crippling. I too have found help as you have and the stigma was also with me. It helps without numbing the part of me that is “ME” and without the many crappy side effects of prescription antidepressants. I have been down the dark road as well and I sincerely hope you are doing well and continue to get better. That is the other part I like. The antidepressant effect last far longer than the immediate “buzz”. Days and weeks longer. You may also take a look at what research they have been doing with psilocybin. They were saying that a single dose can have good effects for over a year. They have also been doing work with ketamine that looks promising. Peace. HDB

      • Elizabeth

        What type of strain did you use? I am looking for some for my dad who has treatment resistant depression.

        • Heinrich D. Bag

          Hey Elizabeth. If you were asking me it was Buckeye Purple. I also have the associated high anxiety with my depression and therefore insomnia etc. I found it pretty sedating, by that I mean I gathered my drinks (non-alcoholic) and food within arms-reach before taking it. For me it was not something to take and then go to work or drive or anything really for a few hours but the effects on my depression/anxiety were dramatic and lasted long after the “buzz” wore off. I usually take it a few hours before bed time. I sincerely hope your Dad gets the help he needs from something. Also they just approved esketamine for depression. It is a nasal spray and has to be administered in a clinic, you can’t take it home, and it is so new the insurance companies haven’t figured out the billing and such but from my research it works well and more importantly it works quickly. I know too well the old line “It may take 6 to 8 weeks to feel an effect”. What they don’t say is that the crappy side effects appear far more quickly, speaking of SSRI, NDRI, SNRI meds. Esketamine may be worth a look. Be well. HDB

    • Erik

      Yeah, I totally understand what you mean; I was on 12+ medications, including Risperdal, Zyprexa, Geodon, Effexor, for ~25 years and I Finally got to move somewhere that has medical bud. All I can say is that I want my “lost time” back 😎

      • kathleen aispuro

        I feel the same way about all the years I was in a fog. That is my reason for wanting to try this out. I am an oldie and friends say they worry about side effects. Since when do the drugs I normally take not have side effects? I want to live the rest of my life doing things besides crawling into bed.

    • WZimmermann

      I do the Wim Hof breathing method. And boy what a difference it makes! For depression it one of the best discoveries I’ve made. Good luck.

      • Eric LaVoie

        What strain of bud are you using for your depression? It looks like your post was a few months ago. Is weed still working for you?

    • Jairo

      Is there a clinic that offers this type of treatment?

    • Derek T Boyd

      Which strains do you use?

  • Dan the Man

    Strawberry Cough is awesome too……..I finished a song I been working on for two months in a weekend.

  • carolina Abah

    get some strains to cure depression from http://www.marijuanahouse.us/product-category/cannabis-oil/

  • Nordic guy

    Big Bang Auto is good strain?

  • Rachael

    what about the sativa , White Nightmare” where does this strain fit in?

  • RAS LOVE

    Marijuana is medicine it has indications for use risk and benefits. This risk and benefits are different for each and every individual. To completely say its not beneficial would be in accurate. There many different uses for the plant that can be beneficial if used in the correct way, and not abused.

    • WZimmermann

      I completely agree. And thank you for the respectful cocomment. You are absolutely right.

    • James Alexander

      Yeah, like as an aphrodisiac.

  • Marie Love

    This is the best website by far I have seen to help you understand what works best for you and what you need. Thank you so much, a life changer for sure. I have Fibro, RA and Raynaud’s syndrom, so pain is a part of my every day. I don’t believe in medding(if that is even a word,lol) myself up due to the nasty side effects and most of the meds the prescribe do way more harm than good. Cannabis is by far the best treatment, and what is even more awesome is that you don’t have to smoke it. there are so many forms now from oils to editables to aromatics. Again thank you so much.

  • What’s the date of this article? Apparently it’s from 2016 based on comments, but not having dates on articles is not good journalism. I’d like to reference this, but not knowing how old the article is leaves me not wanting to use it. Thanks. (But I like it better than any High Times articles I’ve found on motivation!)

    • LuxoCamper

      On my screen, it says March 24, 2015. Good Journalism.

      • Well, what d’ya know. Someone changed the template. Good on them. Thanks for your reply! Now I’ll use it.

      • Nice to know someone replaced the date on the template. Thanks!

  • Amanda Page

    How to sensibly buy LEGAL cbd oil online? Because I got a letter saying customs has confiscated my package two times already and I’m pissed.

  • Jairo

    Can someone tell me if there is a clinic that offers marihuana as a treatment for depression ? I’m concern about the drug test for work and to keep my treatment with vyvanse

  • Jack

    So whats better to use..just Indica….Hybrid with Indica dominant? or?

  • Johnson
  • Klonoa Namco

    You want to feel legit happy where you can’t wipe the smile off your face and curve pain like no other try alien dutchess and Chemdawg 91.

  • Eric2h4l

    GDP for me i haven’t needed prozac almost 4yrs