Effectiveness of Medical Cannabis for Anxiety and Depression

May 3, 2022by Phenix Health

Medical Cannabis for Anxiety and Depression: Anxiety and depressive disorders are popular mental health issues and the World Health Organization estimated that over 264 million people were reported to suffer from clinical depression.

Moreover, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that about thirty-one percent of U.S adults pass through anxiety disorders in their lives (https://psychcentral.com/depression/medical-marijuana-for-anxiety-and-depression ).

Therefore, these mental health conditions are one of the most debilitating health conditions around the globe. In addition, the conditions are highly prevalent.

Medical Cannabis for Anxiety and Depression

Traditionally, antidepressants have been used over the years and they may be effective, but may not work for everyone and may lead to various side effects. Hence, many patients opt for medicinal cannabis as an alternative.

However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence of the cannabis products’ efficacy in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

In the recent past, medical cannabis has been a substance of interest, especially for the management of anxiety and depression. Besides, many people still try to understand how effective is medical cannabis for anxiety and depression.

It is less stigmatized and widely available thus making it easier to be used in the management of various health conditions. Recent studies have shown that clinical depression patients found that those who utilized medical cannabis had a lower depression score compared to those who did not use it.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that the patients who used the medicinal cannabis during the follow-up period proved to have reduced symptoms of anxiety as well as depression.

Cannabis contains two main components; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) where the former is responsible for us feeling high, while the latter leads to a relaxing effect.

Moreover, medical cannabis is supported to be a potential treatment in the management of anxiety and depression by the fact that it is less likely to lead to withdrawal effects as seen in anti-depressant drugs.

To determine how effective medical marijuana is in the treatment of anxiety and depression, the researchers would take a team of anxiety and depression patients who were under the medicinal marijuana treatment.

The results indicated that the participants who were under the treatment had lower depression symptoms compared to those who did not use cannabis. In addition, the former also reported having better sleep, a better quality of life, and less pain.

Medical cannabis has proved to minimize self-reported anxiety and depression levels though the case is different in terms of its long-term effects. Various studies show that the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of anxiety and depression may exacerbate depression as time goes by (Stith et al, 2018).

Besides, some studies show that CBD may help in anxiety treatment, especially in post-traumatic stress and social anxiety disorders. In addition, low doses of THC may help in relieving anxiety.

However, cannabis may sometimes lead to anxiety where high levels of THC are linked to increased symptoms of anxiety such as racing thoughts and increased heart rate.

One of the major risks of using medicinal marijuana regularly is that one can become dependent on the drug. Besides, cannabis is addictive, contrary to the beliefs of many people, and may lead to cannabis use disorder.

A research review showed that patients with clinical depression and those with bipolar disorder are likely to acquire cannabis use disorder (Sarver et al, 2018).

Moreover, there is a strong relationship between patients with major depression and cannabis use disorders. Another risk associated with the use of cannabis is mood disorders.

Furthermore, various antianxiety and antidepressants may not smoothly interact with medical cannabis thus leading to uncomfortable side effects.

It is therefore worth noting the importance of consulting a cannabis-friendly practitioner before going ahead and self-medicating with medicinal cannabis. Besides, it is essential to let your primary healthcare giver or psychiatrist know that you are under medicinal cannabis treatment.

Phenix Health



Sarver, A. L., Wall, M. M., Keyes, K. M., Olfson, M., Cerdá, M., & Hasin, D. S. (2018).

Self-medication of mood and anxiety disorders with marijuana: higher in states with medical marijuana laws. Drug and alcohol dependence, 186, 10-15.

Stith, S. S., Vigil, J. M., Brockelman, F., Keeling, K., & Hall, B. (2018). Patient-reported symptom relief following medical cannabis consumption. Frontiers in pharmacy

Mood and anxiety https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31577377/

Cannabis viewed as natural alternative https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31577377/