MAR 22, 2022 7:45 AM PDT

Medical Marijuana May Be Overhyped for Pain, Anxiety, Depression

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Claims about medical marijuana treating multiple mental health and neurological disorders may be overhyped, according to a new study investigating the effect of medical marijuana card ownership. The study was published in Psychiatry

Medical cannabis has surged in popularity in recent years despite inconclusive evidence on its efficacy and little information on its risk. While cannabis has been reported to improve pain, sleep, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, research also shows that 30.6% of US adults who use cannabis develop cannabis use disorder (CUD). 

In the present study, researchers recruited 186 patients aged between 18 and 65 reporting pain, insomnia, anxiety, or depressive symptoms. They were randomized on a ratio of 2:1 to either receive a medical marijuana card immediately or after 12 weeks. 

Upon receiving a medical marijuana card, participants could choose which cannabis products to use from a dispensary alongside the dose and frequency of use. They could also continue to engage in their usual medical and psychiatric care strategies. 

In the end, the researchers found that those who received a medical marijuana card immediately experienced significantly more CUD symptoms than those who received the card later on. 

They also found that while those who received medical marijuana cards immediately experienced lower levels of insomnia than the other group, marijuana usage had no significant effect on pain, anxiety, or depressive symptoms across all participants. 

"Our study underscores the need for better decision-making about whether to begin to use cannabis for specific medical complaints, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, which are associated with an increased risk of cannabis use disorder," said lead author Jodi Gilman, PhD, with the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

“There needs to be better guidance to patients around a system that currently allows them to choose their own products, decide their own dosing, and often receive no professional follow-up care,” she added. 

The researchers noted limitations to their findings. They did not measure the pharmacological effects of cannabis use during the study, and while they tracked the frequency of use, they were unable to track quantity or potency. They also noted that they did not have a placebo arm in their study, and as all participants sought cannabis as a potential treatment, they say that their results may suffer from a ‘treatment effect’. 

 

Sources: PsychiatryScience Daily

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
AUG 01, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
New drug could help repair nervous system damage caused by strokes
AUG 01, 2022
New drug could help repair nervous system damage caused by strokes
A recent study published in Cell Reports highlights a new drug that could help to repair nervous system damage caused by ...
AUG 18, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Metered-Dose Inhalers Offer Effective Dosing for Medical Cannabis Patients
AUG 18, 2022
Metered-Dose Inhalers Offer Effective Dosing for Medical Cannabis Patients
A recent study published in Canadian Journal of Health Technologies examined the effectiveness of using metered-dose inh ...
AUG 19, 2022
Neuroscience
Anterior Cingulate Cortex Plays a Key Role in Managing Additional Learning Tasks
AUG 19, 2022
Anterior Cingulate Cortex Plays a Key Role in Managing Additional Learning Tasks
A study published in Nature Communications reports that a key function of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is to help ...
SEP 23, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Legalization's Impact on Pharmaceutical Stock Market Values
SEP 23, 2022
Cannabis Legalization's Impact on Pharmaceutical Stock Market Values
In states with legal medical cannabis, people are curious about using cannabinoid treatment as an alternative to pharmac ...
SEP 15, 2022
Neuroscience
Food Insecurity Affects Brain Development
SEP 15, 2022
Food Insecurity Affects Brain Development
A recent study found that food insecurity affects brain development in mice. University of California Berkeley researche ...
SEP 21, 2022
Health & Medicine
Combined Birth Control Pill Has Serious Health Risk in Obese Women
SEP 21, 2022
Combined Birth Control Pill Has Serious Health Risk in Obese Women
Birth control pills are the leading method of birth control in the United States. Birth control pills increase the chanc ...
Loading Comments...