We’ve all heard that cannabis can be good for treating anxiety and depression – ample anecdotal evidence exists supporting this conclusion, but thanks to strict laws, research had been blocked for decades. Luckily, Canada is taking charge and making awesome strides in research, which we’ll dive into here.
Cannabis use decreased depression and anxiety in individuals diagnosed with the mental illnesses long-term, according to a recent study of 7,362 adults conducted by Canadian researchers.
The findings will be published in the July edition of Psychiatry Research in a study detailing the effects of consistent cannabis usage on depressed and anxious individuals. Over 7,000 adults were studied, and researchers found that with 12-18 months of consistent usage, depression and anxiety improved.
43.9 percent of patients (46.9 percent men and 53.1 percent women) cited anxiety as their primary reason for taking cannabis, while depression was cited by 25.9 percent. Patients with anxiety saw their scores drop over time, with the biggest drops occurring between 1 and 3 months following treatment, and again 2 years later. The greatest decline in depressed patients occurred within the first three months of treatment. “This study provides some evidence to support the effectiveness of medical cannabis as a treatment for anxiety and depression,” concluded the researchers.
Because there is a lack of credible evidence to support the use of cannabis to treat anxiety, the researchers undertook a retrospective database study of Canadian medical marijuana users who acquired their cannabis from Harvest Medicine, a nationwide network of clinics. Regardless, the study came to some impressive conclusions.
The Future Of Cannabis Research In Canada
As the second country to federally legalize non-medical cannabis use, Canadian researchers have been granted exciting new study opportunities. In the 2018 federal budget, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) was given $10 million over five years to examine the dangers and benefits of cannabis, as well as the unique requirements of various subpopulations of Canadians.
In 2019, a research team from the University of Calgary completed an MHCC-commissioned environmental scan and scoping assessment, which integrated existing data on the complicated interaction between cannabis and mental health and evaluated gaps and potential for future research. The MHCC is financing 40 research projects that look into the link between cannabis and mental health.
In February 2020, the MHCC issued a request for community-based research proposals on cannabis and mental health.
They’re currently responding by supporting 14 two-year initiatives that will be community-led, culturally safe, equity-focused, and centred on life and living experience. For key populations, these cutting-edge projects from throughout the country will fill knowledge gaps in the relationship between cannabis and mental health. These include people who have used cannabis in the past and/or have mental health issues or disorders. Also included are immigrant, refugee, ethnocultural, and racialized groups in First Nations and Métis communities,
individuals who identify as two spirits, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, and queer people.
We at Beard Bros are incredibly excited to see future cannabis research develop. Canada seems to be on top of the research, and their proposed studies are certainly promising! Just the introduction of peer-reviewed research into the subject of cannabis and mental health is an amazing improvement, and we hope to see the United States catch up soon. The NCIH has committed to some research, but not nearly enough. Hopefully, as federal legalization becomes more popular, more research will be released.
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