Press Release

Can Cannabis Help Your Mental Health? What We Know (CBD Gummies, CBD Oil)

In the last few years, there has been a sharp increase in consumer interest in cannabis, especially CBD, to treat anxiety and depression.

Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Kristen Bell are driving this trend. They have embraced CBD to help with their anxiety and depression.

But the buzz around the mental health benefits of cannabinoids — which includes cannabis and compounds like CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — has far outpaced the science, suggests a major new study.

 

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Researchers discovered that there is “insufficient evidence” to support the claim that cannabinoids may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“Based on the evidence, doctors should refrain from prescribing cannabinoids for treatment of mental disorders to their patients,” stated Dr. Elina Drits (associate chair of psychiatry, Staten Island University Hospital), Staten Island, New York.

 

There is little evidence of THC or CBD in relation to mental illness

Researchers analyzed 83 studies that examined the effects of cannabis on mental health. They included studies dating back to 1980 and 2018.

These included studies on the treatment of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, psychosis and Tourette syndrome.

Only 40 studies were randomized controlled, which is the gold standard in medical evidence. These studies were usually small, with less than 40 participants each, and lasted only 4 to 5 week.

The researchers found that people with anxiety disorders such as CBD and THC had less anxiety when they took CBD or THC with them than those who were given a placebo.

However, Dr. Roopali Paraikh, MD, a psychiatrist who specializes in substance abuse disorder at Northwell Health Physician Partners’ Behavioral Health Group Practice in Manhasset (New York), pointed out that the evidence was “low quality” because it was based only on seven studies and 252 patients.

The effects of CBD or pharmaceutical THC on depression symptoms were not significant.

The majority of studies on anxiety and depression focused on conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic, noncancer pain.

THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that produces the “high”, is CBD. CBD is non-intoxicating. Both THC and CBD are found in cannabis, but they can be found in different amounts in various products. You can also find CBD oil with very little or no THC.

According to the paper’s authors, the THC medication may have caused anxiety symptoms to decrease in certain studies.

The researchers did not find any evidence that cannabinoids could improve symptoms such as PTSD, ADHD and psychosis.

One study actually suggests that psychosis symptoms were made worse by THC.

Parikh, who was not involved in the study, stated that pharmaceutical THC (with CBD or without) was also linked to an almost threefold increase in adverse events. She also said that there was almost a threefold increase in the number of people who dropped out of the study due to side effects.

Research has also shown that cannabinoid abuse is associated with a high risk of side effects. This includes addiction as well as depression, anxiety, and psychosis.

 

Psychiatrists advise caution when using CBD or THC

People suffering from chronic pain often turn to cannabinoids for relief. They also avoid the severe side effects of long-term opioid use.

However, research has shown that cannabinoids are used to treat mental disorders. People with depression or anxiety can self-medicate using marijuana.

This new study shows that there is not enough evidence to support cannabinoids’ use for mental health conditions. However, this doesn’t mean that these findings won’t change in the future as more studies are done.

Drits, who was not involved in the study, stated that “Cannabinoids might have some beneficial potential to treatment and should therefore be studied.”

Parikh agreed that there is more data needed, especially from high-quality studies like randomized controlled trials.

The new paper’s authors point out that there are several studies underway to examine the benefits of CBD pharmaceuticals for certain conditions, such as psychosis.

People should not use cannabinoids for mental health conditions. Untreated or poorly treated mental illnesses could get worse.

 

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Cannabinoids can cause unwanted side effects in some cases.

Parikh stated, “What we see is that cannabinoids can worsen psychiatric symptoms — certain the incidence of psychosis.”

Additionally, cannabinoids are often studied using pharmaceutical-grade products that have a known dosage and are free from harmful contaminants.

You may not get the same high-quality THC or CBD oils at a dispensary, especially at a gas station.

Drits stated that “Many people use cannabinoids outside of study settings” and “many are using oils or plants that are not regulated.”

Plant cannabis may not contain the amount of CBD or THC required to produce the same effects seen in research.

These products can be used to improve mental health. However, self-medicating can have serious consequences.

Drits stated, “I recommend that people work with a mental healthcare provider they feel comfortable with.” “To monitor them for improvements in their symptoms and any potential adverse effects.”

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