Research Finds There’s Not Much Evidence Cannabinoids Can Effectively Treat Mental Disorders


Can cannabinoids help improve your mental health? Some studies suggest that they can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and the like. However, a new research which has analyzed 83 studies says that evidence is limited.

The Lancet Psychiatry has published this report which says the effectiveness of cannabinoids doesn’t have much backing.

What Did Researchers Conclude?

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 83 studies carried out between the years 1980 to 2018. These studies together covered about 3000 people. Of all the studies, 40 were RCTs.

looked at the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating six mental health conditions in adults – depression, anxiety, psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The researchers said, “There is scarce evidence to suggest, that cannabinoids improve depressive disorders and symptoms, anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, or psychosis.”

The little favorable evidence that researchers did find was of low quality. Moreover, scientists also added that cannabinoids come with risks that we know of. Keeping those and the little evidence of their effectiveness in view, it is not logical to recommend their use for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms.

This research work is of particular importance for those countries and states where cannabinoids are legal and encouraged. With easy and permitted availability, people are likely to resort to the use of cannabinoids for treating their mental health concerns.

The team found some low-quality evidence that THC could improve symptoms of anxiety in those who had multiple sclerosis or chronic pain. Researchers also found that THC only worsened psychosis whereas it didn’t have much of an impact on the rest of the three mental conditions.

Interestingly, scientists found that a lot of the people experienced negative side effects by using THC. Several of them also withdrew from using it due to these.

Limitations Of This Study

The meta-analysis of the studies did have some limitations. The studies involved were small, and the data pool was not wide. Furthermore, these studies gave different findings and they looked at pharmaceutical cannabinnoids while in the United States, plant cannabinoids are in use.

Regarding using cannabinoids, lead author of the study Louisa Degenhardt said, “Those who decide to proceed, should be carefully monitored for positive and negative mental health effects of using medicinal cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids For Mental Health Disorders

Though THC’s role is often considered negative, CBD has been praised for being effective. With this research work being published, it is best to proceed with caution regardless of which cannabinoid you go for.

Talking particularly about anxiety and depression, cannabis works for some, but not for others. For some, it works to reduce anxiety and in other cases, it increases panic.

Sum Up

A new research work looked at past studies regarding the effectiveness of cannabinoids in treating mental health disorders. Researchers didn’t find substantial evidence to prove that cannabinoids are effective in this regard. Therefore, if you do decide to use cannabinoids, do so with caution.


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