Journal Club: Can medical cannabis help anxiety and depression?

Journal Club: Can medical cannabis help anxiety and depression?
Cannabis Health News

The latest issue of the Journal Club explores new research around cannabis medicines in the management of anxiety and depression. To sign up to the Journal Club mailing list, click here For this edition of the Journal Club the focus is on anxiety and depression.  Anxiety and depression are some of the most commonly cited reasons for patients taking cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs). Research has shown that THC can exert anxiolytic effects at low doses, but potentially anxiogenic effects at higher doses [1]. Therefore, optimising the THC dose and counteracting its potential negative effects with CBD is likely important. CBD itself is also known to interact with serotonin receptors that are implicated in modulating anxiety and mood [2]. To date, most of the evidence has been gathered from CBMP studies focusing on chronic pain that include anxiety and depression as secondary end-points. In this issue of the Journal Club, two recent observational clinical trials are highlighted that specifically investigate the effect of CBMPs in patients with anxiety and/or depression. The first study is an observational trial featuring 538 patients with self-reported anxiety and/or depression, of which 368 were current cannabis users and 170 were interested in trying but had not yet started (“controls”). Among existing cannabis users, 82 per cent reported use of CBD-dominant products, 23 per cent THC-dominant, and seven per cent balanced THC:CBD combinations. Follow-up was offered to patients every three months. During the study period, some of the patients in the control group began taking cannabis, so comparisons could be made between those who had started cannabis and those who had not. At baseline, cannabis users reported lower depression, better past-month sleep quality, higher quality-of-life, and lower past-month average pain than controls. There was no difference in anxiety. Participants that either initiated medical cannabis use during the…

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