A group of researchers from various institutions in the United States discovered evidence that medicinal cannabis products relieve depression and improve quality of life. The group describes their study involving online surveys about the benefits of cannabis products in their paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Previous research findings on the use of cannabis-based products to treat depression and anxiety were conflicting. Some patients have made progress, while others have not. Prior research has also discovered that other drugs developed to treat depression and anxiety have mixed resultsâ€”some patients have seen improvements while others have not, and some patients have discovered that they are unable to tolerate the side effects of the drugs. Furthermore, regardless of the research track record, some people have begun using medicinally approved cannabis products to help with their depression, anxiety, chronic pain, or sleep disorderâ€”either independently or with the assistance of a doctor. Rather than focusing on reports from the medical community about how well these products worked, the researchers conducted a study to gauge the opinions of people who use them.
The research was conducted over a four-year period. At the start, the researchers received responses from 368 people who said they used cannabis products to relieve depression and/or anxiety or to sleep better. As a control group, they also received responses from 170 people who did not use cannabis products but were considering doing so due to depression or anxiety issues.
The researchers discovered that people who used cannabis products (mostly those containing CBD rather than THC) had lower levels of depression than the control group, but no difference in anxiety. They also discovered that those who used cannabis products had a higher quality of life and slept better than the control group. The researchers also discovered lower levels of depression in those who continued to use cannabis products as well as those who started using them during the study. Intriguingly, they discovered that those who started using the products during the study reported improvements in anxiety and quality of life.
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