A paper published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in April 2019 indicated medicinal cannabis is having a positive impact on Canadian patients suffering from anxiety, while reducing reliance on other prescribed medications.
The paper, titled ‘Cannabis use behaviors and prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in a cohort of Canadian medicinal cannabis users’ surveyed 888 registered Tilray medicinal cannabis users.
Patients met screening criteria from a number of disorders, including generalised anxiety (45.6%), social anxiety (42.4%), major depressive disorder (25.7%) and panic disorder/agoraphobia (25.7%), 63.4% suffering from more than one.
Of these, a whopping 92% reported that cannabis improved their symptoms, although they continued to show moderate-level severity. This suggests that while medicinal cannabis may be had positive impacts on the patients, it may not be decreasing symptoms to a clinically significant level.
Further, nearly half stopped taking prescribe non-psychiatric or psychiatric medication prescribed to them by their physician, with the majority being antidepressants (23.8%), opioids (19.2%) and benzodiazepines (15.8%).
It must be noted this study was not a double blind, placebo controlled trial, and the symptoms were self-reported, but as stated in the paper, “these results highlight the need to systematically evaluate [medicinal cannabis] use for mental illness.”