Depression is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities. Recently, research has suggested that depression may also drive cannabis use among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, which was conducted by researchers based in Ontario, Canada, investigated cannabis use among PTSD patients during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The study surveyed 462 individuals with self-reported PTSD between April 3 and June 24 of 2020, assessing their mental health symptoms and cannabis intake both before the pandemic and in the seven days prior to filling out the survey.
The results of the study showed that worsening depression during the pandemic led to greater cannabis use. Stress, anxiety, and depression increased across the board, but the researchers found that PTSD sufferers who increased their cannabis use during the pandemic were more likely to also experience “meaningful perceived worsening of depression symptoms.”
This suggests that worsening depression may have led to greater cannabis use, as individuals may have been using cannabis to make themselves feel better. However, it is important to note that the study does not address causality and more research is needed to determine the relationship between depression and cannabis use.
Another study, conducted in the UK and published in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, found that cannabis use may improve the quality of life in PTSD patients. The study observed 144 PTSD patients at baseline and one, three, and six months after initiating medical cannabis use, and found significant improvements in sleep quality, anxiety, and PTSD-specific symptoms.
While these studies suggest that cannabis may be helpful for individuals with PTSD and depression, it is important to note that they have limitations and more research is needed to confirm the effects of cannabis on PTSD and to determine optimal dosages.
It is also important to note that cannabis use may lead to negative side effects such as addiction and cognitive impairment, especially among individuals who use it excessively or at a young age. Therefore, it is crucial that individuals seeking to use cannabis for medicinal purposes do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
In conclusion, depression may drive cannabis use among individuals with PTSD. Studies suggest that cannabis may be helpful for individuals with PTSD and depression, but more research is needed to confirm the effects and determine optimal dosages. It’s important to use cannabis under the guidance of a healthcare professional, and be aware of the potential negative side effects of cannabis.