Marijuana and mental health: It’s not ‘strictly helpful or harmful’

1-21-2019 t z lynxnpec k colorado marijuana
Image credit: Reuters

The exciting news about the complexity of cannabis is that it holds much promise as a potential medicine for many ailments. The worrisome news is that there is a gap between the hype and the evidence-based research.

The reality is that cannabis cannot be pigeonholed as strictly helpful or harmful. Instead, meaningful discussion about its potential benefits and harms requires careful and nuanced consideration of the scientific literature, coupled with a humble attitude. As delineated in a recent and thorough review paper in the International Review of Psychiatry, the relationship between cannabis and mental health is especially complicated.


For example, two of the best-known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinold (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In general, THC has been shown to produce anxiety and psychotic features, especially at higher doses, whereas CBD has been shown to produce anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects.

Related article:  Brains of fetuses could suffer from exposure to marijuana

However, many other variables affect whether a person will experience increased or decreased anxiety or psychotic symptoms when ingesting cannabis, including: potency levels; the presence of other cannabis-related chemicals; the amounts used; and the person’s frequency of use, prior experience with the substance and ability to titrate the dose, and their likelihood to experience psychiatric symptoms.

Mixed messages about cannabis have become more common over time. This is not surprising given the complexity of the cannabis plant and the complexity of conducting cannabis-related research.

Read full, original post: Is Cannabis Good or Bad for Mental Health?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

More than 2.8 million people have lost their lives due to the pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis ...

Gilles-Éric Séralini: Activist professor and face of anti-GMO industry

The French biologist and his research team--funded by the Rodale ...
vandana shiva

Vandana Shiva: ‘Rock Star’ of GMO protest movement has anti-science history

In a 2012 interview, Bill Moyers referred to Vandana Shiva as ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend