Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Understanding Cannabis Use and Perceptions in Patients with Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Das, A., Hendershot, C., Husin, I., Knyahnytska, Y., Le Foll, B., Wang, W., Elsaid, S., & Kloiber, S..

This study aimed to identify patterns, knowledge, motivations, and perceptions of cannabis use (CU) among people with mood and anxiety disorders. The researchers conducted anonymous surveys (n=209), in-depth qualitative interviews (n=36), and a systematic review of the current literature on CU in individuals with mood and anxiety disorders.

Preliminary results indicate 62% of participants completing the survey identified as current cannabis users (CCU), 20% as past cannabis users (PCU), and 18% as non-cannabis users (NCU). CCU were more likely to be in the younger age groups. No group differences were observed in terms of mental health or other sociodemographic variables, except for bipolar disorder being more prevalent in the CU groups. “Lower productivity” was one of the main problems associated with CU reported by CCU and PCU. Other problems reported by both groups included “lower energy level”, “feeling bad about use”, and “procrastination”. In terms of motives for CU, CCU reported having pleasant feelings and feeling less depressed and nervous.

Preliminary results from the qualitative interviews were generally in line with survey results, showing mixed results regarding potential beneficial or detrimental effects of CU in individuals with anxiety or mood disorders. Among the most frequently reported reasons for CU by focus group participants were to help with falling asleep or recreational use in social situations.

The researchers recommend future research to better understand the risks and benefits of cannabis use among individuals with anxiety and mood disorders.

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