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How Does Cannabis Affect Mental Health?


Andy Lee, an activist and Canada-based photographer going through depression, included Cannabis in his diet while taking talk therapy. He took this decision after witnessing the ineffectiveness of antidepressants on his condition.

However, his doctor was against the use of medical Cannabis for mental illness. So, he came to another practitioner who was open to the idea of Cannabis. Lee, who is now a part of Cannabis and mental health advocacy, says, "I know this is a touchy subject and taboo but this worked,"

Despite having a positive interaction with Cannabis, Lee does not deny the risks of overuse. He says, "It's a healing plant but it shouldn't be abused and taken for granted. It's like antibiotics, the positive effects diminish the more your body gets used to it."

Like Lee, many people came up with the positive effects of Cannabis on mental health. Through this article, you will know about some other impacts of Cannabis on your mind, along with available anecdotal and scientific evidence.


Benefits of Cannabis on Mental Health

In recent years, consumers' interest in understanding the benefits of this magical plant has been increasing. The love shown by celebrities, such as Kristen Bell and Jennifer Aniston, is further driving this trend. 

While we are aware of the effects of Cannabis on physical health, less is known about its impact on mental health. So, here are some ways Cannabis affects mental health.

  • It Might Treat Depression and Anxiety

Workload, relationship issues, and pack schedules have pushed many people into anxiety and depression in the past decade. Cannabis might help with it. It boosts the release of endorphins, a compound known to give the feeling of happiness.

  • Cannabis Might Prevent Seizures

Cannabis improves mental health by regulating its electrical activities. Its anti-seizure effects might contribute to reducing epilepsy among patients. There are also possibilities that people going through Dravet Syndrome benefits from Cannabis.

Besides these two key benefits, Sunday Scaries CBD might also treat Schizophrenia, improve cognitive abilities, cure PTSD, manage stress, and improve sleep. Also, these things positively affect mental health. 

But does it only have positive effects? Well, as Lee said, it might have a negative effect if there is overconsumption. Let us understand it through some research. 

The Lev-Ran Research

Shauli Lev-Ran, a Tel Aviv-based addiction psychiatrist, has organized several studies and examined Cannabis's role in mental health. Here are some of them. 

  • He organized a study in 2013. The study through the Centre for Mental Health and Addictions in Toronto aims at understanding substance use abuse and psychiatric disorders among 43,000 people. It was a cross-sectional, most extensive epidemiological study.

Through this study, Lev-Ran observed that people going through a medical illness are seven times more likely to consume Cannabis than people without it. The study specifically analyzed the difference in Cannabis use among people without psychiatric disorders and people with it. The research included the name of the subject, types of psychiatric disorder they are going through ( if any), and the intensity of their consumption. 

According to Lev-Ran, understanding intensity is challenging as there is no standard dose of Cannabis, unlike alcohol. He says, "We can talk about frequency and we can talk about dose, but they're not standardized. If I smoke two joints a day that are low in THC, it's one thing, but if I smoke skunk or high potency and I smoke a large joint without tobacco as a filler, in both cases the dose seems like the same but they're very different."

  • In his clinical practice, Lev-Ran regularly treats patients with Cannabis-use disorders and psychiatric disorders. After certain relaxation around the regulations and legislation of Cannabis in the US, Lev-Ran began a deep analysis of the relationship between Cannabis and mental health.

He admits that despite all this research and analysis, he hasn't come to a definitive answer on the chicken-egg theory of who came first, dependency on Cannabis or mental illness. He says, "It's complex and there are a lot of methodical issues that confound our ability to get reasonable answers to these questions," 

  • Lev-Ran also examined whether Cannabis positively affects people with depression or not. He organized a survey of people with mental illness who do not use Cannabis and those who use it. He observed a negligible difference between the two groups.

He interpreted the saying, "One thing is to maybe say that cannabis isn't very detrimental but it also shows that it isn't very helpful," he says, adding that the conclusion was only based on one study. "But this shows the line on how we explore these questions." Lev-Ran also raised the issue of difficulty in research on Cannabis as it incorporates various substances. There are hundreds of chemical compounds, such as terpenes and cannabinoids, and thousands of strains with Cannabis plants.

He said, "It's clear that we're not talking about one uniform compound. So lumping all cannabis users together is almost ridiculous." 

Now you should also know about Claire Gabereau's interaction with Cannabis.


The Clair Gabereau Case

A Vancouver-based costume designer, Clair Gabereau, was a chain Cannabis user. When she had a borderline personality disorder, depression, and anxiety, her doctor prohibited her from consuming Cannabis while her psychiatrist did not. However, she soon discovered her substance use disorder and stopped consuming Cannabis. 

She said, "I didn't like [that my psychiatrist] was like 'sobriety might be good for you, here's a bunch of drugs. I don't want to go back to smoking it all the time because I'd definitely get paranoia and anxiety. It can be used as a tool and medicine but since I've been abusing it for so long, it has lost its value and purpose."

Her experience is an example of what most research shows. Another issue with Cannabis is less research on it. So, its long-term effects on mental health are not known. A part of psychiatry at Staten Island University Hospital located in Staten Island, New York, Dr. Elina Drits says, "Based on this evidence, physicians should refrain from recommending cannabinoids to their patients for the treatment of mental health disorders,"


While most researchers strongly believe that the Cannabinoids present in Cannabis affect humans, there is a significant lack of research. The therapeutic role of Cannabis on mental illness, particularly in the United States, is in a grey area. It is because of the status of Cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug in the state. However, these regulations and taboos around Cannabis are decreasing that will promote more research in the field. 

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