cannabis depression depressive research

Study: Cannabis Associated With Reductions In Depressive Feelings

More than 264 million people suffer from depression across the globe according to the World Health Organization.

It is estimated that 76%-85% of people in low to middle-income countries receive no treatment at all for their depression, which is extremely unfortunate.

Depression can be debilitating to anyone that suffers from it. Symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lower energy level
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Lower self-esteem

Depression can lead to thoughts of suicide, and, sadly, in some cases it can result in actual suicide.

It’s a very serious issue that is increasing across the planet. According to the results of a new study, cannabis could provide temporary relief.

Short-Term Reductions In Depressive Feelings

According to data from a recent study that was published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, the inhalation of cannabis is associated with short-term reductions in depressive feelings.

A team of researchers at the University of New Mexico looked at the effects of inhaled cannabis (dried flower) on subjects that reported experiencing depressive feelings.

The study involved 1,819 subjects and took place over the course of a one-month period. Participants would consume cannabis at home and track their symptom changes via an app as part of the study.

According to the researchers, “almost all patients in our sample [96%] experienced symptom relief from using cannabis to treat depression … with an average symptom intensity reduction of –3.76 points on a zero-to-ten visual analogue scale.”

On average the symptom relief lasted up to two-hours, and cannabis that was THC-dominant seemed to work the best.

“Our results indicate that THC in particular is positively correlated with an immediate reduction in the intensity of depressive feelings… Future research on cannabis and depression is needed, directly comparing the short- and long-term treatment effectiveness and side effect severity of cannabis use with conventional antidepressant treatment, in conjunction with conventional treatment approaches, and in the presence of clinically discouraged behaviors, such as alcohol consumption,” the study’s authors concluded.

Be Cautious

Before you ever try cannabis to try to treat depression, or equally important, suggest that other people do so, make sure to proceed with caution.

Cannabis proved to be effective for a vast majority of this study’s participants, however, that doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone in every instance.

The cannabis plant is complex and comes in many varieties and levels of potency. Additionally, the human body and brain are also very complex. Results may vary.

The last thing that you want to do is make your own situation worse or make someone else’s situation worse. 

Depression is a very serious condition and you should always seek out the advice of a medical professional prior to using cannabis for medical purposes, including and especially when it comes to treating depression.


  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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