Medical and PharmaceuticalNewsResearchScience and ResearchUSAmericans battling depression twice as likely to use cannabis, study finds

Almost 19 per cent of survey respondents with depression reported using pot over the last 30 days
Jared Gnam Jared GnamDecember 10, 20194 min

Americans battling the blues are more than twice as likely to use cannabis than those who are not depressed, according to a new study.

Among almost 730,000 people aged 12 and up who completed the self-reported survey, overall pot use jumped from 2005 to 2017 across the United States. But in 2017, 18.9 per cent people with depression used cannabis in the last month compared to only 8.7 per cent of people who did not suffer from depression.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, also showed the two groups had contrasting views on the drug.

“Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression in 2017, compared with those without depression, and from 2005 to 2017 the perception of risk declined more rapidly among those with depression,” Renee Goodwin, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

“At the same time the rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression.”

Respondents with depression who perceived no risk associated with regular pot use were far more likely to use cannabis in the last 30 days compared to those who perceived significant risk associated with use at 38.6 per cent versus 1.6 per cent, respectively.

Other notable findings showed certain groups appeared more likely to consume pot. For example, nearly one third of young adults aged 18 to 25 with depression reported past month use at 29.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, daily cannabis use occurred among 6.7 per cent with depression but only 2.9 per cent of those without.

The study comes on the heels of emerging scientific evidence that shows the compounds found in weed, known as cannabinoids, may play a role in the recovery of those suffering from mental health issues like PTSD-associated depression or anxiety.

See also: Cannabis Could Alleviate Major Depression and Suicidal Thoughts in PTSD Sufferers, Study Shows

Last month, the first study to look into the relationship with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cannabis in a meaningful sample size showed those suffering from the condition while medicating with cannabis were significantly less likely to experience severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

According to researchers from the BC Centre on Substance Use, people with PTSD who didn’t use pot were roughly seven times more likely to have experienced a recent major depressive episode and almost five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to those who don’t have the mental health condition and don’t use cannabis.

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