Medical cannabis is complicated. Many consumers use the plant to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. But, cannabis can also cause side effects related to mental health. For example, it’s no secret that THC can sometimes cause paranoia. Many medical professionals are also concerned that THC may worsen psychosis in vulnerable individuals.
Chronic high doses of cannabis may also have an impact on mental health. Over time, the body’s overall receptivity to THC and it’s euphoric effects can become blunted, a phenomenon known as tolerance. Some scientists postulate that this effect may contribute to symptoms of apathy and depression in some consumers. However, as a 2016 study points out, these types of symptoms may not persist in the long term.
Overall, there’s a lot we still don’t know about cannabis. Much of the research on the topic is still limited to rodent trials and general population studies. And conducting high-quality research is difficult. Although a potential 238 million people use cannabis worldwide, the plant is still banned in most countries. The harsh legal environment surrounding cannabis makes it difficult for doctors and scientists to properly research the plant.
So, while many people use cannabis to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety, every person will have their own unique experience with the plant. With what we know about cannabis right now, its effect on mental health seems to depend on the following factors: