Many people – including myself – find cannabis helpful for a variety of mental health issues. Stress, anxiety and depression are things that every human being feels at times. But according to a new research review, those of us who feel that using cannabis helps these problems must just be imagining it.
The review was done by a team of Australian researchers who analyzed the results of 83 prior studies that looked at the effects of medical cannabis on mental health and neurological conditions. It was published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.
The end result was that researchers found “little evidence for the effectiveness of pharmaceutical CBD or medicinal cannabis for the treatment of any of these mental health disorders.” They go on to claim that what positive evidence there is may not even be attributable to cannabis use.
That’s a bit of an odd conclusion, I thought to myself. But as I read on, I found this little nugget near the bottom of the article:
The review also exposed just how little research has been done on cannabinoids and mental health. The researchers struggled to find studies specifically looking at CBD and depression and anxiety, for example, even though many people use it to self-treat that condition.
In other words, the conclusion that “little evidence” exists is not quite accurate. It would be much more accurate to say that “few clinical studies” exist or that “there is no FDA-approved research showing cannabis helps humans with mental health”. But to claim there is “little evidence” that cannabis helps with mental health issues despite the millions of people who successfully use it for that very reason every day could lead others to believe cannabis can’t help them.
The real headline here should be that more research is needed. Instead we get a claim that cannabis doesn’t help mental health problems in the title while a disclaimer that little research has been done lies at the bottom of the piece.
Anyone who has ever used cannabis to simply calm down knows what effect it can have on mental health. In fact, there are few substances on this planet capable of calming stress and anxiety as quickly as cannabis. To pretend otherwise is to do a disservice to those who could find similar relief.
We all want more research on the cannabis plant, which makes it even more bizarre that we are all still talking about how more research is needed. It’s like we all agree we’re hungry but no one is getting up to cook some food.
Do all the research possible, but in the meantime let’s allow adults to make their own choices about what medicine they ingest.