Data Analysis Challenges What We “Know” About Marijuana and Mental Disorders

The Cannabis Report – February 2nd, 2023

One of the most commonly voiced concerns about cannabis is a fear marijuana use is linked to phycological issues, from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and bipolar. But does the data we have back up that belief?

A new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by a team of Stanford University investigators studied the relationship between the adoption of statewide cannabis legalization laws and rates of psychosis-related health care claims from a group of over 63 million privately insured individuals followed from 2003 to 2017. According to the study’s authors, “This study is the first and largest, to our knowledge, to quantify the association of medical and recreational cannabis policies with rates of psychosis-related health care claims across US states. … [W]e did not observe a statistically significant association of state cannabis policy level with overall rates of psychosis-related diagnoses or prescribed antipsychotics.

Other NIH reports show, “Research using longitudinal data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions examined associations between marijuana use, mood and anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. After adjusting for various confounding factors, no association between marijuana use and mood and anxiety disorders was found. The only significant associations were increased risk of alcohol use disorders, nicotine dependence, marijuana use disorder, and other drug use disorders.”

This time on the Cannabis Report, we take a closer look at research from The National Institutes of Health (NIH) challenging widely-held beliefs about the assumed link between marijuana use and mental health issues. We’ll also discuss how, in contrast, known links between alcohol and mental health issues are often overlooked.


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About Leland Rucker:

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi, and The News Station. Leland has been keeping KGNU listeners up-to-date on cannabis news for nearly a decade.