Summary: According to researchers, using marijuana could help in the treatment of alcoholism and opioid drug abuse, as well as provide relief from symptoms of PTSD, depression and other mental health issues.
Source: University of British Columbia.
Using marijuana could help some alcoholics and people addicted to opioids kick their habits, a UBC study has found.
“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” says the study’s lead investigator Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
This comprehensive systematic review of research on the medical cannabis use and mental health also found some evidence that cannabis may help with symptoms of depression, PTSD and social anxiety. However, the review concluded that cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.
“In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points,” says Walsh.
Walsh and his team systematically reviewed all studies of medical cannabis and mental health, as well as reviews on non-medical cannabis use–making the review one of the most comprehensive reports to date on the effects of medical cannabis on mental health.
With legalization of marijuana possible as early as next year in Canada, its important to identify ways to help mental health professional move beyond stigma to better understand the risk and benefits of cannabis is increasingly important, adds Walsh.
“There is not currently a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes,” says Walsh. “With the end of prohibition, telling people to simply stop using may no longer be as feasible an option. Knowing how to consider cannabis in the treatment equation will become a necessity.”
Walsh’s research was conducted with UBC’s Michelle Thiessen, Kim Crosby and Chris Carroll, Raul Gonzalez from Florida State University, and Marcel Bonn-Miller from the National Centre for PTSD and Center for Innovation and Implementation in California.
Source: Matthew Grant – University of British Columbia
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Original Research: Abstract for “Medical cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review” by Zach Walsh, Raul Gonzalez, Kim Crosby, Michelle S. Thiessen, Chris Carroll, and Marcel O. Bonn-Miller Clinical Psychology Review. Published online November 2016 doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2016.10.002
Medical cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review
This review considers the potential influences of the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) on areas of interest to mental health professionals, with foci on adult psychopathology and assessment. We identified 31 articles relating to the use of CTP and mental health, and 29 review articles on cannabis use and mental health that did not focus on use for therapeutic purposes. Results reflect the prominence of mental health conditions among the reasons for CTP use, and the relative dearth of high-quality evidence related to CTP in this context, thereby highlighting the need for further research into the harms and benefits of medical cannabis relative to other therapeutic options. Preliminary evidence suggests that CTP may have potential for the treatment of PTSD, and as a substitute for problematic use of other substances. Extrapolation from reviews of non-therapeutic cannabis use suggests that the use of CTP may be problematic among individuals with psychotic disorders. The clinical implications of CTP use among individuals with mood disorders are unclear. With regard to assessment, evidence suggests that CTP use does not increase risk of harm to self or others. Acute cannabis intoxication and recent CTP use may result in reversible deficits with the potential to influence cognitive assessment, particularly on tests of short-term memory.
“Medical cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review” by Zach Walsh, Raul Gonzalez, Kim Crosby, Michelle S. Thiessen, Chris Carroll, and Marcel O. Bonn-Miller Clinical Psychology Review. Published online November 2016 doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2016.10.002