Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan have suggested an unusual use for medical marijuana after reviewing the results of several studies. The study’s lead investigator, Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology, said the 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.”
The researchers, who worked with a team from Florida State University, also indicated that marijuana may benefit those living with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It may also help to relieve symptoms of depression, one of the most common forms of mental illness. What these advocates don’t say is that there are also a whole list of side effects associated with using marijuana, and that this should be taken into consideration when seeking any drug to treat symptoms, illnesses or other disorders.
Ongoing Research on Marijuana and Mental Health Still Needed
To come to their conclusions, Walsh and his fellow researchers looked at 31 articles on the subject of cannabis for therapeutic purposes (CTP) and 29 review articles on non-therapeutic use marijuana use and mental health. Their work is being described by UBC Okanagan as one of the most comprehensive reports that has been prepared to date on the effects of medical marijuana on mental health.
Highlights of the team’s findings are as follows:
• Medical marijuana is often used by clients wishing to get symptom relief from mental health concerns, but it can leave them with other symptoms.
• The early evidence found by researchers suggests that non-therapeutic use of marijuana may be an issue for people who are living with psychotic mental health concerns.
• It may also impact cognitive assessments, especially ones being conducted to measure a client’s memory. Documentation about on cognitive impairment.
The study was published in Clinical Psychology Review, and the research team concluded that further work will need to be done to determine the impact of the use of medical marijuana on a person’s mental health.
With the continued push to legalize marijuana use in the U.S., there are now several states that allow recreational use for adults over the age of 21. However, the impact from this increased use is being felt in many ways, and the full brunt will not be known for several years.
Studies like this one that are quasi-endorsements for the drug do not bode well for substance abuse intervention, treatment and prevention professionals. This is primarily because limited uses where benefits may have been observed in relation to other treatments are then used by pro-marijuana advocates to push their full legalization agenda, without regard for the negative impacts that ensue.