Medical Marijuana Uses In Treatment of Mental Disorders

By Justin Samuels

Twitter: @screenwriter32

IG: @samuelsjustin

Marijuana’s calming effect has long been known to users, but it had little to no recognition from the medical professional due to the war on drugs and prohibition.  Now that legalization of both medical and recreational is expanding in the United States and abroad, more research is being done on the effects of marijuana.  Now it’s possible to research the mood changes caused by marijuana, and doctors can research using marijuana not only to treat physical illnesses but mental illnesses.

A recent joint study by the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago determined that low amounts of marijuana reduce stress and anxiety.  High amounts of marijuana can increase stress.  The study used capsules, which is different from inhaling marijuana so the effects aren’t quite the same.  Still, this study does show at the proper dosage marijuana can be used to lower stress.  Jeremy Spiegel, MD notes anecdotally on how marijuana can be used to treat depression, anxiety, stress, and certain social disorders.  Marijuana substantially improved the social interaction skills of patients that failed to respond to talk therapy.

It was taboo until recently to consider marijuana in the treatment of mental disorders because it was illegal, but with legalization spreading and more research done on the effects of marijuana usage, in general, more research is being conducted on using marijuana to treat mental disorders, including addiction.  Many of the prescription pills used to treat mental illness as well as many painkillers are fairly lethal if not used precisely as directed.  Marijuana is now seen as a way to reduce the need for much more damaging prescription drugs. Associate Professor of Psychology Zach Walsh at the University of British Columbia in Canada is researching the use of marijuana to replace harsher prescription drugs.

A number of US states now list PTSD as one of the qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana. Marijuana’s use to battle mental illness is nearing mainstream acceptance.  A lot more work needs to be done to understand how and why it’s effective as well as to find the best methods to use marijuana in treating mental health disorders.