The marijuana legalization in many states has more individuals seeking marijuana prescriptions for Depression, Anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The opportunity to demonstrate its effectiveness in treating emotional/mental health issues has arrived and creates debate among medical and treatment professionals.
While clinical research in this area is lacking, individuals and professionals have noted the beneficial effects of marijuana on managing symptoms related to mental and emotional distress. Many report improved sleep, decreased anxiety, and an increased sense of well being. This is where the difficulties begin as utilizing marijuana for medicinal purposes in treating mental health issues may make matters worse.
It is important to identify the difference between symptom focused treatment and problem focused treatment. Marijuana along with medications such as Xanax and Ativan are commonly used to decrease symptoms of emotional distress and argued to be effective in meeting the treatment goal of symptom reduction. Unfortunately marijuana and some prescription medication fail to address the underlying cause of the symptoms leaving the condition untreated and an individual dependent on the substance to manage their emotional state. Side effects of low motivation, fatigue, poor concentration, withdrawal from daily activities, and worse paranoia and psychosis as reported in some cases. When it comes to one’s mood it is not clear if marijuana causes depression but those who report a decrease in depressed mood while using often state the depression returns and becomes worse as the effects of marijuana wear off. Sadly, reliance on marijuana grows into dependence when one feels they cannot function without it.