The list of reasons why people use marijuana is long, including but not limited to, wanting to feel a euphoric high, decompress from a long day’s work, alleviate pain, socialize, or get to sleep. Certain groups — about 25 percent of people with anxiety or mood disorders – use marijuana to self-medicate mental health symptoms.
According to a new study, this type of consumption is on the rise. After tracking the marijuana use patterns of more than 16,000 people over 11 years, researchers discovered that people with depression were approximately twice as likely to consume marijuana than those without depression.
“This could be the case if an increasing number of individuals with depression are using cannabis to self-medicate, potentially influenced by media and advertising presenting cannabis as beneficial to health,” the study authors write.
The researchers describe this stark uptick as an issue: According to current evidence, marijuana isn’t likely to help depression. In some cases, the scientists explain, using marijuana for depression can even backfire — making depressive symptoms worse, not better.
As some states legalize weed and public stigma around the substance dissipates, researchers predict this trend toward use will continue. They caution people to look beyond misleading reports by cannabis companies and media reports making false promises about marijuana and depression.
The findings were published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open.
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