What is the hubbub all about? Can cannabis help people with their mental health?

You may have heard that cannabis is either this amazing wonder drug for all your mental health concerns or the complete opposite, which is that it is terrible for your mental health (MH). So before you pack up those tasty Raw Cones and kick your feet up in the backyard to get your mind right, your pal, the Blazer is gonna break down what’s what for you in the abyss of laughable research that pops up on your social feed. 

The truth is… the cat’s not out of the bag, but she is close. 

Research around marijuana and its benefits for mental health is still being conducted. But, the data is looking good for us tokers. In fact, according to a systematic review, THC improved symptoms of many health disorders (schizophrenia, social anxiety, PTSD, anorexia nervosa, ADHD, and Tourette’s disorder) when combined with other medication and therapy. Furthermore, a recent 2022 study shows that 93% of users over 12 months reported that cannabis helped their mental health. These groups included users with anxiety, depression, and low happiness levels. Many other studies found cannabis can assist with bipolar disorder, depression, and other mood disorders. Pretty great, huh? 

Now don’t get on your high horse just yet fellow Blazers, as we found some strong claims out there against cannabis when sifting through the research as well, so let’s present both sides here to understand how the haters are gonna hate. Some research suggests that excessive marijuana use may increase the risk of depression, schizophrenia, unhealthy drug abuse, and anxiety over time. So who can we believe?


What the Critics argue and why it’s wrong:  


A 2017 study by the National Academy of Sciences extensively reviewed marijuana and mental health. As a result, they found a connection between psychotic disorders and cannabis usage. Still, this connection could be attributed to other factors such as that some people may have had psychotic disorders before using cannabis in the first place. The study even outlines this in its limitations.

Another UNBIASED study 😂 by  Christchurch Health and Development study, reads “causal links” between psychosis and cannabis, but then later goes on to say that there is no way to factor out other possible variables. Hmmm… somewhat suspicious and inconclusive coming from a bias faith-based organization hiding behind some bullshit “save the children” excuse they use for everything don’t you think? We are making a “link” but other variables are probably the real cause? By that logic, sugar causes diabetes. It is simply not that black and white. 

Genetic predisposition is the number one contributor to adult onset psychotic symptoms (8). Period. If a study does not factor out these variables, we are unable to draw conclusions from this research. True environmental factors such as cannabis (as an adolescent), and childhood trauma may turn on a gene you already had for psychotic symptoms, but saying cannabis is to blame is quite ridiculous don’t you think? 


#1 Different People=Different Results - Why recreationally approved states get it right.

Oppositional researchers love to point out that marijuana can increase symptoms of mental health problems. For example, one study showed that most users reported that cannabis use improved sleep, cognitive function, and decreased anxiety overall, but for some users, their anxiety and sleep issues increased. Oh, so you are saying that different drugs affect people differently, researchers? Well, no shit. 

One of the Blazer’s best friends isn’t anti-cannabis, but she just gets too paranoid and in her head from the effects of cannabis, so she doesn’t do it. We’ve all been there. There is nothing relaxing about eating too many gummies or being peer pressured into that dab hit by your intense neighbor that totally ruins your night and has you questioning everything you ever believed about cannabis. Getting NOID is the worst! But yes, of course cannabis affects everyone differently and what works right is different for everyone. 

The Blazer lives in Las Vegas, NV, a recreationally legal state, which offers the benefits of precise and regulated testing so we know exactly what we are getting in our products. If we get a terrible reaction, we chat it up with our local budtender and try something else on the spectrum with a different mix of sativa/indica ratio, higher or lower potency, and appropriate terpenes, to find that proper balance. The Blazer believes that the NOID problem has a lot to do with not knowing what is actually in the cannabis of your buddy’s buddy’s home grown operation that you depend on in non-recreationally approved states. The exact testing and reporting of what is in our product is great for everyone. 

The haters would have less evidence and research if everyone in the country had access to regulated products and could safely experiment with dosages and methods. That’s what psychiatrists do with mental health patients to balance brain chemistry as well. It’s not an exact science and the feedback loop is a critical part of the process. Otherwise, it’s just a complete crap-shoot, and the player never beats the house long term in that game. 


The Bottom Line: 

  1. Although there seems to be competing research, it appears that research is pointing towards more benefits for your mental health than negative consequences. 
  2. Cannabis may work for you, but not for your friends. Thus, the only way to find out if your symptoms change (with our current research) is to try it yourself in a safe, regulated environment where you can understand how you are affected by specific dosages and adjust accordingly. 
  3. It also means WE NEED MORE ANSWERS. When we get cannabis off the Controlled Substances list, researchers and universities can study it more thoroughly and run legitimate double blind, longitudinal studies to give us  credible research on the benefits as well as the risks and problems that may arise from cannabis proliferation. 

The Green Blazer’s   take on all this:   

Let’s face it, life is good, but life can be hard. We all need a relaxing preroll and Spotify playlist after that twelve hour long Monday graveyard shift restocking the shelves all night. And we’re all smart enough to know our own bodies to find a little peaceful bliss. Especially when we know exactly what is in our products and can experiment safely to get the desired effects.  Now remember, anything that helps you feel better, may become an unhealthy crutch - same as watching too much Netflix, working out too often, or bandwagoning onto the latest health fad preached by the hottest influencer - so everything in moderation fellow Blazers. 


Find your favorite cone here and feel free to message us at hannah@thegreenblazer@gmail.com with any questions or follow up you may have. 

 

References:

1. Fergusson, DM, Horwood, LJ, Ridder, EM, Fergusson, David M, Horwood, L John, & Ridder, Elizabeth M. (2005). Tests of causal linkages between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms. Addiction., 100(3), 354–366. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01001.x
2. Ghelani. (2021). Motives for Recreational Cannabis Use among Mental Health Professionals. Journal of Substance Use., 26(3), 256–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/14659891.2020.1812124
3. Hill KP: Medical marijuana for treatment of chronic pain and other medical and psychiatric problems: a clinical review. JAMA 2015; 313:2474–2483 
4. Hoch E, Niemann D, von Keller R, Schneider M, Friemel CM, Preuss UW, Hasan A, Pogarell O (2019) How effective and safe is medical cannabis as a treatment of mental disorders? A systematic review. Eur Arch Psychiatry
5.National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington, DC, National Academies Press, 2017 
6. Jetly R, Heber A, Fraser G, et al.: The efficacy of nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, in the treatment of PTSD-associated nightmares: a preliminary randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over design study. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2015; 51:585–588
7. Rup, Freeman, T. P., Perlman, C., & Hammond, D. (2022). Cannabis and Mental Health: Adverse Outcomes and Self-Reported Impact of Cannabis Use by Mental Health Status. Substance Use & Misuse, 57(5), 719–729. https://doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2022.2034872 
8. Zwicker, Denovan-Wright, E. M., & Uher, R. (2018). Gene–environment interplay in the etiology of psychosis. Psychological Medicine, 48(12), 1925–1936. https://doi.org/10.1017/S003329171700383X