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Mental Health and Medical Cannabis

Mental Health and Medical Cannabis

Mental Health and Medical Cannabis 

This blog highlights the benefits of cannabis in the management of symptoms associated with depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. 

A Look at How Medical Cannabis Has Helped Patients 

Depression 

Depression is reported to affect approximately 280 million people worldwide1. Symptoms of depression include a lack of interest or enjoyment in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, oversleeping or insomnia, fatigue, inability to concentrate, and feelings of worthlessness2. 

Medical cannabis has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of depression across various population groups3–9. In one study, Li et al examined the real-time effects of consuming cannabis flower on the treatment of symptoms associated with depression10. A majority of individuals (95%) reported a reduction in depression intensity symptoms with an average reduction of 3.76 points on a 0-10 visual analogue scale10. Across studies, there appears to be a particularly beneficial effect of oral CBD for depression11-13. CBD rich products were particularly effective in decreasing depression symptoms in patients with moderate to severe depression14 

ADHD 

ADHD conservatively occurs in 2.5-4.4% of adults15-16. It can be characterized by high levels of inattention, hyperactivity-impulsivity, or a combination of both17. ADHD was associated with a 4-5% reduction in work performance and an elevated risk of workplace accident injuries18. Although prescription stimulants are used in the treatment of ADHD, they are associated with various negative side effects such as loss of appetite, emotional problems, upset stomach, sleep problems, headaches, etc.19

According to various reports, cannabis may be therapeutic for those with treatment-resistant ADHD20. A high THC product was shown to alleviate ADHD symptoms such as poor tolerance to frustration, outbursts of anger, boredom, and concentration problems21. In the same individual adding a balanced THC:CBD product was shown to additionally reduce feelings of anxiety, restlessness, need to be on the go all the time, and reducing the patient’s chronic pain indication21 

A randomized placebo-controlled study examined the therapeutic potential of a balanced THC:CBD cannabis extract, an oromucosal spray, in adults with ADHD22. It was found that the balanced THC:CBD product was associated with statistically significant improvements in hyperactivity/impulsivity and a cognitive measure of inhibition (often impaired in those with ADHD)22. There were also trends towards improvement for inattention and emotional lability22. 

Anxiety 

Anxiety disorders affect approximately 4.6-10% of Canadians23. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social anxiety disorder24. Symptoms can be clustered into four categories: physical responses (i.e., insomnia, fatigue), thoughts (i.e., excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating), emotions (i.e., feeling helpless, mood wings), and behaviors (i.e., irritability, social withdrawal)25,26. 

There is evidence that cannabis may be effective in treating anxiety27,28. As a matter of fact, anxiety treatment is among the top three endorsed reasons for medical cannabis use29. The results of a recent study led by Aurora revealed that 85% of patients with anxiety reported improvements in their condition following six weeks of medical cannabis therapy30. This was accompanied by an increase in quality of life30. Of those who rated cannabis as being helpful for their anxiety, 32% selected high CBD products and 28% selected high THC products30. 

The efficacy of cannabis in the management of anxiety is supported by larger reviews of the literature. For example, a systematic review performed on 83 studies (40 randomized controlled trials) found that THC alone or in combination with CBD improved anxiety symptoms among individuals with comorbid medical conditions31. 

Aurora Has Many THC, CBD and Balanced Products 

For those interested in using medical cannabis as an adjunct therapy option, Aurora offers several product options that may be helpful for patients with anxiety. 

Avidekel Oil: Extracted from our high-CBD indica-dominant Avidekel strain and contains 26 mg/ml of CBD.  

Sedamen Oil: Extracted from our THC-rich Sedamen indica strain and containing 20 mg/ml of THC.  

Equiposa Oil: Balanced THC:CBD product. 

Kiwi Strawberry 1:1 Gummies: Another balanced THC:CBD product, in edible format. 

Luminarium: Our popular high-THC sativa strain. 

To explore Aurora’s wide range of medical cannabis products, click here. 

REFERENCES 

  1. World Health Organization. Depression. Accessed September 19, 2021. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression 
  2. American Psychological Association. Depression. Accessed September 19, 2021. https://www.apa.org/topics/depression 
  3. Ware MA, Wang T, Shapiro S, et al. Smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2010;182(14):E694. doi:10.1503/CMAJ.091414  
  4. Walsh, Z., Callaway, R., Belle-Isle, L., Capler, R., Kay, R., Lucas, P., & Holtzman, S. Cannabis for therapeutic purposes: patient characteristics, access, and reasons for use. The International journal on drug policy. 2013;24(6):511-516. doi:10.1016/J.DRUGPO.2013.08.010  
  5. Ogborne, A. C., Smart, R. G., Weber, T., & Birchmore-Timney, C. Who is using cannabis as a medicine and why: an exploratory study. Journal of psychoactive drugs. 2000;32(4):435-443. doi:10.1080/02791072.2000.10400245  
  6. Nunberg H, Kilmer B, Pacula RL, Burgdorf J. An Analysis of Applicants Presenting to a Medical Marijuana Specialty Practice in California. Journal of drug policy analysis. 2011;4(1). doi:10.2202/1941-2851.1017  
  7. Harris, D., Jones, R. T., Shank, R., Nath, R., Fernandez, E., Goldstein, K., & Mendelson, J. Self-reported marijuana effects and characteristics of 100 San Francisco medical marijuana club members. Journal of addictive diseases. 2000;19(3):89-103. doi:10.1300/J069V19N03_07  
  8. Aggarwal, S. K., Carter, G. T., Sullivan, M. D., ZumBrunnen, C., Morrill, R., & Mayer, J. D. Prospectively surveying health-related quality of life and symptom relief in a lot based sample of medical cannabis-using patients in urban Washington State reveals managed chronic illness and debility. The American journal of hospice & palliative care. 2013;30(6):523-531. doi:10.1177/1049909112454215  
  9. Webb CW, Webb SM. Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey. Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health. 2014;73(4):109. Accessed September 19, 2021. / pmc/articles/PMC3998228/ 
  10. Li X, Diviant JP, Stith SS, et al. Focus: Plant-based Medicine and Pharmacology: The Effectiveness of Cannabis Flower for Immediate Relief from Symptoms of Depression. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 2020;93(2):251. Accessed September 19, 2021. /pmc/articles/PMC7309674/ 
  11. Allsop DJ, Copeland J, Lintzeris N, et al. Nabiximols as an agonist replacement therapy during cannabis withdrawal:A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(3):281-291. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.3947  
  12. Solowij, Nadia, Samantha J. Broyd, Camilla Beale, Julie-Anne Prick, Lisa-marie Greenwood, Hendrika Van Hell, Chao Suo et al. Therapeutic Effects of Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment on Psychological Symptoms and Cognitive Function in Regular Cannabis Users: A Pragmatic Open-Label Clinical Trial. Cannabis and cannabinoid research. 2018;3(1):21-34. doi:10.1089/CAN.2017.0043  
  13. Beale, C., Broyd, S. J., Chye, Y., Suo, C., Schira, M., Galettis, P., ... & Solowij, N. Prolonged Cannabidiol Treatment Effects on Hippocampal Subfield Volumes in Current Cannabis Users. Cannabis and cannabinoid research. 2018;3(1):94-107. doi:10.1089/CAN.2017.0047 
  14. Rapin L, Gamaoun R, el Hage C, Arboleda MF, Prosk E. Cannabidiol use and effectiveness: real-world evidence from a Canadian medical cannabis clinic. Journal of Cannabis Research 2021 3:1. 2021;3(1):1-10. doi:10.1186/S42238-021-00078-W 
  15. Artigas, M. S., Sánchez-Mora, C., Rovira, P., Richarte, V., Garcia-Martínez, I., Pagerols, M., ... & Ribasés, M. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and lifetime cannabis use: genetic overlap and causality. Molecular psychiatry. 2020;25(10):2493-2503. doi:10.1038/S41380-018-0339-3 
  16. Simon, V., Czobor, P., Bálint, S., Mészáros, A., & Bitter, I. Prevalence and correlates of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: meta-analysis. The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science. 2009;194(3):204-211. doi:10.1192/BJP.BP.107.048827 
  17. Miller AR. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP. Published 1996. Accessed September 16, 2021. https:// www.apa.org/topics/adhd  
  18. Kessler RC, Lane M, Stang PE, Brunt DL van. The prevalence and workplace costs of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in a large manufacturing firm. Psychological Medicine. 2009;39(1):137-147. doi:10.1017/S0033291708003309 
  19. Thiruchelvam, D., Charach, A., & Schachar, R. J. Moderators and mediators of long-term adherence to stimulant treatment in children with ADHD. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2001;40(8):922-928. doi:10.1097/00004583-200108000-00014. 
  20. Mitchell, J. T., Sweitzer, M. M., Tunno, A. M., Kollins, S. H., & McClernon, F. J. “I Use Weed for My ADHD”: A Qualitative Analysis of Online Forum Discussions on Cannabis Use and ADHD. PloS one. 2016;11(5). doi:10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0156614  
  21. Hupli AMM. Medical Cannabis for Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Sociological Patient Case Report of Cannabinoid Therapeutics in Finland. Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. 2018;1(2):112-118. doi:10.1159/000495307 
  22. Cooper RE, Williams E, Seegobin S, Tye C, Kuntsi J, Asherson P. Cannabinoids in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A randomised-controlled trial. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017;27(8):795-808. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.05.005 
  23. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. What are the five major types of anxiety disorders? | HHS.gov. Accessed September 20, 2021. https://www.hhs.gov/answers/mental-health-and-substance-abuse/what-are-the-five-major-types-of-anxiety-disorders/index.html 
  24. Mental Health - Anxiety Disorders - Canada.ca. Accessed September 19, 2021. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/diseases/ mental-health-anxiety-disorders.html#tsad 
  25. Anxiety Canada. Anxiety in Adults - Anxiety Canada. Accessed September 20, 2021. https://www.anxietycanada.com/learn-about-anxiety/anxiety-in-adults/ 
  26. Sexton M, Cuttler C, Finnell JS, Mischley LK. A Cross-Sectional Survey of Medical Cannabis Users: Patterns of Use and Perceived Efficacy. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2016;1(1):131-138. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0007  
  27. Lee C, Round JM, Hanlon JG, Hyshka E, Dyck JRB, Eurich DT. Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item (GAD-7) Scores in Medically Authorized Cannabis Patients-Ontario and Alberta, Canada. doi:10.1177/07067437211043393  
  28.  Wadsworth E, Leos-Toro C, Hammond D. Mental Health and Medical Cannabis Use among Youth and Young Adults in Canada. Substance Use & Misuse. 2020;55(4):582-589. doi:10.1080/10826084.2019.1691594  
  29. Walsh Z, Callaway R, Belle-Isle L, et al. Cannabis for therapeutic purposes: Patient characteristics, access, and reasons for use. International Journal of Drug Policy. 2013;24(6):511-516. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.08.010  
  30. Cahill SP, Lunn SE, Diaz P, Page JE. Evaluation of Patient Reported Safety and Efficacy of Cannabis From a Survey of Medical Cannabis Patients in Canada. Frontiers in Public Health. 2021;9. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2021.626853 
  31. Black, N., Stockings, E., Campbell, G., Tran, L. T., Zagic, D., Hall, W. D., ... & Degenhardt, L. Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The lancet Psychiatry. 2019;6(12):995-1010. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30401-8. 
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