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Cannabis use growing in adults with depression – study



Cannabis use is on the rise among US adults with depression, researchers have found.

US adults with depression are twice as likely to use cannabis as those without, according to a new study.

Researchers from Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute published findings from a repeated cross-sectional study in JAMA Network Open online.

“The findings of this study indicate that individuals with depression are at increasing risk of cannabis use, with a particularly strong increase in daily or near-daily cannabis use,” they wrote.

“Clinicians should be aware of these trends and the evidence that cannabis does not treat depression effectively when discussing cannabis use with patients.”

Researchers analysed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey about past-month cannabis use and daily or near-daily (20 or more times) use for 16,216 adults aged from 20- 59 between 2005 and 2016.

Compared with adults without depression, adults with depression had 1.90 times the odds of any past-month cannabis use and 2.29 times the odds of daily or near-daily cannabis use, researchers found.

The link between cannabis use and depression also strengthened significantly over the study period. In 2005 to 2006, adults with depression had 46 per cent higher odds of any cannabis use and 30 percent higher odds of near-daily cannabis use.

By 2015 to 2016, they had 130 per cent higher odds of any cannabis use and 216 percent higher odds of daily use, according to the study.

Researchers added: “These results suggest that over time, a higher proportion of individuals with depression are using cannabis.

“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.

“These results could also be interpreted as indicating that an increasing proportion of individuals who use cannabis are developing depression.”

The latter scenario is unlikely, however, since the prevalence of depression remained stable throughout the study period, researchers noted.


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