A group of scientists, led by Dr. Amir Englund, just debunked a highly-cited study and belief that links cannabis to mental disorders. According a new study, cannabis use does not increase the risk of developing anxiety or depression.
Just one year ago, a separate study claimed that one in four new cases of psychotic conditions is a direct result of smoking strong cannabis.
Dr. Amir Englund reviewed data that followed 35,000 cannabis users for three years. They interviewed participants, beginning from the years between 2001-2002 and 2004-2005. “The present study is a large study exploring the effects of cannabis use on future problems such as anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol addiction,” England said. “Cannabis was not related to anxiety or depression at follow-up.”
Englund slammed the authenticity of the earlier findings stating otherwise. “Of course a study such as this is unable to ascertain causality between cannabis use and later drug addiction, merely that a relationship exists,” Englund said. “The authors also report a dose-response effect where greater use of cannabis is related to a greater risk of later addiction. However, they use a crude measure of frequency of cannabis use (less than monthly or at least monthly) and there was no information as to the potency of the cannabis the participants used which we know from previous studies is related to the addictiveness of cannabis.”
Other critics have pointed out that simply finding poly-drug users is nothing new. Most users use more than one drug. Others have suggested that environmental factors like cannabis laws lead to anxiety and depression.
“Toward the end of the article, the authors make comments that go beyond what their data here shows, when claiming their results hold relevance for policy decisions regarding cannabis use,” Englund concluded.
These types of studies should become more prevalent as cannabis continues to be more readily available for research. Hopefully, we will be able to continue to dispel myths and lies associated with cannabis use.