April 22, 2024

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Medical Cannabis Shows Promise in Treating Depression

Medical Cannabis Shows Promise in Treating Depression: Study Finds Significant Improvement in Symptoms



Medical Cannabis Shows Promise in Treating Depression: Study Finds Significant Improvement in Symptoms

Medical cannabis improves depression symptoms, nearly halves severity after 18 weeks of use.

A study has been published suggesting significant improvement in depression symptoms with medical cannabis treatment. While the authors highlight the need for further research, medical cannabis could be a sustainable treatment option for chronic depression.

Conducted by a research team from the LVR Essen Hospital affiliated with the University of Essen in Germany, in collaboration with the leading European medical cannabis telemedicine platform “Algea Care,” the study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmacopsychiatry in January of this year.

The study showed significant improvement in symptoms, including a significant reduction in the severity of depression, in patients using medical cannabis. Additionally, no serious side effects from medical cannabis were reported among the study participants.

The research team stated, “The tolerability of medical cannabis was good, with a dropout rate similar to that of antidepressants.” They also noted, “According to patient reports, the severity of depression decreased significantly clinically.”

Medical Cannabis Shows Promise in Treating Depression: Study Finds Significant Improvement in Symptoms


5% of the world’s adult population suffers from depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known as clinical depression, is a mental illness characterized by persistent symptoms such as feeling down or losing interest. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2020, 18.4% of American adults had been diagnosed with depression. Depression can lead to difficulties in various aspects of life, including home, work, and school.

The treatment of depression often involves the use of antidepressants and mood stabilizers, but clinical results suggest limited effectiveness. Some patients do not experience any improvement in symptoms, while many do not achieve remission.

The study recruited 59 chronic depression patients who had not responded to conventional prescription treatments and agreed to the use of medical cannabis as an alternative treatment. They were then administered prescribed medical cannabis via vapor inhalation for 18 weeks starting in early 2021.

Depression severity reduced from 6.9 to 3.8 points after 18 weeks of cannabis use
Improvement in depression symptoms with medical cannabis treatment

As part of the treatment, patients rated the severity of their depression on a scale of 0 to 10. The average rating at the start of the treatment was 6.9 points, which decreased to 5.1 points after 6 weeks, 4.1 points after 12 weeks, and 3.8 points after 18 weeks of medical cannabis use. 23.7% of patients experienced a halving of the severity after 6 weeks.

Although side effects were reported by slightly over one-third of patients (35.6%), they were all mild. Reported side effects included dry eyes and mouth, increased appetite (6.8% each), decreased concentration, fatigue, and impaired judgment (3.4% each), as well as nausea, headache, changes in taste, throat irritation, lack of energy, and restlessness (1.7% each). There were no reports of serious side effects such as delusions or hallucinations, and the research team, consisting of physicians, psychiatrists, and scientists, confirmed the safety of medical cannabis treatment.

The research team suggests that further studies, preferably with more participants, such as prospective cohort studies or randomized comparative trials, are needed to derive effective recommendations for using medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic depression.

Dr. Julian Wichmann, CEO of Algea Care and co-founder of its parent company Bloomwell Group, commented, “These are very promising and encouraging research results. They further support the continued use of medical cannabis in the treatment of mental disorders in Germany and lay the groundwork for future research on the efficacy of cannabis therapy in the treatment of mental disorders and diseases.”

The study’s results are consistent with existing research that has examined the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of depression. A study published in 2022 in the journal Psychiatry Research, involving 7,000 patients with anxiety disorders or depression symptoms, reported sustained improvement after cannabis use. Another study published last year in the journal Biomedicines found a correlation between the continued use of prescribed cannabis products and a significant decrease in pain, depression symptoms, and opioid analgesic use in elderly patients.

Medical Cannabis Shows Promise in Treating Depression: Study Finds Significant Improvement in Symptoms

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