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Patients Use Cannabis for Pain, Anxiety, and Depression

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Welcome to Cannabis Conclusions, a unique educational series from Higher Learning LV that is targeted at hemp and cannabis industry professionals. This series provides readers with the conclusion section from important modern peer-reviewed research studies.


A July 2019 study entitled "Patient-reported Use of Medical Cannabis for Pain, Anxiety, and Depression Symptoms: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis" that was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine explored the reasons that patients use marijuana to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, and pain. It reported that it collected data from "13 studies that included 6,665 participants from over 30 countries."

The study reported that "certifications for medical cannabis are generally restricted to a small number of specific medical conditions, yet patients frequently report symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression as reasons for use." The research noted that it's primary goal was to "conduct the first systematic review and meta-analysis of empirical studies of patient-reported symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression as reasons for medical cannabis use."


"The study revealed that pain was the number one reason reported by patients for their use of medical marijuana, followed closely by anxiety."

Study Conclusions

"This study is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of patient-reported medical cannabis use for symptoms of pain, anxiety, and depression. Pooled statistics indicated that the mean prevalence of individuals reported using medical cannabis for:

  • Anxiety (52%)

  • Depression (35%)

  • Pain (67%)

Thus, the study revealed that pain was the number one reason reported by patients for their use of medical marijuana, followed closely by anxiety. Although depression was the least reported reason for cannabis consumption by patients, it still constituted more than one-third of the almost 7,000 patients surveyed.

View the original study.


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