Marijuana Makes Anxiety And Depression Worse

Written by Jim Folk
Written by Jim Folk
Written by Jim Folk
Last updated June 23, 2021
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Marijuana (cannabis) makes anxiety and depression worse, a systematic review of prospective studies has found.[1] Additionally, marijuana causes a reduction in symptom improvement when traditional treatments were employed.

The study’s abstract states:

A search of the literature up to May 2017 was conducted using several databases. Search terms related to the exposure (ie, cannabis) and outcome (ie, symptoms) variables of interest. There were no search restrictions.

In total, 10,191 citations were screened. Key inclusion criteria related to (1) cohort-based longitudinal study design using adults who met criteria for a mood or anxiety disorder at baseline, (2) an independent variable focusing on at least baseline cannabis use, and (3) a dependent variable focusing on the symptomatic course and/or outcomes in anxiety and mood disorders (AMD).

The results of this study found “recent” cannabis use was associated with higher symptomatic levels over time relative to comparison groups. It also found that cannabis use was associated with less symptomatic improvement from treatment (eg, medication, psychotherapy for AMD).

“Recent cannabis use was associated with negative long-term symptomatic and treatment outcomes across AMD,” the researchers conclude.

This research corresponds with our experience working with people who are struggling with anxiety and depression, and where marijuana use is a factor.

Along with other recent studies, these findings should serve as an alarm about definite harms associated with marijuana use, and that much of the anecdotal claims about the benefits of marijuana aren’t scientifically true.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including Marijuana Makes Anxiety And Depression Worse.


1. Mammen, G, et al. “Association of Cannabis With Long-Term Clinical Symptoms in Anxiety and Mood Disorders: A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 June 2018,