Medical Marijuana May Not Aid Pain, Anxiety, Depression Symptoms

But many obtaining immediate access to a medical marijuana card developed cannabis use disorder

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FRIDAY, March 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Immediate access to medical marijuana cards may have negative consequences, including higher rates of cannabis use disorder (CUD), according to a study published online March 18 in JAMA Network Open.

Jodi M. Gilman, Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues sought to understand the risks and benefits of obtaining a medical marijuana card. Adults seeking medical marijuana for pain, insomnia, and anxiety or depressive symptoms were randomly assigned to an immediate card acquisition group (105 adults) or the delayed card acquisition group (81 adults; 12-week delay).

The researchers found that the immediate card acquisition group had more CUD symptoms (mean difference [MD], 0.28), fewer self-rated insomnia symptoms (MD, –2.90); and reported no significant changes in pain severity or anxiety or depressive symptoms. The immediate card acquisition group also had a higher incidence of CUD (17.1 percent versus 8.6 percent in the delayed card acquisition group; adjusted odds ratio, 2.88), particularly among those with a chief concern of anxiety or depressive symptoms.

"Our study underscores the need for better decision making about whether to begin to use cannabis for specific medical complaints, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, which are associated with an increased risk of cannabis use disorder," Gilman said in a statement.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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