In light of the evolving legal framework surrounding marijuana in various states, employers must pay attention to the latest research findings concerning this substance. While a common perception exists that marijuana can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, it is crucial to acknowledge that the association between marijuana and anxiety is a subject under ongoing investigation. Current data suggests that marijuana may not deliver the anxiety-relief benefits as often depicted in promotional marketing for the drug.
Anxiety is a prevalent condition, and several states have recognized it as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana cards. However, recent research, including a 2020 study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, has shown that cannabis use is significantly associated with an increased likelihood of developing anxiety conditions. Moreover, a 2018 review in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry revealed that recent cannabis use was linked to more severe symptoms in individuals with anxiety and mood disorders.
In 2021, a thorough review of 24 studies examining the correlation between cannabis use and anxiety underscores the complexity of this relationship. Quantitative analysis of 10 of these studies demonstrated an elevated risk of developing any anxiety condition due to cannabis use.
While the evidence suggests a long-term risk of anxiety associated with cannabis use, the diverse study designs and outcomes make it challenging to definitively declare a causal relationship. Therefore, it is vital for employers to consider this information and to stay informed about ongoing research in this area as the relationship between marijuana and anxiety continues to be a subject of ongoing study and evaluation.
- Mammen G, Rueda S, Roerecke M, Bonato S, Lev-Ran S, Rehm J. Association of Cannabis With Long-Term Clinical Symptoms in Anxiety and Mood Disorders: A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies. J Clin Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 5;79(4):17r11839. doi: 10.4088/JCP.17r11839. PMID: 29877641.
- Petersen, A., & Wernau, J. (2023, October 26). Taking Cannabis For Anxiety Probably Isn’t Helping. WSJ. https://www.wsj.com/health/wellness/anxiety-medical-marijuana-treatment-4bfd2cc3
- Urits, I., Gress, K., Charipova, K., Li, N., Berger, A. A., Cornett, E. M., Hasoon, J., Kassem, H., Kaye, A. D., & Viswanath, O. (2020). Cannabis Use and its Association with Psychological Disorders. Psychopharmacology bulletin, 50(2), 56–67.
- Xue, S., Husain, M. I., Zhao, H., & Ravindran, A. V. (2021). Cannabis Use and Prospective Long-Term Association with Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies: Usage du cannabis et association prospective à long terme avec l'anxiété: une revue systématique et une méta-analyse d'études longitudinales. Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 66(2), 126–138. https://doi.org/10.1177/0706743720952251