Most research experiments on 'emotions and cannabis' are done in the lab, and are therefore not representative of normal-life marijuana effects. Now an at-home user study in Washington State, with over ten thousand medical-marijuana users, has shed genuine light on whether pot is helpful in raising our mood and emotional wellbeing.
A total of 11,953 at-home cannabis sessions were monitored with a special app, 3,151 sessions focused on pot and depression, 5,085 on anxiety, and 3,717 on stress relief. Here's the results:
50% Reduction In Symptoms: Overall, users reported a 50 percent temporary reduction in depression, and a 58 percent reduction in anxiety and stress, in the hours after getting high with pot. Curiously, women experienced a significantly greater reduction in anxiety than men following their use. And different concentrations of cannabinoids seemed to have different effects.
What Worked Best? Users in the study reported that high CBD / low THC cannabis was linked to the largest changes in depression ratings, whereas high CBD / high THC cannabis produced the largest perceived changes in stress and anxiety levels. As one of the researchers stated: "A lot of consumers seem to be under the false assumption that more THC is always better. Our study shows that CBD is also a very important ingredient in cannabis and may augment some of the positive effects of THC."
Depression Note: Even though anxiety and stress seemed to remain improved over a longer time period, there was indication that for some people, depression symptoms return after using pot.
Depression is a terrible affliction that over 20% of our population suffers from regularly - and a combination of cannabis and therapy should be indicated for severe cases. Also - the inclusion of regular while-high guidance such as we're aiming to provide should be of great help.
'Set & Setting' Research: A person's current environment, mood, expectations and so forth (set and setting) do strongly influence the high experience. We hope to have similar research done soon that tests the impact of an improved set and setting (using our High Together and MindfullyHigh Apps) to see how the addition of a mindfulness-based 'set and setting' online moderator will impact a similar study.
If marijuana is to be used to improve one's emotional wellbeing, the whole issue of 'user suggestibility' needs intense scrutiny scientifically, so that users can be better advised regarding how to manage their mindset and environment to their personal advantage.
Except for specific medical concerns, isn't this why people use marijuana - to boost positive affect, to raise our spirits, to brighten our mood? The above research shows that anxiety, depression, and stress can be temporarily reduced by over 50% by using pot on a daily schedule. That in itself is a gigantic statistic, because most prescription mood elevators can't match that figure, and they add all their negative drug side-effects to the equation.
So - what statistics will we get when we include a 'set and setting' variable like our app in the equation? Bring on the research please!
Here's my source article that leads to the actual research paper:
'At Home' Study of Mood & Marijuana