May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, an important time for us all to reflect on ways that we can improve our own mental health and support others who may be struggling.
We are reminding consumers that unfortunately, the many mental health related claims made by cannabis companies are unsubstantiated. Too often, people look to unregulated cannabis or CBD products to improve their mental health – for too long, consumers have been told that these products can address a variety of mental health ailments, including anxiety and depression.
However, cannabis consumer products have not undergone the necessary scientific testing to prove health claims.
In fact, a recent study showed that there is a correlation between high potency cannabis users and mental health issues. More specifically, users of high potency cannabis have an increased risk of mental health disorders including schizophrenia, as well as substance misuse issues and cannabis use disorder. The impact on mental health can occur sooner than you may think – exposure to cannabis in early pregnancy has now been linked to long-term mental health issues in children.
The New York Times recently highlighted some of negative effects that cannabis use disorder can have on mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Until there is a clear and safe regulatory pathway forward for cannabis, consumers cannot be sure whether consumption will have negative or positive impacts on mental health. This Mental Health Awareness Month, join us in encouraging more clinical research on cannabis’ ability to improve mental health and in the meantime, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website for resources to help address mental health and substance use issues.