Non-medical marijuana use was associated with poorer depression outcomes and increased suicidal ideation, according to study data published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Researchers collected data on past 30-day marijuana use, depression and anxiety symptoms, and other health data at baseline and 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up from 307 psychiatry outpatients. Regression and growth models were constructed to predict clinical and psychiatry visit outcomes with marijuana use. At baseline, 40.0% of patients reported marijuana use, 28.2% medically and 71.7% non-medically.

Compared with non-users at baseline, patients using marijuana medically had poorer mental (P <.05) and physical (P <.05) health functioning. Patients using marijuana non-medically had higher levels of suicidal ideation (P =.002), worse mental health functioning (P =.015), and fewer psychiatry visits (P =.009) compared with non-users. Patients reporting non-medical use also showed less improvement in depression symptoms (P =.026) and greater levels of suicidal ideation (P =.003) during the study course compared with non-users. Both medical (P =.05) and non-medical (P =.048) marijuana use was associated with higher anxiety levels.

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These data suggest that marijuana use, particularly non-medical use, is associated with poorer depression and anxiety outcomes in psychiatric patients. Therefore, medical marijuana should be prescribed with caution in patients with depressive disorders and non-medical use should be carefully monitored.


Bahorik AL, Sterling SA, Campbell CI, Weisner C, Ramo D, Satre DD. Medical and non-medical marijuana use in depression: longitudinal associations with suicidal ideation, everyday functioning, and psychiatry service utilization [published online July 16, 2018]. J Affect Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.05.065