Alcohol and Cannabis Used to Cope with Depression

Internalizing Symptoms and Cannabis and Alcohol Use- Between- and Within-Person Risk Pathways With Coping Motives

In Summary

The American Psychology Association recently shared research demonstrating how individuals use alcohol and cannabis to cope with depression. Between and within-person analysis demonstrated that those who abused alcohol to cope with their depression demonstrated increased alcohol coping habits 12 months later and worsened depression symptoms. Although those patients who utilized cannabis to treat their depression maintained that use at the 12-month check-up their depression they did not report worsening depressive symptoms or increased cannabis use. Further research is needed to determine the validity of cannabinoids as an efficient treatment method for depression and to development of coping-related interventions for those abusing substances. 

This article also highlights the relationship between cannabis and social anxiety as well as alcohol and social anxiety. Cannabis products are frequently recommended for anxiety, specifically the most popular non-psychoactive component, cannabidiol (CBD). The featured article focussed on cannabis as a whole which includes ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most abundant psychoactive component of cannabis, which has been known to exacerbate feelings of anxiety. When studying the relationship between cannabis use and anxiety-related disorders it is important to study each cannabinoid separately for their effect because they operate so differently within the endocannabinoid system; then move on to examine whole cannabis effects as cannabinoids and other chemical compounds produced by cannabis plants are able to interact with each other and produce an entourage effect. 

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDAlcohol and Cannabis Used to Cope with Depression

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