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German Patients Report Major Depression Improvements After Cannabis Use

purple cannabis plant flower bud

International researchers estimate that as much as five percent of adults around the globe suffer from depression. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to men, and a diagnosis can happen at any age.

Depressive disorder involves a depressed mood or loss of pleasure or interest in activities for long periods of time, including activities that a patient used to enjoy. Clinical depression, often referred to as major depressive disorder, is a severe form of depression.

Researchers in Germany recently conducted a study involving medical cannabis and patients suffering from major depressive disorder. The results of the study were favorable. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Essen, Germany: The use of medical cannabis products is associated with reduced levels of depression, according to data published in the journal Pharmacopsychiatry.

German investigators assessed medical cannabis use in a cohort of 59 outpatients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). (Plant cannabis and cannabinoid treatments, such as dronabinol, were legalized by prescription use in Germany in 2017; however, such products are typically only authorized when patients are unresponsive to traditional therapies.) Study participants used cannabis products for 18 weeks.

“Mean severity of depression decreased from 6.9 points at entry to 3.8 points at week 18,” they reported. “A treatment response (>50 percent reduction of the initial score) was seen in 50.8 percent [of study subjects] at week 18.”

The study’s authors concluded: “Medical cannabis was well-tolerated and [the] dropout rate was comparable to those in clinical trials of antidepressant medication. Patients reported a clinically significant reduction of depression severity. Further research on the effectiveness of medical cannabis for MDD seems warranted.”

The study’s findings are consistent with recently published data from the United Kingdom, which determined, “Medicinal cannabis was associated with improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as health-related quality of life, and sleep quality after 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment.”

Full text of the study, “Effectiveness of medical cannabis for the treatment of depression: A naturalistic outpatient study,” appears in Pharmacopsychiatry.