cannabis on mental health

The Effects of Cannabis on Mental Health: Impact on Anxiety, Depression and Creativity

Understanding the varied effects of cannabis on mental health is crucial, especially when considering its use for therapeutic purposes. This article delves deep into the relationship between cannabis and anxiety, depression, and creativity.

Cannabis and Anxiety: A Double-edged Sword

How cannabis, particularly CBD, can potentially alleviate or aggravate anxiety symptoms.

There’s mounting evidence that cannabis, particularly CBD (Cannabidiol), can help reduce anxiety symptoms. However, this is not a universal experience. For some, especially when consuming cannabis strains with high THC content, the drug may induce anxiety symptoms or exacerbate existing ones.

If your anxiety symptoms seem more pronounced after cannabis use, it’s advisable to:

  • Reduce Consumption: Consider cutting back or reducing the dosage.
  • Recognize Symptoms: These might include constant worrying, irritability, feeling “on edge”, restlessness, sleep disturbances, or concentration difficulties.
  • Physical Symptoms to Monitor: Watch out for dizziness, shortness of breath, and a heightened heart rate.

Cannabis and Depression: A Complex Relationship

Discussing the intriguing link between heavy cannabis use and the onset of depression.

Research has spotlighted the intriguing association between cannabis dependence and depression. Heavy cannabis users frequently get diagnosed with depression. The causality is not fully understood: does cannabis induce depression, or do individuals with depression use cannabis as a coping mechanism?

On a brighter note, cannabinoids demonstrate therapeutic properties akin to anti-depressant medication:

  • Potential Relief: Preliminary studies point to cannabis’s potential in mitigating depressive symptoms.
  • Self-medication: Anecdotal evidence suggests that some depressed individuals benefit from cannabis use. However, it’s essential to remain wary about self-medication due to potential side effects and risks associated with unsupervised consumption.

Cannabis and Creativity: Myth or Reality?

Exploring the widespread belief about cannabis enhancing creativity and what science says about it.

The notion of cannabis fostering creativity is widely accepted in popular culture. However, scientific investigations into this claim yield inconclusive results. Most studies either found no tangible link between cannabis use and creativity or suggested other factors at play, like cannabis users being inherently more open to experiences.

Interestingly, one study pinpointed that while cannabis might make users feel more creative, it doesn’t necessarily enhance their creative abilities.

To genuinely boost creativity:

  • Emotional Well-being: Foster a positive mood and cultivate feelings of happiness and gratitude, as emotional well-being can be a significant creativity catalyst.
  • Childlike Curiosity: Approach problems with an innate sense of wonder.
  • Seek Novelty: Embrace new experiences to foster flexible and innovative thinking.
  • Inspiration Hunt: Engage in stimulating discussions, explore alternative methods, and view problems from unconventional perspectives.

In conclusion, while cannabis does hold potential therapeutic benefits for some mental health conditions, it’s pivotal to use it judiciously and under professional guidance. The relationship between cannabis and mental health remains intricate and is continually evolving with ongoing research.


Heng, Y. T., Barnes, C. M., & Yam, K. C. (2023). Cannabis use does not increase actual creativity but biases evaluations of creativity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 108(4), 635. 

Kowal, M. A., Hazekamp, A., Colzato, L. S., van Steenbergen, H., van der Wee, N. J., Durieux, J., … & Hommel, B. (2015). Cannabis and creativity: highly potent cannabis impairs divergent thinking in regular cannabis users. Psychopharmacology, 232, 1123-1134. 

Minor, K. S., Firmin, R. L., Bonfils, K. A., Chun, C. A., Buckner, J. D., & Cohen, A. S. (2014). Predicting creativity: The role of psychometric schizotypy and cannabis use in divergent thinking. Psychiatry research, 220(1-2), 205-210. 

Li, W., Li, X., Huang, L., Kong, X., Yang, W., Wei, D., … & Liu, J. (2015). Brain structure links trait creativity to openness to experience. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 10(2), 191-198. 

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