By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s new research results about marijuana’s effects on our mental health that may contradict some popular beliefs.

Marijuana and CBD products are seeping into the mainstream. With some states legalizing and more on the way, it’s clear the space is growing — and there’s money to be made.

“There’s a lot of advertising out there saying cannabis is safe — much safer of course than alcohol or any other substances,” said Dr. Tim Portinga with the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic. “And, ‘Don’t you want to relax? Don’t you want to be free from your stress?'”

But as a blanket statement, it’s not true, Dr. Portinga said.

A new research review by the Lancet Psychiatry journal agrees, concluding that there’s not much evidence that suggests cannabinoids can improve things like depression, anxiety, ADHD or PTSD.

The results contradict a popular cultural belief.

“In my own mind, I would like the public to wait for the science to catch up rather than to base their opinions on what they’re seeing in popular press,” Dr. Portinga said.

The research analyzed results from 83 studies which included both prescribed and black market products. One area where cannabis use was proven to be helpful was in relieving chronic physical pain. But for mental disorders or depression, Dr. Portinga suggest sticking to proven treatment methods — therapy and sometimes medication intervention.

“We know that mental health work is successful, particularly with depressive and anxiety disorders, approaching 75 percent for people that do good,” Dr. Portinga said.

Masking deeper mental issues with a cloud of cannabis smoke is still an unproven solution.

“[It’s] much better to deal with it and face it head on. Get the therapy work. Get the medical help that you need,” Dr. Portinga said.

Erin Hassanzadeh

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