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Study Reveals Efficacy of Medical Cannabis in Treating Depression

Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a common and serious mental health condition characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in activities. It affects millions of people worldwide and can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life.

In a recent study titled "Medical Cannabis for Treating Depression: A Naturalistic Outpatient Study," researchers explored the potential of medical cannabis as a treatment for depression. The study followed 59 patients, aged 20 to 54, who had previously been treated with medication for MDD. Conducted over 18 weeks in 2021, patients were prescribed cannabis flower via a telemedicine platform provided by Algea for vaporization to alleviate their symptoms.

"Patients reported a clinically significant reduction of depression severity."

The results, published in the study's abstract, were promising. Treatment with medical cannabis led to a significant improvement in depression symptoms, with patients reporting a clinically significant reduction in depression severity. Notably, over half of the patients (50.8%) showed a treatment response with more than a 50% reduction in their initial depression score by week 18. Furthermore, despite concerns, only 22% of patients dropped out after 18 weeks, indicating overall tolerability of the treatment.

Importantly, the study found that concomitant antidepressant medication did not significantly influence the outcome, suggesting that medical cannabis could offer an alternative or adjunctive treatment option for individuals with depression. Additionally, while a third of the patients reported adverse effects, they were not deemed severe, further supporting the safety and tolerability of medical cannabis in this context.

In light of these findings, the researchers emphasised the need for further research to fully understand the implications of medical cannabis therapy for mental health conditions. The study's role in laying the groundwork for future research into cannabis therapy underscores its potential significance in addressing the complex challenges of depression treatment. Overall, Medical cannabis was well tolerated, and the dropout rate was comparable to those in clinical trials of antidepressant medication

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