The combined use of tobacco and cannabis is associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression. This is particularly concerning because tobacco and cannabis are among the most commonly used substances worldwide.
A new study involving experts from the University of California, San Francisco examined the connection between tobacco and/or cannabis use and anxiety and depression. The results have been published in the specialist journal “PLoS ONE”.
Consumer behavior of 53,843 participants analyzed
The team analyzed data from 53,843 participants who were part of the so-called COVID-19 Citizen Science Study and had an average age of 51 years. Tobacco and cannabis consumption in the last 30 days was initially determined based on the participants’ self-reports.
Participants were then assigned to one of four consumption patterns: exclusive tobacco use, exclusive cannabis use, combined use of both substances, and no use at all. The team also examined monthly whether the participants had anxiety or depression.
How many participants used tobacco and cannabis?
Of the participants, 4.9 percent reported the exclusive consumption of tobacco, 6.9 percent reported the exclusive consumption of cannabis, 1.6 percent reported combined consumption and 86.6 percent stated that they did not consume any such substances.
Significantly increased rates of depression and anxiety
It was found that 26.5 percent of participants with mixed consumption reported anxiety and 28.3 percent reported depression. In contrast, only 10.6 percent of the participants who did not consume tobacco or cannabis suffered from anxiety and only 11.2 percent were affected by depression, according to the team.
The researchers explain in a press release that the risk of developing the above-mentioned mental disorders was around 1.8 percent higher for mixed users than for participants who did not consume anything.
It was also found that combined use and also use of cannabis alone was associated with a higher likelihood of anxiety compared to tobacco use alone.
Daily use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes and cannabis was also associated with a higher risk of anxiety and depression compared to non-daily use, the team added.
Tobacco and cannabis are harmful to mental health
According to experts, the use of tobacco and/or cannabis is associated with poorer mental health and well-being, especially when both substances are used at the same time.
No cannabis for mental disorders
A link between cannabis use and general psychiatric symptoms, including depression and mania, was previously suggested in another independent research paper late last month. In this, the team advises people who are prone to mental disorders or who already suffer from them to urgently avoid cannabis consumption. (as)