Cannabis use increased in depressed individuals, study shows

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The prevalence of cannabis or marijuana use in the United States increased from 2005 to 2017 and was approximately twice as common among those with depression in 2017, according to new research published in the journal Addiction.

The findings come from a survey-based study of 728,691 persons aged 12 years or older.

The prevalence of past 30-day cannabis use among those with depression who perceived no risk associated with regular cannabis use was much higher than that among those who perceived significant risk associated with use, 38.6 percent versus 1.6 percent, respectively.

Certain groups appeared more vulnerable to use. For instance, nearly one third of young adults, 29.7 percent, ages 18 to 25 years old with depression reported past 30-day use.

In 2017, the prevalence of past month cannabis use was 18.9 percent among those with depression and 8.7% among those without depression. Daily cannabis use was common among 6.7 percent of those with depression and among 2.9 percent of those without.

"Perception of great risk associated with regular cannabis use was significantly lower among those with depression in 2017, compared with those without depression, and from 2005 to 2017 the perception of risk declined more rapidly among those with depression,” said corresponding author Renee Goodwin, PhD, MPH, of Columbia University and The City University of New York. “At the same time, the rate of increase in cannabis use has increased more rapidly among those with depression.”