Why can't I combine antidepressants and weeds

Hemp therapy: Cannabis doesn't seem to help with depression

Cannabis is still an illegal intoxicant today, but is now also a permitted drug. Doctors may prescribe it to seriously ill people in exceptional cases. This is possible in the form of dried flowers or extracts as well as medicinal products with the active ingredients dronabinol and nabinol if there is "a not entirely remote prospect of a noticeable positive effect on the course of the disease or on serious symptoms". That's what the law says. However, an analysis of several studies now suggests that cannabis substances do not help against depression or anxiety disorders.

For 25 years there has been intensive research into therapy options with cannabis. It is true in principle that the remedies do not cure, but at most can alleviate symptoms. But the prospect of being able to successfully combat cramps, inflammation, anxiety and nausea with the help of the drug is enough motivation for many. Of particular interest are medical cannabis and two ingredients, the cannabinoids cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the latter also include the artificially created chemical compounds dronabinol and nabinol, which are available in Germany at the expense of health insurance companies.

No recommendation possible in the case of mental disorders

But in which cases do the cannabinoids actually help? A team of researchers from the Australian National Drugs and Alcohol Research Center at the University of New South Wales verified this in 83 studies. The result: "There is a lack of evidence that the substances in the hemp plant improve the lives of people with depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders, Tourette's syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder or psychosis," write Nicola Black, Emily Stockings and their colleagues in the magazine TheLancet Psychiatry. Also, there is only poor quality evidence that pharmaceutical grade THC - with or without CBD - leads to a slight improvement in symptoms in people with anxiety disorders who have other medical problems.

Background: cannabis

Background: cannabis

The cannabis plant is one of the Hemp plantsn (Cannabaceae) With psychoactive agentsconsumed as hash (dope, shit) or marijuana (weed).

Hashish and marijuana are used in Germany mostly smoked. Consumers mix the crushed substances with tobacco into one joint or stick. Hashish is also smoked from special pipes. Occasionally hashish becomes too drinks such as added tea, eaten with or in yogurt Cookies baked in. Some use it rather seldom Hashish oilto drizzle on cigarettes or add to food and drink. Cannabis has a millennia-old tradition as Useful and medicinal plant and is one of the oldest known intoxicants. (Source: German headquarters for addiction issues)


The high occurs relatively quickly with cannabis use. Its effect on the psyche depends considerably on the dose, depending on the dose Basic mood of the consumer. Basically, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in hemp reinforces already existing positive or negative feelings. Acutely, cannabis can die Raise mood. It works depending on your emotional state relaxing, calming and promotes inner balance. This usually reduces the drive. But more intensive ones are also possible Sensory perceptions and increased communication skills.

There are undesirable side effects Thought disorders, illusions and an unusual perception of circumstances and contexts. Atypical for consumers are depressed mood, restlessness, fear and panic. Few are disoriented and confused. Persecution fantasies are also rare.


Acute risks are mainly the consequences during intoxication. Here you can Ability to concentrate and react Be reduced, consumers also process information more slowly, have difficulty thinking abstractly, are physical and psychological less efficient. That's why they can no longer roadworthy be. It is important for the risks whether someone takes cannabis once, occasionally or regularly. Those who smoke weed as a youngster risk long-term mental changes and addiction.

Consequential damage

The physical consequences of cannabis use are relatively rare and usually not very pronounced. However, it contains smoke from cannabis Pollutantsthat can cause lung and bronchial diseases. In addition, there is a strongly harmful effect on health if you Mixing cannabis with tobacco and consumed. In individual cases it can also Cardiovascular and hormonal disorders come.

More serious are the potential emotional and social repercussions for people who use cannabis regularly. Very early and regular use among teenagers can Developmental disorders cause. Consumers are sometimes unable to develop permanent personalities. Psychological and cognitive damage, lack of concentration and depressive disorders right up to Psychoses are known and often documented consequences of heavy and regular marijuana and hashish consumption. This can too psychologically dependent do. However, only a small proportion of cannabis users are affected by this.

The research team evaluated publications that appeared between 1980 and mid-2018. In addition, Black and Stockings had reviewed ongoing research pending publication. The majority of the studies found useful dealt with depression and anxiety disorders. However, Tourette's syndrome, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorders and psychoses were also discussed. In total, there was information from around 3,000 patients - more than 80 percent of whom had been diagnosed with depression.

"There is insufficient evidence to provide guidelines for the treatment of mental disorders with cannabinoids," the team therefore wrote in its conclusion. Further, high-quality studies are necessary that examine the effect directly. "Health professionals and consumers should be aware of the little evidence of the effectiveness and potential risks of side effects," it said.

Help especially with pain or loss of appetite

However, doctors have long been using cannabinoids not only to alleviate the consequences of mental illness. As far as we know, the substances can, for example, help patients with chronic pain in multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, rheumatism and cancer. They can stimulate the appetite in people who have anorexia, as well as in those who have lost weight because of HIV / AIDS, cancer, or Alzheimer's disease. And patients who received cannabinoids during chemotherapy reported less nausea and vomiting (Deutsches Ă„rzteblatt International: Grotenhermen et al. 2012 and Pharmacological Review: Pacher et al. 2006).

Because such study results are considered convincing, seriously ill patients in Germany were given easier access to cannabis and cannabis extracts as drugs with the Federal Law Gazette of March 2017. Since then, it can be prescribed at the expense of health insurance. The health insurance companies have to agree to this. According to the law, the prerequisite is that all common therapies have been exhausted. Before the change in the law, the statutory health insurers only paid for the expensive therapy in individual cases.



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Originally, legislators and health insurance companies expected almost 700 patients per year who need cannabis therapy. However, the demand is significantly greater. A survey by the largest statutory health insurances Techniker, Barmer and AOK-Bundesverband showed in early January 2018 that their policyholders had submitted 13,000 applications for hemp therapy in the first ten months alone. Around two thirds have been approved.