Dr. Cohen: Cannabis use may be linked to clinical depression

Jul 10, 2023, 1:24 PM

cannabis depression...

Co-founder Tanner Mariani looks over bags of marijuana buds that fill the showroom of the Portland Cannabis Market in Portland, Ore., on March 31, 2023. Oregon, which has huge stockpiles of marijuana, should prepare for the U.S. government eventually legalizing the drug and position the state as a national leader in the industry, state auditors said Friday, April 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

A new study says that people who have previously been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder are twice as likely to later have clinical depression.

The research came out in the Journal of American Medical Association.

The study, based in Denmark, examined more than six-million people.

Dr. Gordon Cohen, appearing on Seattle’s Morning News, said cannabis use disorder is defined as “craving [cannabis], using it more often than intended, spending a lot of time using it, and having it interfere with friends, family, and work.”

More from Dave Ross: Seattle Police are stopping crimes we don’t even know about

Cohen said the study not only links cannabis use to clinical depression, but also bipolar disorder. He said the real issue is what is the cause and what is the effect.

“It’s a chicken and egg question. Are the people who have cannabis use disorder people who were already having symptoms and were trying to self-medicate by using cannabis? Or was the cannabis causing them to either speed up the development of these psychiatric disorders? Or was it causing them?” Cohen pondered.

He said that can’t exactly be answered by this type of study, but the suspicion of the investigators is that there was a relationship between actually using cannabis excessively and the development of later psychiatric disorders.

“Now, there’s cannabis that has such high concentrations of THC that you can’t even really compare what’s going on now to what was being used 20 years ago,” Cohen explained. “So it’s made studying this challenging, and that’s why this most recent study is interesting. Because it does give a longitudinal perspective that would take all of this into account.”

KIRO Newsradio’s Dave Ross asked Cohen: “So can your doctor tell you if you have a problem? When you get an annual physical, they do a blood test. If you had a problem with [cannabis], would that show up in your blood workup?”

“It wouldn’t. You’d have to do an actual toxicology screen on the blood to look for it,” Cohen said. “One of the challenges with THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, is that it’s fat soluble, and so it stays in the body for a very long time. So somebody could be using it recreationally or could have used it recreationally a month or two ago, and they could still test positive for it even that much later.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Seattle's Morning News

burien camping ban dehumanize homeless...

Colleen O'Brien

O’Brien: The battle against dehumanizing the homeless

Of the news topics we cover at KIRO Newsradio, homelessness is at the top, and I get why, I grew up here, too.

5 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Tokitae’s remains finally return to Pacific Northwest after 50 years in captivity

The ashes of the southern resident killer whale Tokitae arrived in Bellingham Wednesday. KIRO Newsradio’s Heather Bosch tells the story of the killer whale who finally returned to the Pacific Northwest after 50 years in captivity. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekdays from 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or on-demand […]

6 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Why does Washington State ranks as one of the most expensive states to raise kids?

Micki joins Seattle’s Morning News to discuss why Washington state ranks as one of the most expensive states in the country to raise a family. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News, weekdays from 5am to 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm!

7 days ago

Seattle drug laws...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Will the Seattle City Council do its job and pass a drug law?

Will today finally be the day the Seattle City Council does its job? Will today finally be the day the Seattle City Council does the bare minimum?

8 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: How did the Seahawks bounce back and beat the Detroit Lions?

Gee Scott joined Seattle’s Morning News this morning to discuss the Seahawks, and how they achieved their bounce back win over the Detroit Lions!

9 days ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: Which type of apple is best? We did a taste test live on air to see for ourselves!

With Fall here it’s now apple season! But which apple tastes the best? We did a live test on air to see for ourselves!

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Dr. Cohen: Cannabis use may be linked to clinical depression