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The Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression Symptoms in Older Women That Substitute Prescription Medications For Marijuana or CBD

Jocelyn Mueller
University of Central Florida

Co-Authors: Karina Villalba1, Jamia Sapp1, Christa Cook1, Dinender Singla1, Jennifer Attonito2, Robert Cook3
1University of Central Florida 2Florida Atlantic University 3University of Florida

Marijuana and CBD are considered as a potential source to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are growing trends in anxiety and depression patients whether to use marijuana or CBD alone as a therapy or combine CBD with their prescription medications. This study is designed to understand the potential use of marijuana in older women which remains unknown. Additionally, this study aimed to determine whether marijuana or CBD was associated with improved mental health in women between 50 and 64 years old who substituted their prescription medications (e.g., anti-depressants, anxiety). This was an online cross-sectional study evaluating a subset of 258 participants who used either marijuana or CBD in the past 12 months. To compare women who substituted their medication to those who did not we dichotomized the following question “substituted marijuana or CBD for anti-depressants or anxiety prescription drugs” (Yes/No). We used the continuous scores for PHQ8 scale to measure depression and the OASIS scale to measure anxiety symptoms. The t-test was used to measure group differences, and linear regression was used to identify associations between marijuana/CBD use and mental health symptoms. A total of 37% of participants reported moderate to moderately severe symptoms of depression and 46% reported moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety, and 22% substituted marijuana and/or CBD for prescription medication. The mean use for marijuana was 21 days (SD = 65), and CBD was 11 days (SD = 35) per month in the last 12 months. We found significant differences in depression (mean score 11.2 vs. 8.2 p =.001) and anxiety (mean score 8.9 vs. 12.3 p = .001) symptoms in women who substituted prescription drugs reporting worse mental health outcomes compared to women who did not substitute prescription drugs for marijuana or CBD. The linear regression analysis showed a significant positive association between marijuana/CBD use and anxiety and depression (β .32, 95% CI 2.1-4.4; β .19, 95% CI 1.3-4.1, respectively) among women who substituted their prescription medication. It is important to understand the potential effect of marijuana or CBD on mental health treatment and drug prescription substitution.

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