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Tracking real-time changes in anxiety/ depression among Florida cannabis consumers using Releaf App and exploring user demographics connected to relief outcome.

Tyler Dautrich
Releaf App

Co-authors: Nathan Pipitone1, Martha Rosenthal1, Kelly L. Schuller1, Benjamin Banai, Jessica Walters 1Florida Gulf Coast University

In recent years, scientific attention has increasingly focused on the therapeutic effectiveness of cannabis use for a wide variety of physical and mental ailments. One-third of Americans will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, and over 20% will suffer from major depressive disorder. Traditional pharmaceutical treatments for depression and anxiety may be problematic, due to their relatively low efficacy as well as their potential for abuse.

As such, medical cannabis—now legal in some form in over 70% of U.S. states—has attracted interest due to its potential to alleviate symptoms of both conditions. Surveys of medical cannabis users across the United States have shown that relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression are among the most common reasons cited by patients for using medical cannabis.

Recently, smartphone technology has facilitated the collection of large amounts of data from cannabis users. One popular smartphone app—Releaf App™ technologies—has been used worldwide by researchers, healthcare professionals, and cannabis product manufacturers to collect data on the performance of legal cannabis and hemp-derived CBD products.

The present study used the Releaf App to review the self-reported experiences of cannabis users in Florida, with a focus on understanding how cannabis may impact anxiety and depression symptomology. Over the last three years, several hundred Releaf App users from the state of Florida provided anonymous, real-time reports of their symptoms of anxiety and/or depression immediately before and after a cannabis use session.

Changes in symptomology, gender, age, method of consumption, and dose amount were analyzed. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze the data. After controlling for symptom levels before sessions, cannabis consumption significantly reduced anxiety/depression symptomology for the majority of participants, with higher relief for depressive symptoms. Doses and method of consumption also significantly predicted symptom reduction, but gender and age did not impact findings. We also explore user demographics among those who reported positive relief (70%), no relief (25%), and negative relief (5%) outcomes.

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