“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” said the study’s lead investigator Zach Walsh, Associate Professor at University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Canada.
The study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review is based on a systematic review of research on the medical cannabis use and mental health as well as reviews on non-medical cannabis use.
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However, the review concluded that cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.
“In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points,” Walsh said.
It is important to identify ways to help mental health professional move beyond stigma to better understand the risk and benefits of cannabis, Walsh added.
“There is not currently a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes,” Walsh said.