Survey: Consumers Most Likely to Self-Medicate with Cannabis to Alleviate Anxiety, Pain, and Depression

Quebec City, Canada: Canadians who consume cannabis for purposes of self-medication most frequently report doing so to address pain, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and depression, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research

Canadian researchers surveyed 489 subjects who purchased cannabis products at adult-use retailers, but who acknowledged doing so to self-medicate. Consistent with prior data, respondents were most likely to report consuming cannabis products to mitigate anxiety (70 percent), improve sleep (56 percent), alleviate pain (53 percent), and address feelings of depression (37 percent). Subjects were also likely to acknowledge using cannabis to alleviate muscle spasticity, migraine, nausea, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress. 

Survey respondents typically reported using cannabis flower and selecting products dominant in THC. However, those respondents that exclusively defined their cannabis use as medical-only expressed a preference for CBD-dominant products. 

In contrast with other surveys, most respondents acknowledged reporting their cannabis use to their health care professionals. 

The results of another recent survey, published in the journal Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice, similarly determined that patients certified to use medical cannabis in the US most commonly do so to treat symptoms of pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and depression. The results of yet another recent survey, conducted by Harris Polling, also found that consumers most often report consuming cannabis to reduce stress, improve sleep, and mitigate anxiety.

Separate survey data compiled in April reported that 21 percent of US Medicare recipients acknowledge consuming cannabis for therapeutic purposes, typically to address symptoms associated with chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. 

Full text of the study, “A description of self-medication with cannabis among adults with legal access to cannabis in Quebec, Canada,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information on the use of cannabis for chronic pain is available from NORML.