By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New research says marijuana is not helpful in treating mental health problems. There hasn’t been a lot of substantive research on using marijuana to treat mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, but the latest science doesn’t find many benefits.

Medical marijuana can be therapeutic for certain conditions like seizures, but it doesn’t appear to be very helpful for mental health issues, according to new research that reviewed 83 studies on medicinal marijuana, synthetic marijuana and marijuana-derived products.

“It also looked at the use of marijuana for the treatment of other psychiatric disorders and found no compelling evidence at this point that marijuana or any of its derivatives are effective treatments for things such as depression, ADHD, Tourette syndrome or post-traumatic stress disorder,” Dr. Brian Barnett said.

The research also covered anxiety and psychosis. It didn’t find any compelling evidence for using marijuana to treat any mental health problems.

Researchers say the study was limited and want larger high-quality research to fully understand if marijuana could be safe or effective to treat mental health problems. Beyond that, experts say people should be aware of the known risks associated with marijuana.

“Although we don’t know a lot about the potential health benefits, we do know about risks which include addiction,” Barnett said. “We’ve seen increases in the numbers of individuals coming to the emergency room as marijuana is becoming legalized in various contexts.

“We also know marijuana is becoming stronger in terms of THC content than it was in the past, which can make for more adverse reactions.”

Doctors say it’s critical to talk to a doctor before self-treating with marijuana or products derived from it because there are certain conditions and medications it can interact with that can cause dangerous side effects.

Stephanie Stahl

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