Updated: Sep 26
Guest Author: Ali Taylor of ALIPINKANDGREEN.com
Exploring the Complex Relationship between Cannabis and Mental Health
Before I was disabled, I was a nurse, or more specifically, a mental health nurse. I worked a lot with people suffering from psychosis, many of whom used cannabis for symptom relief. Sometimes it worked to a degree, more often than not, it made them a lot more unwell.
The Evolving Understanding of Cannabinoids
It's worth mentioning I've seen worse when people have taken synthetic cannabinoids. But that was a number of years ago now. Nothing was widely known about the roles, effects, and interactions of different cannabinoids, or the breadth of possibilities in terms of cannabinoid and terpene profiles. We'd know a lot more than we do now if we didn't have successive governments who refuse to commission research or indeed, even listen to their own expert advisers, but still, we know a lot more than we did then.
Cannabis and Mental Health: Dispelling Misconceptions
Fortunately, we'll continue to learn more from the multitude of less backward countries around the globe. Despite the fact that cannabis has been legally available on prescription since 2018 , it continues to be demonized as a plant throughout the media. It's factually misrepresented on a grand scale, and from reading articles about it, you'd still think there are only two cannabinoids (over 100 have been isolated thus far ) and that one of those, THC, is pure evil. No mention of the vast array of physical and mental health symptoms it can actually treat or improve.
The Intersection of Cannabis and Mental Health: Personal Insights
I'm prescribed it for both physical and mental health issues. It's not a miracle cure. My mood is never that good, but being disabled in 2023 isn't much fun to be fair. And I still get neurological symptoms, but for all these things, it still works hands down better than any other medications I've tried.
The Risks and Benefits: Navigating the Landscape
Everything carries risks. Everything. The government's own drug adviser advised them of the huge risk that other legal substances carry comparatively but was ignored. Sacked actually!  It was a different Government and a different Political Party, but the sentiment remains depressingly similar.
Cannabis, Medication, and Personal Agency
Recreational drug use is broadly defined as the use of drugs for pleasure, outside of medical supervision. Now the law has changed, in the UK it would presumably apply to anyone without a prescription. If they are doing so without a prescription, they are likely doing so for the vast array of reasons that people with prescriptions are too.
Advocating for Informed Discourse on Cannabis and Mental Health
I don't know what we do about the misinformation, particularly with regards to mental health, but I do think that louder voices make bigger impacts. If you read misinformation on social, online, or physical media, consider challenging it. Write to them. Educate them. With the former where it's public, you might even change a few hearts and minds on the way.
About the author:
Ali runs a website offering education and perspectives on different aspects of cannabis, Https://alipinkandgreen.com. She started taking cannabis for Cancer, so is one of the many who truly believes that it saved her life.
Department of Health and Social Care (2018) Medicinal cannabis: information and resources. Link
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2019) Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know. Link
Sapphire Clinics (2023) Conditions. Link
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2022) Cannabis and Mental Health for Children and Young People. Link
Tran, M. (October 2009). The Guardian Online. Government drug adviser David Nutt sacked. Link
Department for Transport (2022) Medical Cannabis and Road Safety. Link
Cannabis Industry Council (2023) Trusted Guidance: Cannabis and Driving. Link