TUESDAY, June 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — High-potency cannabis is associated with increased cannabis use and problems and an increased likelihood of anxiety disorders, according to a study published online May 27 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Lindsey A. Hines, Ph.D., from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the correlation between cannabis potency and substance use and mental health outcomes in a cohort study. Data on outcomes and exposure were collected from June 2015 to October 2017 from 1,087 participants aged 24 years who reported recent cannabis use.

The researchers found that 13 percent of the participants reported use of high-potency cannabis. Increased frequency of cannabis use, cannabis problems, and increased likelihood of anxiety disorders were seen in association with use of high-potency cannabis (adjusted odds ratios, 4.38, 4.08, and 1.92, respectively). The associations with psychotic experiences, tobacco dependence, and other illicit drug use were attenuated and were no longer significant after adjustment for frequency of cannabis use. No evidence was seen for a correlation between use of high-potency cannabis and alcohol use disorder or depression.

“Providing public health messaging regarding the importance of reducing both the frequency of cannabis use and the potency of the drug, as well as limiting the availability of high-potency cannabis, may be effective for reducing the harms associated with cannabis use,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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