Characterization of mental health in cannabis dispensary users, using structured clinical interviews and standardized assessment instruments Yau, Jade C.; Yu, Shu M.; Panenka, William J.; Pearce, Hadley; Gicas, Kristina M.; Procyshyn, Ric M. (Ric Michael), 1961-; MacCallum, Caroline; Honer, William G. (William George), 1957-; Barr, Alasdair M.
Background: Cannabis is commonly used for its medical properties. In particular, cannabis is purported to have beneficial effects on a wide range of neuropsychiatric conditions. Studies assessing mental health in cannabis dispensary users typically evaluate symptoms using self-report check lists, which provide limited information about symptom severity, and whether subjects meet criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis. There is, therefore, a need for studies which assess mental health in dispensary users with standardized and well validated scientific instruments, such as those used in clinical drug trials. Methods: One hundred medical cannabis users were recruited from a community dispensary. All subjects completed a structured clinical interview with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Subjects also completed the Perceived Stress Scale-10, PROMIS Fatigue Scale, PROMIS Sleep Disturbance Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 and the Brief Pain Inventory. Details about cannabis use were also recorded. Results: Lifetime prevalence of mental illness in this cohort was high, and a large proportion of subjects endorsed psychological symptoms. The proportion of subjects who met criteria for classification of a current psychiatric disorder was low for mood disorders, but high for anxiety disorders and substance abuse/dependence. Cannabis use differed between the main psychiatric conditions. Conclusions: The present results indicate that rates of mental illness may be high in medical cannabis dispensary users. Use of structured clinical assessments combined with standardized symptom severity questionnaires provide a feasible way to provide a more rigorous and detailed evaluation of conditions and symptoms in this population.
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