Reductions in cannabis use are associated with improvements in anxiety, depression, and sleep quality, but not quality of life

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017 Oct:81:53-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.07.012. Epub 2017 Jul 29.


Aims: This study examined the longitudinal association between reductions in cannabis use and changes in anxiety, depression, sleep quality, and quality of life.

Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted based on data from a cannabis use disorder medication trial in 302 adults (ages 18-50). Changes in symptoms of anxiety and depression, sleep quality, and quality of life were assessed in relation to changes in cannabis use during the 12-week trial of treatment.

Results: Based on the slope of individual cannabis use trajectory, the sample was classified into two groups (Cannabis Use Reduction, n=152 vs. Cannabis Use Increase, n=150) which was included as a binary covariate in subsequent modeling. Controlling for demographics (age, gender, race/ethnicity), treatment condition, and time-varying tobacco and alcohol use, separate latent growth curve models showed a significant association between the Cannabis Use Reduction group and improvement (i.e., lower values in slope) in anxiety (β=-0.09, SE=0.04; p<0.05), depression (β=-0.11, SE=0.04; p<0.01), and sleep quality (β=-0.07, SE=0.03; p<0.05) over the observation period, but not in quality of life.

Conclusions: These results indicate a longitudinal relationship between reductions in cannabis use and improvements in anxiety, depression, and sleep quality. Clinicians treating patients with co-occurring cannabis use and problems with anxiety, depression, or sleep quality should attend to cannabis use reduction as a component of treatment.

Trial registration: NCT01675661.

Keywords: Anxiety; Cannabis use disorder; Depression; Quality of life; Sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / administration & dosage
  • Acetylcysteine / pharmacology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / therapy*
  • Marijuana Use / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep* / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Acetylcysteine

Associated data