A Scoping Review of Associations Between Cannabis Use and Anxiety in Adolescents and Young Adults

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2023 Jun;54(3):639-658. doi: 10.1007/s10578-021-01280-w. Epub 2021 Nov 1.


Cannabis and anxiety are both rising issues that impact young people. This review seeks to explore the association between anxiety and cannabis in adolescents and young adults (AYA). A database search was run retrospectively from July 2020 through calendar year 2013. Articles had to present outcomes examining cannabis use and symptoms of anxiety, be written in English, contain samples with ≥ 50% who are age 25 or younger, and be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Forty-seven studies were identified that examined the relationship between anxiety and cannabis use. Twenty-three studies found a positive association that greater anxiety among AYA was associated with greater cannabis use. In contrast, seven studies found a negative association that greater anxiety was related to less cannabis use. And finally, 17 studies found no clear association between anxiety and cannabis use. Further research is needed to better understand the relationship between anxiety and cannabis use.

Keywords: Adolescents; Anxiety; Cannabis; Review; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult