Do Smokers and Cannabis Users Have More Depression and Anxiety?

A UCSF study found that those who use both tobacco and drugs are more likely to express anxiety and despair than those who use neither.

The researchers stated that tobacco and cannabis are the most widely used drugs in the world and have increased since cannabis liberalization.

Fewer than 2% of respondents reported using both tobacco and cannabis, whereas over 5% reported using solely cannabis.


Experts in the field of mental health told Healthline that they were not surprised to find a correlation between the use of both drugs and poor mental health. However, they did note that previous research linking smoking and mental health has focused more on anxiety than sadness.


In addition, they pointed out that a large portion of the data was obtained during the COVID-19 epidemic, when additional stresses may have amplified symptoms of anxiety, sadness, and drug abuse.

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Substance abuse, mental health issues, and other co-occurring illnesses are quite common, Hu added. But the causal connection is unclear. Tobacco and marijuana usage may be a form of self-medication for sad people.

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Hu, however, noted that as the drugs' effects wore off, the user's mood actually worsened. He claimed that many people report feeling anxious and that they require marijuana or tobacco to feel at ease.

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According to Healthline, an expert in cognitive behavioral therapy in Oakland named Avigail Lev said the study's findings that smokers are more likely to feel anxiety, sadness, or both seem reasonable.

One possible explanation is that both cannabis and tobacco have the ability to influence one's neurological system and mood, therefore heightening the experience of certain pleasant experiences. Consequently, those who smoke may be more likely to be in emotional pain than nonsmokers.

Tobacco and cannabis use are linked to elevated levels of anxiety and sadness, although the relationship between the two is nuanced. A variety of variables come into play, including the use of self-medication, the brain's tolerance to chronic drug use, and individual variances.

It may have been more challenging for those who were actively taking these substances to cut back or quit. Although the precise impact of the pandemic on mental health and tobacco/cannabis usage is uncertain, it undoubtedly had at least some influence on these metrics.

Read on for the latest information.