Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Jay Metzger


cannabis, marijuana, anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, major depressive disorder, selective serotonin uptake inhibitors, and serotonin uptake inhibitors


The purpose of this research and literature review is to compare the use of marijuana to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. The safety of marijuana in those with psychiatric disorders such as, general anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder, was also analyzed. The literature review searched databases Cochrane, PubMed, Clinical Key, PsycINFO, and DynaMed Plus. A variety of key terms were used when searching. Studies excluded were due to narrowed sub topics on anxiety disorders or poor design. Due to limited research, the study time frame was extended to studies completed in the last 30 years. The research shows SSRIs continue to be a first line treatment in those with anxiety and depression in reducing symptoms. Patients with marijuana use showed an increased odds ratio of developing anxiety and depression. Also, research showed a correlation between marijuana use and increasing anxiety and depression symptoms. However, no studies were randomized controlled studies and many had limiting factors such as marijuana potency, type, and frequency of use. Overall, more well-controlled longitudinal studies are needed to form a complete association between marijuana effects on anxiety and depression.