Poster: Cannabis May Exacerbate Depression-Attributable Functional Impairment Among Recently Active Depression Cases

Next week (June 17th) I will be presenting a poster based on my PhD dissertation work at the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I will be in San Juan for the CPDD conference from June 14th to 19th.

Poster Session: July 17, 2014
Poster #: 203
Brian J Fairman, James C Anthony; Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan
State University, East Lansing, MI

Aims: Among the suspected health hazards of prolonged cannabis smoking is an increase in the occurrence of a depression syndrome. Clinically significant occupational and social impairments are known to be attributed to depression. We surmise that co-occurring cannabis problems might affect these impairment levels. The aim is to estimate this hypothesized cannabis effect on this facet of the lives of depression cases. 

Methods: After nationally representative sampling and recruitment, computerized self-interviews of the U.S. National Surveys of Drug Use and Health identified depression cases with recent episodes (n=13,743). Depression-related impairment was measured using a modified Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Features of CP were items tapping DSM-IV criteria for cannabis use disorders. Latent variable analysis was conducted in Mplus to regress a continuous depression impairment trait on a CP trait, with covariate adjustments.
Results: One-fourth of these depression cases attributed severe to very severe functional impairments to their mood disturbances, with more pronounced impairments in relationships and social life domains. At higher levels of CP there was greater depression-related impairment (beta=0.2; 95% CI= 0.1,0.3). Findings could not be accounted for by model covariates or by depression occurring prior to cannabis onset (i.e., self-medication hypothesis).
Conclusions: Our evidence points to a more impairment-laden depression with impairments in work, home-life, and social relationships when depression co-occurs with problematic cannabis smoking. Randomized clinical trials with cannabis cessation outcomes may be required to produce more definitive evidence of this possible effect of cannabis problems on depression severity.
Financial Support: NIDA T32DA021129 (BJF); K05DA015799 (JCA).
Click on the link below to download a copy of the poster in PDF format:

Download CPDD 2014 Poster

Hear my commentary for this poster on YouTube:

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