Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology - Florida School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Kathie Bates, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Eric Rosen, Ph.D.


Individuals with posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depressive disorders are currently being prescribed medical marijuana as a treatment in many states across the United States. However, marijuana is still considered a schedule one narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal government, which provides several barriers and challenges to conduct research such as approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and following guidelines from the National Institute on Drug Abuse issued by the DEA. Additionally, individuals prescribed medical marijuana for mental health disorders are not always thoroughly instructed on the type of medical marijuana, the dosage, and how frequently to use marijuana. This literature review’s objective was to understand what mental health symptoms medical marijuana treats and what factors indicate medical marijuana is a suitable treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. Cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol have been found to contribute to an acute reduction in both posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety symptoms, although long-term efficacy is still unclear. Results have varied with depressive disorders regarding the successful reduction of depressive symptoms. Conversely, studies have shown that medical marijuana and recreational marijuana use may exacerbate depressive symptoms and psychosis, and tetrahydrocannabinol-based medical marijuana products may not be best suited for individuals with a history of substance abuse due to potential habit-forming qualities. In addition, medical marijuana can have an impact on the concentration of psychotropic medications. Studies to date have indicated that medical marijuana’s effective dosage for treatment may differ across individuals depending on the disorder, individual factors, prior marijuana use, and time relative to experience symptoms.