Calling Dr. Freud: How Pot Is Revolutionizing Psychotherapy
Dr. Sigmund Freud famously used cocaine. But he also loved marijuana. In a letter to his fiancee about cannabis, Freud wrote: “I take small doses against depression and indigestion and with the most brilliant of success.”
Well, if marijuana is good enough for the father of psychoanalysis, perhaps it generally makes sense for mental health patients. New scientific data suggest that’s the case, which means big bucks for companies that target the nexus of mental health and pot.
The evidence continues to mount that cannabis is revolutionizing psychotherapy, with an increasing number of professionals integrating pot with therapy sessions.
A new report published June 30 in the journal Health Economics found that states with legalized adult-use (i.e., recreational) marijuana have experienced a sharp drop in mental health treatment admissions. The findings are based on data from 10 states that have legalized adult-use cannabis.
The report states: “The results indicate that shortly after a state [legalizes recreational marijuana], they experience a decrease in the average number of mental health treatment admissions. The findings are driven by white, Black, and Medicaid-funded admissions and are consistent for both male and female admissions. The results are robust to alternative specifications and sensitivity analysis.”
The report continues: “There is a clear, immediate, statistically significant decrease in total admissions” after a state adopts recreational marijuana laws, and that the “effect becomes more pronounced as time goes on and remains negative through event year four.”
In the early years following passage, recreational marijuana laws “led to a roughly 37% decrease in total mental health treatment admissions or about 92 fewer admissions per 10,000 individuals in a state.”
The Health Economics report is only the latest is a slew of data that debunks the notion that marijuana is harmful.
A white paper released last year found that youth marijuana consumption had not seen an increase in states that ended pot prohibition, despite the erroneous assertions made by pot prohibitionists that legalization will prompt kids to get hooked on pot.
Paradoxically, it seems that positive examples set by parents and other authority figures who legally and responsibly use weed are achieving the goals that the “just say no” contingent couldn’t achieve. Psychologists suggest that when marijuana is illicit, it becomes more attractive to rebellion-minded teens (hence pot’s enormous appeal to the counterculture during the 1960s).
Pot continues to shed its stigma and enter the mainstream. A New Frontier Data survey released in May 2023 found that more than half of marijuana consumers in legal states got their marijuana from a licensed and regulated dispensary and not the illicit black market (see chart).
The findings showed that “52% of current consumers say their primary source is a brick-and-mortar dispensary and only 6% say their primary source is a dealer” in states that have legalized recreational pot.
According to the survey, “43% of [all] current consumers say that a brick-and-mortar dispensary is their primary source of cannabis, compared to 34% in 2022.” Ten percent of current weed consumers said “their primary source is a dealer, down from 13% in 2022,” the survey said.
The survey goes on to assert: “Interestingly, 29% of current consumers in illicit markets say that their primary source is also a brick-and-mortar dispensary compared to 17% who say they use dealers. This means that, even in illicit markets, consumers are travelling (sic) across state lines to obtain cannabis from a regulated source, as 42% of consumers say they have sourced cannabis from out of state.”
Several bills are pending on the federal level to deschedule marijuana. When will the U.S. Congress finally legalize marijuana nationwide? It’s difficult to pinpoint the timing, especially in the context of bitter political polarization.
However, federal legalization in the U.S. seems inevitable due to the confluence of three unstoppable factors: 1) wider legalization on the state level; 2) growing use and social acceptance; and 3) the evolution of marijuana as a multi-billion-dollar business (with subsequent job generation and tax revenue).
As cannabis companies generate greater revenue and profits, some related equity investments are superb. But many others are not. You need to conduct due diligence.
That’s where my publication, Marijuana Profit Alert, comes in. By applying my proprietary screening methodologies, I pinpoint for subscribers the most attractive plays on the “green rush.” To learn more, click here.
John Persinos is the chief investment strategist of Marijuana Profit Alert.