Date of Award

Summer 8-5-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor

Rebecca Weiss

Second Reader

Joshua Clegg

Third Advisor

Joseph E. Gonzales


Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance in the world (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2018). Despite past criminalization, various states have begun to decriminalize cannabis for recreational and medical use; however, research on the effect of cannabis use on mental health is divided. Research on specific mental health disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and cannabis use is lacking. This study aimed to understand whether cannabis use affected individuals likelihood of meeting criteria for GAD by using a nationally representative longitudinal dataset. Results indicated that the inclusion of cannabis use did not explain additional variability in meeting criteria for GAD, suggesting that the relationship between GAD and cannabis use is not a straightforward causal relationship. Secondary analysis indicated history of anxiety or mood disorder and seeking mental health were significant predictors at all levels of GAD. Findings highlight the need to further explore the etiology of cannabis use and GAD.

Available for download on Friday, August 13, 2021