Marijuana use in teens and young adults linked to mental health issues

Alex Cochran, Deseret News

Researchers in Denmark have worked with the US National Institutes of Health on a study that shows a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia in young people, especially young men – the research adds to growing concerns among health professionals regarding cannabis use among younger generations.

The study was published in the academic journal Psychological Medicine earlier this month. The researchers looked at nearly 7 million people and said: “In conclusion, this study finds strong evidence for an association between CUD and schizophrenia in both men and women, and the magnitude of this association appears to be consistently greater in men than in women, especially in women. those aged 16 to 25.

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In this case, CUD is an abbreviation for “cannabis use disorder”.

The researchers also said they found a strong link between cannabis use disorders and schizophrenia in men aged 21 to 30.

Although cannabis use disorders do not account for the majority of schizophrenia cases, the researchers said they “appear to contribute to a sizable and steadily increasing proportion over the past five decades.”

What is the impact of marijuana on teenagers?

Other research shows a link between cannabis use and mental health problems in younger generations. NBC News said of a Columbia study, “Adolescents who use cannabis solely for recreational purposes are two to four times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders, including depression and suicide, than adolescents who do not use cannabis at all”. Current research shows a correlation, but does not show causation.

Ryan Sultan, lead researcher of the study, said in a press release: “Young people, parents and educators feel that occasional cannabis use is benign. We were surprised that cannabis use had such strong associations with mental health and life problems in adolescents who did not meet the criteria for a substance abuse problem.

Study author Frances Levin said: “Exposing developing brains to addictive substances appears to induce the brain to be more susceptible to developing other forms of addiction later in life.” He said that while teens may turn to marijuana to relieve symptoms of depression, its use will likely exacerbate their symptoms instead of relieving them.

Another study reported by News Medical found that female undergraduates aged 18-21 who used cannabis were “more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and stress”, compared to males who used cannabis. .

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said: “In 2019, 37% of American high school students reported having used marijuana in their lifetime and 22% said they had used it in the past 30 days.” The CDC has also said marijuana use has been linked to mental health issues such as depression and social anxiety – early marijuana use has also been linked to schizophrenia.

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How Does Marijuana Affect Adults?

The younger generations are not the only ones to experience the negative effects of cannabis use.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has stated that while cannabis use is increasing in all adult populations, knowledge of its negative effects is not increasing at the same rate.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there is a risk of addiction, particularly because marijuana currently used may be stronger than previously used due to the overall growth in the amount of THC used. Among its negative effects, it can cause a decrease in IQ, has been linked to mental health problems, and can also help reduce life satisfaction and relationship problems.

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