(HealthDay) – The point may be particularly dangerous for the teen's brain, shows a new review.
Not only those who smoke marijuana are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts but have also been more than three times more likely to commit suicide between the ages of 18 and 32.
What is not clear from the review is why. Does marijuana (cannabis) in any way affect the developing brain of teenagers? Or maybe teenagers who were later diagnosed with depression or who later attempted suicide had used the drug for self-healing?
Nevertheless, teenagers and children should avoid using cannabis because the use is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing depression or suicidality in young age, "Canadian researchers write.
In the United States, the use of a pot is growing exponentially, the authors of the study noted. Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, the number of people aged 18-29 who used marijuana in the past year jumped from almost 11% to more than 21%.
Among high school graduates in the US, about 7% say they smoke a pot every day, according to the key information in the report.
In the Canadian survey, researchers led by Dr. Gabriela Gobby of McGill University in Montreal, looked at 269 studies to see if there was any link between marijuana use and depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts. Researchers have completed 11 of these studies in their final analysis.
There was no statistically significant link between anxiety as a young adult and the use of marijuana as a teenager. However, the chances of developing depression as a young adult are 37% higher for those who have used marijuana in their teens compared to those who are not, the results show.
The chances of a young adult to think of suicide are 50 percent higher for those who smoke a pot. Chances of suicide attempt were almost 3.5 times higher in smokers than those who did not use marijuana, investigators found.
The findings were published online on February 13th JAMA Psychiatry,
Dr. Harshal Kirene, an addict psychiatrist at New York State University Hospital, examined the findings. He said the country continues to seek to increase access to marijuana, but it is important to be able to determine which parts of the population are most vulnerable to its consequences.
"Individuals have different predispositions as to their vulnerability to marijuana exposure." Many, or perhaps even most, teenagers experimenting with marijuana may have no problems to understand, "he explained.
Kierna said the review could not have a cause-and-effect relationship, but added that marijuana can affect the developing brain. He said there are a number of rodent studies that show that marijuana exposure can disturb how mature the brain processes are.
This review suggests that "marijuana exposure in adolescents potentially poses a risk to mood and suicidal behavior in young people," Kirine said. "From a policy point of view, these are the ones we have to make efforts to protect them."
Paul Armentano, deputy director of a marijuana legalization advocacy organization called NORML, agreed that it is important to prevent marijuana from being used by teenagers and to use common sense measures to restrict adolescence from access to marijuana.
But Armentino added that it is impossible to know from the review what role marijuana teenagers play in depression and thoughts of suicide and attempts at young people. He said it may be that people who are more likely to use marijuana in their adolescence can share similar traits or behaviors with people who are depressed or suicidal.
"It is also possible that those who struggle with such symptoms often turn into cannabis in early life as a form of potential self-healing," Armentino suggested.
Teens smoke in Washington after legalization
Harshal Kierean, psychiatrist and addictive director, addiction services, New York State University Hospital; Paul Armentano, Deputy Director, NORML; February 13, 2019, JAMA Psychiatry, online
Read more about marijuana and teenagers at the American Academy of Pediatric and Adolescent Psychiatry.
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Using a teenage pot associated with later depression, suicide attempts (2019, February 13)
withdrawn on 13 February 2019
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