The Link Between Marijuana and Mental Illness

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The Link Between Marijuana and Mental Illness

There has been a rise in social acceptance of marijuana use within the past decade. Eleven states have some form of recreational marijuana, and 47 states allow use for medicinal purposes. It’s not as cut and dry as it may seem, and there are a lot of important considerations when using marijuana regularly. There have been studies that show a link between prolonged marijuana abuse and mental illness. Of course, there are a lot of factors that play a role, including the amount of drug used, the age at first use, and genetic vulnerability.

Adolescents and Marijuana

Most research suggests that using marijuana in adolescence and early teenage years makes one more predisposed to developing a mental illness, with the most common being anxiety and depression. In the most extreme circumstances, psychosis has been linked to early marijuana use. Prolonged, early use also has an impact on how early the signs and symptoms of mental illness will manifest. Adolescence is when many people start experimenting with recreational marijuana use. The implications of this early use can be very serious and long-term. The potency of marijuana also has an effect on mental health. The stronger a concentration of THC, the higher the risk of developing mental disorders.

Marijuana’s Effect on Mental Health

Recent research has suggested people who abuse marijuana and have a certain gene variant are more predisposed to developing psychosis or other mental disorders. Those with the variant, which codes for an enzyme that affects dopamine signaling in the striatum, a region of the brain, are at increased risk of developing psychosis. In fact, the risk was seven times higher than those who do not abuse marijuana. There should be an honest conversation about the effects of marijuana abuse on the brain if there is a push towards decriminalization. Not only can it affect mental health, but also cognitive development and short-term memory. The youth population needs better education on marijuana abuse to make better lifestyle choices.

Of course, more research is needed before any definite conclusion can be drawn about whether marijuana use can cause psychosis, but it’s important to consider the effects of any illicit substance on a person’s body. At Avalon Malibu, we are committed to treating both mental health disorders and addiction simultaneously. If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, now is the time to act. Call us at (844) 857-5992 to learn more about our available treatment plans.

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