Pot Smoking In Teenage Years Could Lead to Depression and Suicidal Thoughts Later, Study Says

source: Washington Post

While the public has been actively discussing the health effects of marijuana, a newly-published study associated using cannabis as a teen with increased chances of experiencing depression as an adult.

An international research group from McGill University and the University of Oxford, compiled the data and existing evidence from 11 previous studies among 23,317 participants to prove whether usage of marijuana among young people could lead to depression, anxiety and suicidality in their early adulthood.

Based on their analysis, published in JAMA Psychiatry, the researchers concluded that cannabis use during the teenage years was associated with a nearly 40 percent increase in the risk of depression and a 50 percent increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts in adulthood, up to the age of 32. 

Also, the researchers estimated that nearly 400,000 cases of depression in our country could be potentially linked to cannabis use under 18. However, the study does not prove that marijuana used caused depression, its authors warned.

Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a McGill University professor in psychiatry, commented that the main of her work was to fill the gap in previous studies on the link between marijuana consumption and the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts later in life and to help families who are currently dealing with this issue.

Her colleague, professor Adriana Cipriani from the University of Oxford added that they also wanted to investigate the long-term effects of the cannabis use among the teenagers, as the area is still under-researched.

Guohua Li, an epidemiologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, also asserted that the results should be interpreted with caution as its authors screen a small number of previous works on the topic. In his view, they are still sending strong signals to the society as it previous studies confirmed the popularity of pot smoking among the teenagers, suggesting that 20 percent of the US high school seniors were practicing it at least once a month.

Asked to comment on the study, Dr. Antoine Douaihy an addiction medicine specialist and a professor at the University of Pittsburg Medical School, said that we should take the analysis as an alert. In her opinion, people tended to underestimate the associated risks of teen pot use. According to her, cannabis use among teenagers could be problematic as their brain is developing until they turn 22-23.

Looking into your close circle of friends or former classmates, do you see any signs of depression or suicidal thoughts in some of them that you could link to their pot smoking habits as teenagers?