Can Marijuana Cause Depression?

The rising rates of cannabis use and mental health problems have prompted detailed research and discussion whether marijuana use contributes to psychosis. Although extensive studies have focused on severe mental health disorders, like schizophrenia, there is also discussion whether marijuana use is a contributory cause of other common psychotic disorders. Can marijuana cause depression or anxiety?

Can Marijuana Cause Depression?

Cannabis use and depression sometimes will accompany each other, and it happens more often than you think, however, there is little evidence that shows marijuana actually causes depression.

The link between cannabis and other common psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety can be complicated. This is because the drug is sometimes used for the relief of symptoms related to depression and anxiety. However, like any stimulating drug, when the effects begin to wear off, the depression will return, and sometimes it’s worse.

People at Higher Risk

Some studies show that young people who use marijuana exhibit higher levels of symptoms related to depression and anxiety than those who do not. And for adults who combine alcohol and marijuana, the risk increases. A younger age of cannabis use also increases the risk of developing depression and anxiety later in life.

Although studies have shown mixed results, other studies show frequent or heavy use in adolescents and teenagers is related to the development of depression and anxiety disorders when reaching adulthood, and daily users are at the highest risk.

Other Risks in Young People

Can marijuana cause depression in young people? Studies have shown that adolescents who begin smoking marijuana are more at risk for mental health disorders than those who begin using marijuana as adults. This usually also leads to other issues, such as memory lapses, financial difficulties, poor academic achievement, and conflicts both at home/work, and younger women are more likely to experience these problems than men.

Younger people need to be aware of the increased risk for depression, and/or the chances for becoming dependent on marijuana. Anyone who has an existing psychosis, or is having thoughts of suicide, should not be using marijuana at all.

What about Marijuana and Schizophrenia?

Can marijuana cause depression? Though with little evidence, there is a connection between marijuana use and depression. But what about schizophrenia? Is there any connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia?

  • Schizophrenia is a psychosis
    Psychosis refers to a severe mental disorder in which emotions and thoughts are so impaired that people suffering from psychosis loses touch with reality. Schizophrenia is a long term mental disorder that involves a breakdown in the relation between the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors of a person, that results in faulty perceptions, inappropriate feelings and actions, accentuated by delusions and hallucinations.
  • Psychotic episodes
    It has been reported that people who smoke or ingest a high concentration of the active ingredient in cannabis have been experiencing psychotic episodes. Although the symptoms are rare and often frightening, they typically subside over a short period of time. However, there are also reports that show marijuana use causes the symptoms of people who are predisposed to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, to worsen.
  • Will I develop a psychosis?
    Medical experts agree that marijuana can cause schizophrenia, particularly in vulnerable young people. Many studies have found ingesting any form of cannabis during the adolescence years increases the risks of experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia as an adult. Research shows that marijuana ingestion could also trigger bouts of schizophrenia for people who are already predisposed to developing the disorder, although the connection has not been shown to be conclusive.
  • What about having a family history of psychosis?
    Marijuana might also be contributing factor, along with other factors, that may cause schizophrenia. People who are vulnerable includes those who also have a family history of the disorder. Anyone who has a family member diagnosed with an existing mental health disorder is strongly advised against using any form of cannabis, as the risks are too high for schizophrenia.

What Else does Marijuana Do to You?

Can marijuana cause depression? The link between marijuana and depression is somewhat complicated. Apart from that, what else does marijuana do?

The psycho-toxic ingredient in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the most widely used marijuana comes from the plant known as the Cannabis sativa. Many people crush and smoke the plants, but cannabis may also be mixed into foods, such as baked goods and candies, or brewed into tea. However, it doesn’t matter how you ingest marijuana into your system, it can affect your immune system, your nervous system, and every major organ in your body.

Physical Effects

When smoking marijuana, your absorb the THC right away. However, if you consume a baked good or candy item, it could take a lot longer for your body to absorb THC. This is because it has to break down in your stomach first before it can enter your bloodstream, and the effects of marijuana typically last for few hours.

Just remember that smoking marijuana can double your heart rate for up to 3 hours increasing your risk for heart attack. It can also lower blood pressure, and affect your blood sugar levels. Despite the fact that there’s not enough statistical research to determine if marijuana is contributing to lung cancer, marijuana smoke does irritate the lungs, leaving you with a hacking cough, and more prone to chest colds and lung infections. Other effects of cannabis may include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Dry (cotton) mouth
  • Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils
  • Shallow breathing (Tachypnea)
  • Lightheaded
  • Diminished reaction time

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Cravings
  • Feeling grumpy
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
 
 
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