Marijuana and Mental Health

Due to legislative changes in the past few years, the USA is currently taking bigger steps in terms of medical marijuana use than it has for many decades. Even for people who live in states or countries where medical use is not permitted, we hear many stories from people about how cannabis has been a great help to them when dealing with various medical conditions, most commonly those suffering from chronic pain.

Cannabis example, joint

Occasionally there may be some mental health benefits to marijuana too, although the majority of surveys have led to different conclusions. There are links to be found between prolonged cannabis use and depression or even psychosis, which may be very worrying. However, the true effects of marijuana on overall mental health are still a relative mystery.

 

What we do know is that according to data collected in the late 1990s, over half of subjects who suffered with mental health problems also reported problems with substance abuse at one time in their lives. Cause and effect cannot be accurately determined here, but the majority of these mental health conditions were reported to pre-date the substance problem, and not the other way round. This does mean a link between the two is vague at best. Similar results have come out of attempts to link cannabis use to anxiety problems.

 

On the other hand, more recent research has suggested that marijuana use in early life can actually double the risk of developing psychosis or schizophrenia, depending on family history. It is recommended that due to the short term and long term effects of the drug on the brain’s functions, marijuana should not be used by people with a family or personal history of either of these conditions, in case the condition is worsened.

 

In fact, if you find that smoking marijuana has any negative effects on your mental health, you should prioritise your future wellbeing and stop using it entirely. It’s important to be aware of your body’s responses to using any drugs so you can make a sensible decision about whether it’s worth the risk of continuing to use them, and the potential dangers should not be underestimated, even if other people don’t share in your experiences.