Mental Health and Marijuana

Mental Health and Marijuana

Marijuana is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs in the United States. It is popular among a variety of age groups and across sexes and income groups. It is also one of the more researched recreational drugs. As legalization continues in many states, usage rates may increase in the coming years.

There is still a great deal of debate surrounding the medical benefits of marijuana and where and when it should be taken. Although it may have medicinal uses, it is important that users are aware of the negative impacts that marijuana can have on various aspects of your health. In particular, marijuana is linked to a variety of mental illnesses- although it is still uncertain if it causes them. Chronic use can put you at risk, so it should be done with caution.

 

Careful When You’re Young

Marijuana has a very complex relationship with the brain, and working out when it can be beneficial remains an intense area of research. However, there is general agreement that chronic marijuana use as a teenager is risky, and there is some research that it can impact cognition and learning on the long-term. Especially as teens enter high school and move on to college, marijuana may not be worth the risk.k

 

Knowing What Is Causing What

Marijuana is linked to people with higher rates of mental illness. However, there is still debate about what is causing what here. Are those with mental illness drawn to marijuana to help with their symptoms, or is marijuana itself causing mental illness? There is little question that those with mental illness will use marijuana to self-medicate. However, research does seem to indicate that marijuana can lead to depression in some cases, although much more research is needed.

Although marijuana may not cause mental illness per se, it is often not a great treatment option. Like alcohol, it can treat symptoms of depression and anxiety, but is not recommended as a long-term solution, and can cause more problems than it solves. There is also some evidence that it can lead to an increased risk of psychosis in some users, and some studies have linked teenage use to suicidal thoughts.

That being said, there may be cases where treatment with cannabis could be beneficial. However, self-medication is usually advised against. If smoked, it can be hard on your lungs, leading to an increased risk of bronchitis and lung cancer. And doses tend to be inconsistent and abuse is common. Speak with your doctor about your cannabis use and work to develop a treatment plan appropriate for you.

 

Caution Is in Order

Over the years, marijuana has often been blamed for much more than it should have been. As research continues to unearth more potential benefits of marijuana, there could be a time when it is established as an effective medical option. However, self-medication is still advised against. For mental health, there are many other options that are more effective.