Smoking cannabis in your teens IS linked to depression in later life: Major study reveals drug ‘damages children’s brains’ and half a MILLION adults could avoid mental-health disorder if they had turned down marijuana
Smoking cannabis in your teenage years raises the risk of depression and suicide in later life, a landmark new study has found.
Researchers from the US and UK have revealed the drug could impair a child’s brain to the extent it triggers mental health disorders later in life.
In the largest research of its kind, experts from Oxford University and McGill University estimated that over half a million adults in the UK and US could be saved from mental health disorders by avoiding the drug as a teenager.
The teams have now warned that cannabis, legal in several US states and used by millions of young people is a significant public health risk with ‘devastating consequences’. They have urgently called for officials to make tackling use of the drug a priority.
The link between depression and juvenile cannabis use has in part been attributed to the increased strength of marijuana on the streets today – as opposed to the relatively mild strains available in the 1980s and 1990s,
‘It’s a big public health and mental health problem, we think,’ co-author Professor Andrea Cipriani, from the University of Oxford, said.
‘The number of people who are exposed to cannabis, especially in this vulnerable age, is very high and I think this should be a priority for public health and the mental health sector.’
The researchers, at McGill University and the University of Oxford, analysed data from 11 studies involving more than 23,000 individuals.
The study, described as the largest meta-analysis to date in this field, included teenagers who had used cannabis at least once before the age of 18.
About seven per cent of cases of adult depression may possibly not occur if teenagers stopped smoking cannabis, according to the study published in journal JAMA Psychiatry.
This means at any one time up to 60,000 cases among 18 to 34-year-olds in the UK and 400,000 in the US could be attributable to use of the drug during adolescence, they suggest.
However, a link was not found between cannabis exposure and anxiety in adulthood. Read more