As cannabis continues to be legalized across the U.S. and becomes more
and more accessible for people and patients alike, it is important to
understand how this drug can impact mental health. Research has shown
a strong connection between regular cannabis use and mental health problems.
Some of the mental diseases associated with cannabis use:
Those Already at Risk Face Increased Threat
While it may not necessarily be proven that cannabis use directly causes
a person to develop a psychosis disease like schizophrenia, evidence does
suggest that the drug triggers mental disease in those that are already
at risk. That means they may experience psychosis earlier or show stronger
symptoms than they would have without ever using cannabis. Especially
when cannabis is used heavily, it can double the risk of schizophrenia
in those who are already vulnerable according to studies. In fact, heavy
use of cannabis at a young age is associated with a six-fold increase
in risk for developing schizophrenia.
Does Cannabis Use Lead to Depression or Anxiety?
While there is a much clearer link between cannabis use and aggravated
schizophrenia, the connection to common mental health disorders like depression
and anxiety isn’t as clear. In some cases, cannabis may be used
by some to attempt to relieve the symptoms of these conditions. While
it may temporarily help with surface level symptoms, studies indicate
that regularly smoking cannabis can actually make depression worse for
those struggling with it. People that use cannabis have reportedly had
increased levels of depression compared to those who did not use it. Heavy
use can lead to depression later in life as well.
Some of the symptoms associated with regular cannabis use are connected
to anxiety, such as panic. However, there isn’t necessarily any
evidence (better to say: there is limited or minimal evidence, as I am
sure it is associated with anxiety effects in mice which can serve as
some evidence) pointing to cannabis as an aggravating factor or cause
of anxiety disorders like panic disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Anyone who may have a family history of mental health disorders should
avoid smoking cannabis, as this can certainly play a factor in earlier
or aggravated symptoms. Further, those who start regularly and heavily
using cannabis as young adolescents are at far greater risk for experiencing
mental health problems and disorders. Even when disorders do not develop,
memory problems and concentration issues may develop.
Those who already have a psychotic illness and use cannabis may experience:
- Increased or worsened symptoms
- More delusions or hallucinations
- Higher likelihood of hospitalization for psychosis
- Regular treatment becomes less effective
- More difficult recovery from psychotic episodes
If you have used cannabis regularly and begin to feel symptoms of anxiety,
depression, schizophrenia, or any other mental health disorder, it is
important that you get professional help right away. Therapeutic Solutions
offers unique, proven programs that help patients restore balance to their lives.