Cannabis use and depression: Are the two connected?


The Mirror

In 2018, 44 percent of seniors and 33 percent of sophomores in high school said they had smoked marijuana during some point of their lifetime. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 1.9 million adolescents ages 9-17 have been diagnosed with depression. Researchers from the University of Oxford and Montreal’s McGill University have released a new study stating that teenagers who use cannabis have a much higher chance of developing depression.

The study showed that by using cannabis before the age of 18, the chance of developing depression in young adulthood increases by 37 percent. Along with studying the link between cannabis and depression, researchers looked at whether cannabis caused anxiety or suicide attempts. An increased risk of developing anxiety was found in cannabis users, but an exact number was not found. Individuals who used cannabis during their teenage years were found to be three times more likely to attempt suicide.

Although the link between cannabis and mental illnesses has been found to be strong, nothing can be officially proven because to obtain the data, research would have to be conducted on youth, something that has been said to be unethical.

Rachel Bohnsdahl, a nurse, said, “There is always a new phase of drug use that is extremely popular among the youth. In this generation, that drug seems to be cannabis. In the 1970s hallucinogens were the popular drug of choice. LSD, PCP and acid were all commonly known during that time. Everything comes in waves of popularity.”

Why do the youth of this generation find cannabis to be the drug of choice? Why are LSD and acid not as popular as they were in the 1970s? Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) student Raven Poeske said “Because it [cannabis] removes teenagers from their daily life and it allows them to feel some excitement in what they think to be a boring, sad life. Teenagers also tend to avoid LSD and acid because we know the negative effects that those drugs have on the body. There is not as much negative research about cannabis so many people think of it to not be terribly bad for the body.”