Teen Marijuana Abuse And Depression

Millions of American teens report feeling hopeless and losing interest in everyday activities for weeks at a time. And many of those teens are making a bad situation worse by turning to marijuana and other illicit drugs. Some teens use marijuana to self-medicate, wrongly believing it may alleviate these depressed feelings. Recent studies show that using marijuana can in fact worsen depression and lead to more serious mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and even suicide. Weekly or more frequent use of marijuana can double a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety.1 The majority of these teens who report feeling depressed aren’t getting professional help. They have not seen nor spoken to a medical doctor or other professional about their feelings.2 For parents, this means it’s critical to pay closer attention to your teen’s behavior and mood swings, and recognize that marijuana and other drugs could be playing a dangerous role in your child’s life. Parents of teen girls should also be aware that girls are at a greater risk for depression and drug use. Sources: 1. Patton, GC et al. Cannabis use and mental health in young people: cohort study. British Medical Journal, 325:1195-1198, 2002. 2. 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA, 2007. http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k6nsduh/2k6results.pdf