Teen Pot Use Linked to Later Depression, Suicide Attempts

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Thursday, February 14, 2019

Teen Pot Use Linked to Later Depression, Suicide Attempts

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on U.S. News & World Report.

Pot may be particularly dangerous for the teenaged brain, a new review suggests.

Not only were those who smoked marijuana more likely to suffer depression and suicidal thoughts, they were also more than three times as likely to attempt suicide between the ages of 18 and 32.

What isn't clear from the review is why. Does marijuana (cannabis) somehow affect the developing teen brain? Or might teens who were later diagnosed with depression or who later attempted suicide have been using the drug to self-medicate?

Regardless, teens and preteens "should avoid using cannabis, as use is associated with a significant increased risk of developing depression or suicidality in young adulthood," the Canadian researchers wrote.

In the United States, pot use is growing exponentially, the study authors noted. Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, the number of people aged 18 to 29 who used marijuana in the past year jumped from almost 11 percent to more than 21 percent.

Among U.S. high school seniors, about 7 percent said they smoked pot daily, according to background information in the report.

In the Canadian review, researchers led by Dr. Gabriella Gobbi of McGill University in Montreal looked through 269 studies to see if there was any link between teen marijuana use and depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. The researchers ended up including 11 of those studies in their final analysis.

There was no statistically significant link between anxiety as a young adult and marijuana use as a teen. However, the odds of developing depression as a young adult were 37 percent higher for those who used marijuana in their teen years compared to those who didn't, the findings showed.

The odds of a young adult thinking about suicide were 50 percent higher in those who smoked pot. The odds of a suicide attempt were almost 3.5 times higher in the pot smokers versus those who didn't use marijuana, the investigators found.

The findings were published online in JAMA Psychiatry.

Source: U.S. News & World Report
https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-02-13/teen-pot-use-linked-to-later-depression-suicide-attempts