Cannabis can have a wide range of effects on our mental health. These range from mild to extreme, and a comedown after using can be tricky to cope with.
In some cases, it can be a powerful tool in treating mental health conditions. However, it is important to remember that it is still not a cure-all. Despite this, meaningful discussion and research is needed to better understand its potential benefits and harms.
Increased risk of psychosis
The impact of cannabis on mental well-being varies from person to person. It depends on the type of cannabis consumed, as well as the amount used and its frequency.
Many people who use cannabis may experience symptoms of psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms can make it difficult for people to function normally. In addition, cannabis can cause anxiety and paranoia.
There is also evidence that the risk of developing psychosis is greater in those who start using cannabis at a younger age. This may be because cannabis affects the brain in different ways at different ages.
It is therefore important to identify which factors influence the relationship between cannabis use and the development of psychosis. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as systematic reviews.
A recent meta-analysis of case control studies found that daily cannabis use was associated with an increased risk of psychosis (ES = 2.93). This risk was greater in those who consumed high potency strains, which contain higher levels of THC.
However, this increased risk was not present in those who had only used cannabis on a weekly basis or for short periods of time. This suggests that the effects of cannabis on the brain might be more gradual than previously thought.
This could be due to the fact that it takes longer for cannabis to be absorbed in the body. This is because it is metabolised more slowly than other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.
Furthermore, this can mean that the effect of cannabis on the brain is not as significant as it would be in someone who is a heavy user of other drugs. This could explain why some studies have found that chronic use of cannabis is associated with a reduced risk of psychosis, while others have found that this was not true.
This has led to speculation about whether there is a genetic connection between cannabis and psychosis. This has been examined by a number of studies, which have shown that there is an association between cannabis use and the rs4680 gene (the COMT Val158Met polymorphism). The presence of this polymorphism in patients with schizophrenia was found to predict an earlier onset of psychosis.
Increased risk of mental health problems in young people
Adolescence is a period of time when many people tend to experiment with drugs, and cannabis use is no exception. However, it is important to understand that adolescent brains are more vulnerable to mental health problems than adults, so using drugs during this stage can lead to a greater risk of developing these issues later in life.
Research into the impact of cannabis on young people has found that regular use of this drug can cause a number of problems, including depression and anxiety. This is because it can affect the way a person thinks and feels, as well as their behaviour.
A recent study also found that regular use of cannabis can increase the risk of suicidal ideation in adolescent users. This is because it can lead to a reduction in mood and make them more likely to act in self-destructive ways.
In addition to the negative impact that cannabis can have on a person’s mental health, it can also affect their physical well-being. This is because it can lead to slowed heart rate, drowsiness and impaired coordination.
Similarly, it can cause weight gain and increase blood pressure. These can lead to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
One of the most common problems associated with cannabis is psychosis, a disorder that can lead to serious mental health consequences. This disorder can be caused by a number of factors, but cannabis use has been linked to an increased risk of the development of psychosis.
This is because the drug can interfere with the functioning of certain parts of the brain, which may result in the development of a psychotic condition. Moreover, the effects of cannabis can last longer than those of alcohol and tobacco, making it more likely that it will affect a person’s mental well-being in the long term.
A recent study conducted in Australia found that regular cannabis use was associated with an increased risk of a variety of mental health problems. This was especially true for those who started using the drug in their adolescence.
Increased risk of dependency
A number of studies have shown that people who use cannabis are at an increased risk of developing dependency on the drug. This dependence can occur in the long term and is a serious health problem.
Those who are dependent on cannabis may find it difficult to stop using the drug or may become addicted to other substances such as alcohol and nicotine. This may lead to a decline in their mental well-being and social functioning.
The increased risk of dependency associated with cannabis can be attributed to several factors including the age at which the person first starts using the drug, the frequency of use and the quantity of marijuana used. There are also physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when the user stops using cannabis such as irritability, restlessness, insomnia and nausea.
This increased risk of dependency can be particularly harmful in young people who are susceptible to psychiatric problems, such as depression. Moreover, there are a number of studies that have shown that regular cannabis use during adolescence is linked to increased risks of early school-leaving, cognitive impairment and psychoses in adulthood.
However, there is a lot of research that has found that the risk of dependency can be reduced by using cannabis in small amounts or by stopping using it as soon as possible. It is also recommended to discuss with family members the risks of using marijuana and how it can be used properly.
Compared to regular cannabis users, those who are dependent on the drug are much more likely to develop other types of addictions and a higher chance of experiencing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. This can be seen in the findings of Blanco and colleagues who compared 34,653 adults in the US to see whether they were at an increased risk of substance abuse and other mental health disorders as a result of their cannabis use.
In addition, the age at which the person first started using cannabis was a significant predictor of whether they were dependent on it within the past year. This was particularly true for females and those who were dependent on it at a high frequency or high quantity.
Increased risk of lung damage
The smoke of cannabis contains a number of harmful chemicals, including tar and carcinogens. Inhaling the smoke from a marijuana cigarette for extended periods of time exposes the lungs to these chemicals. The smoke from a single cannabis cigarette also contains about 50% more benzopyrene and 75% more benzanthracene than that from tobacco cigarettes. These are known lung carcinogens and the deeper inhalations and longer breath-holding of cannabis users mean that they are more likely to be exposed to them than tobacco smokers.
There have been several case reports of large air bubbles appearing in the lungs, usually associated with heavy cannabis use, causing serious complications . In some cases, they may have led to ARDS and other respiratory emergencies. In addition, some studies have shown that heavy cannabis users are more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers of cannabis.
In a recent study, researchers from the University of Otago found that prolonged cannabis use results in over-inflated lungs and increased resistance to airflow. This is different to the effects of tobacco and supports observations from other studies that indicate that cannabis affects the lungs in a different way to tobacco, says lead researcher Professor Bob Hancox.
He adds that the findings are important because it means the effects of cannabis may be different to those of tobacco and other smoked substances, such as alcohol. However, he cautions that it is not yet known why this is the case and that there are other reasons for the effects of tobacco that are not accounted for in these findings.