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Is There a Connection Between Marijuana Use and Mental Health Disorders?

Currently, marijuana is legal in twenty states for medical reasons, and eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. The connection between marijuana and mental health disorders is currently being researched. There is not enough collected data to make a solid connection.

As more states consider legalization, as 57% of American adults support it, the data to make a strong connection is currently being collected. More than half of American adults believe that alcohol is much more harmful to health than marijuana

When Does Using Marijuana Become a Problem?

Making a connection between marijuana and mental health disorders is statistically challenging to prove. The research is just not there yet. The question remains about what comes first, a mental disorder or a marijuana addiction.

Marijuana use disorders affect 3.4% of youth ages 12 to 17. Moreover, 1.5 % of adults 19 years and older have been found to have a marijuana addiction. When does using marijuana, mainly because it is becoming legalized in more states, become a problem?

The following factors could point to marijuana usage being disruptive to lifestyle:

  • Developed chronic marijuana use of large amounts for longer than intended.
  • Unsuccessfully attempted to stop using marijuana.
  • Experienced real cravings to use marijuana.
  • Been unable to perform regular tasks at work, school, or home because of smoking marijuana.
  • Had relationship issues based on behavior and cognitive changes due to smoking marijuana but refused to quit.
  • Stopped participating in their usual hobbies, activities, or social activities because of marijuana use.
  • Continued using marijuana while experiencing physical or mental health problems such as trauma.
  • Developed a tolerance to marijuana.
  • Feel withdrawal symptoms if usage decreases or stops.

It is vital to mention 46.9% of people 19 years and above use marijuana. Researchers have found that within the last year, 23.2% of people with diagnosed mental conditions have used marijuana. 11.5% of adults without mental disorders used marijuana.

But still, people question the connection between marijuana and mental health disorders. Do people who regularly use marijuana recognize the problems the substance use disorder may cause? Researchers believe that two components of marijuana use contribute to a negative impact. The age at which the user began using marijuana is the first.

If before the age of 18, a critical period of brain development, neural connections could have been affected. The second components include the pattern of marijuana usage. How much is used, how often, and how long it has been used are critical factors in how THC has affected the brain’s emotional centers. 

Can Marijuana Cause Mental Disorders?

The connection between marijuana and mental health disorders is not completely clear. The changes marijuana can make to adolescent brain development is not clear. The reward system is affected in the brain, which could incur long-term issues with cognition and memory. There could be a clear connection for those diagnosed with mental disorders. There is evidence on this subject. 

Without stating marijuana causes a mental health disorder, for those who have a diagnosed case of schizophrenia, using the drug could make the established symptoms worse. Psychosis is a risk. For those who may have anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders, the symptoms of these conditions can escalate with marijuana usage. In this case, there is a connection between marijuana and mental health disorders. 

Another connection between marijuana and mental health disorders lies in the proven high rates of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and ADHD in those experiencing a substance use disorder with marijuana. What disorder appeared first is hard to say.

Those experiencing the mental health disorder first stated they used marijuana as a coping mechanism. Other people using marijuana state marijuana helps with the uncomfortable symptoms of their mental disorders, mainly anxiety, and ADHD.

Can Marijuana Treat Mental Disorders?

Personal accounts represent some evidence that using marijuana has been instrumental in relieving their symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and ADHD. In this case, the connection between marijuana and mental health disorders is difficult to prove as a treatment option.

Experiments have been performed on rats, but the data is inconclusive. In states where marijuana is legal as medical marijuana, doctors can prescribe marijuana for mental health disorders if traditional treatment methods are ineffective. Studies on the connection between marijuana and mental health disorders are inconclusive because of the methodology in which researchers recorded data.

However, in 2014 some research pointed toward marijuana putting individuals at moderate risk for developing depression. In addition, some believe marijuana could increase the risk of developing depression, pointing to dropout and unemployment rates. The effects of marijuana are also under debate with treating anxiety with marijuana. It is all inconclusive research. 

Take Control Of Marijuana Use

Until researchers can collect reliable data on the connection between marijuana and mental health disorders, there are some concerns to be aware of. First, treating all mental health disorders is essential for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Consulting a mental health professional and a physician to make a sound assessment is recommended to find a clear path for treatment. Mental health disorders left untreated can result in a substance use disorder.

Secondly, take control of any marijuana use or substance use. If there is the possibility of a substance use disorder involving marijuana, an assessment can clear up any confusion. Again, consulting with a treatment professional, mental health professional, or physician is vital. Someone taking control of their marijuana use will allow them to distinguish whether or not they are experiencing a substance use disorder. 

Find Help Making the Connection with Marijuana Use and Mental Health in Tennessee

No matter how complex the subject may be, confronting the possibility of a substance use disorder with marijuana needs to be addressed. If you are in the position of using marijuana and experiencing depression, anxiety, or any other mental conditions, Freeman Recovery Center in TN can assist in your journey of finding treatment.

Experienced treatment professionals with Freeman Recovery understand your mixed emotions on the connection between marijuana and mental health disorders.

Contact us, and we can discuss how to help you answer your questions and meet your needs. 

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