Teen depression increases risk of cannabis-use disorder

There are people who believe marijuana has beneficial effects on health. There are some who say it isn’t as bad for people as regular tobacco products, and insist it’s just the government controlling the substance for whatever reason. There are even some people who think it is OK for teens to use. The facts say something else.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S., states WebMD. In 2007, 14.4 million Americans aged 12 and older used marijuana in the past 30 days of reporting their use. (Twelve years old!!!) In 2014, 22.2 million Americans aged 12 and older reported using marijuana in the prior 30 days.

Today’s marijuana is more potent. It can be smoked, eaten or drank. But what about those health effects, aside from the facts that marijuana smoke irritates the lungs more than regular tobacco and contains more cancer-causing chemicals, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, marijuana has been linked to a higher risk of being used as a gateway to stronger, more dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine.

The (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects.htm lists a few health risks from marijuana use that should be known and considered:

Marijuana use directly affects the parts of the brain responsible for memory, earning and attention.

Compounds in marijuana can affect the circulatory system and may increase risks of stroke or heart attack because it increases heart rate and blood pressure.

Smoking marijuana can lead to greater risk of bronchitis, cough and phlegm production.

Marijuana users are significantly more likely to develop chronic mental disorders.

Eating foods and drinking beverages containing marijuana is risky, including the risk of poisoning.

About one in 10 marijuana users will become addicted. If they start using before age 18, it becomes one in six.

Using marijuana while pregnant may negatively affect the health of the newborn.

Using can slow reaction time and decision making while driving. (Please don’t use and drive.)

Consider the effects on teens. Last month the University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine (Washington State) released a report of a study conducted in Seattle. In summary, the report says, “Young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.” The study looked at the cumulative effects of depression on youth.

“Cannabis and alcohol are the two most commonly used substances among youth in the United States.”

Depression is very complex. It can be caused by such things as a serious illness, loss of a loved one, a job, a move, conflict with family or friends, some prescription medications. It may involve genetics. Depression also can be caused by substance abuse.

Repeated drug use changes the brain, affecting judgment, decision-making, learning and memory and behavior control. Isn’t it hard enough to get through the teen years without adding drug addiction to the mix? But, if it happens, isn’t it good to know that there is help out there?

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.