Marijuana Use in Adolescence Associated with Adult Depression

Marijuana Use in Adolescence Associated with Adult Depression

High school students who use marijuana are at higher risk for drug abuse and other problems as adults, and it may have something to do with the physical aspects of adolescent brains, according to two new studies.

The first study done by Australians followed 1943 people from age 15 to 24 years old. Those who used marijuana were more likely to become dependent on drugs, tobacco, and illegal drugs as adults, and less likely to go to college. Marijuana use in high school also predicted psychosocial problems in adulthood.

The second study , this time from McGill University in Canada, found that laboratory animals exposed to marijuana in adolescence developed symptoms of anxiety and depression as adults. Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, lead author, found that marijuana actually altered two brain chemicals that regulate mood and anxiety in these laboratory rats. Even those rats who were taken off marijuana still had measurable differences in their levels of serotonin and nonrepinephrine.

"Our study is one of the first to focus on the role of biological mechanisms at the root of this influence of cannabis on depression in adolescence," according to Dr. Gobbi, whose study appears in the journal Neurobiology of Disease.

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