JUL 23, 2018 6:52 PM PDT

Cannabis risk awaits young teens with depression

Young people with chronic or severe depression face an elevated risk of developing a problem with cannabis by the time they reach 18, research suggests.

For the new study in the journal Addiction, researchers interviewed 521 students recruited from four Seattle public middle schools. Researchers used data from annual assessments when students were ages 12 to 15 and then again when they were 18.

“The findings suggest that if we can prevent or reduce chronic depression during early adolescence, we may reduce the prevalence of cannabis use disorder,” says lead author Isaac Rhew, research assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

What researchers called “a 1 standard deviation increase” in cumulative depression during early adolescence was associated with a 50 percent higher likelihood of cannabis-use disorder in the study.

During the past decade, cannabis use among adolescents has surpassed that of tobacco. Cannabis and alcohol are the two most commonly used substances among youth in the United States. Researchers cite a previous study showing increases in the prevalence of cannabis-use disorder and alcohol-use disorder in the United States, especially among young adults.

Longitudinal studies of depression and later use of alcohol and cannabis, however, have been mixed. Some show a link, others don’t. Most past studies have assessed adolescent depression at a single point in time—not cumulatively. Further, previous research has measured substance use differently, ranging from initiation of any use to heavier, problematic use.

The study oversampled for students with depressive and/or conduct problems. The researchers were surprised that the prevalence of cannabis- and alcohol-use disorder in the current study was notably higher than national estimates, with 21 percent meeting criteria for cannabis-use disorder and 20 percent meeting criteria for alcohol-use disorder at age 18.

What effect the easing of marijuana laws in Washington state had on the students is unclear. Researchers say it would be informative to conduct a similar study in a state with stricter marijuana laws to understand whether the relationship between depression and later cannabis misuse is similar.

The substance-abuse assessments of 18-year-olds occurred between 2007 and 2010. Washington state legalized medical cannabis in 1998 and its medical cannabis market expanded greatly after 2009, when the US justice department issued a ruling known as the “Ogden Memo.” And in 2003, the city of Seattle made cannabis offenses the lowest enforcement priority for police and the city attorney.

The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as funding from the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute funded the work.

Source: University of Washington

 

This article was originally published on Futurity.org

About the Author
  • Futurity features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The nonprofit site, which launched in 2009, is supported solely by its university partners (listed below) in an effort to share research news directly with the public.
You May Also Like
FEB 24, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis May Lower Chances of Pregnancy
FEB 24, 2021
Cannabis May Lower Chances of Pregnancy
Researchers have found that cannabis use is linked to a reduced chance of getting pregnant among women with a history of ...
MAY 25, 2021
Health & Medicine
Cannabis: Could it Help Chronic Itch?
MAY 25, 2021
Cannabis: Could it Help Chronic Itch?
Chronic itch —clinically known as chronic pruritus — is characterized as an unrelenting sensation to scratch ...
JUN 03, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use in First Weeks of Pregnancy May Affect Brain Activity
JUN 03, 2021
Cannabis Use in First Weeks of Pregnancy May Affect Brain Activity
Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada have found that zebrafish exposed to certain cannabinoids early in ...
JUL 08, 2021
Health & Medicine
Past Cannabis Use No Longer Barrier to Joining FBI
JUL 08, 2021
Past Cannabis Use No Longer Barrier to Joining FBI
Without trumpet or fanfare, the hard line recruitment policy the FBI had held around cannabis use has been changed to be ...
JUL 15, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief in Mice
JUL 15, 2021
Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief in Mice
Cannabis terpenes, the part of cannabis plants responsible for its smell and taste, may be able to relieve pain both by ...
JUL 18, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Genetic Analysis Reveals Cannabis First Grown in China
JUL 18, 2021
Genetic Analysis Reveals Cannabis First Grown in China
Genetic analysis of over 100 cannabis Sativa genomes has revealed that the plants’ wild ancestors likely came from ...
Loading Comments...