Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark found that chronic marijuana (marijuana) use doubled the risk of depression and quadrupled the risk of bipolar disorder. The research was published in the journal JAMA.
The study’s authors analyzed the medical records of nearly seven million Danes born between 1995 and 2021. All participants were at least 16 years old. Researchers compared the risk of developing mental disorders in ordinary people in people with cannabis use disorder, which is defined as the inability to stop using drugs even if it harms their health and social life.
About 56,000 participants had a cannabis use disorder. 41% of these people were diagnosed with major depression. 14% were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Overall, they were 4.1 times more likely to develop psychotic bipolar disorder and 1.8 times more likely to develop any type of depression.
Bipolar disorder is a condition in which episodes of depression and mania follow each other. The latter is characterized by an increase in mood, initiative and emotional arousal.
The results are consistent with previous studies showing a strong association between cannabis use and depression, but not bipolar disorder. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, is thought to act on cannabinoid receptors and increase the risk of psychosis by disrupting the normal functioning of the part of the brain that processes information and determines behavior.
Recreational use of cannabis is illegal in Denmark, but still available via the black market. The authors of the article noted that their results indicate a need to improve knowledge about the dose-related effects of cannabis use on the brain, cognition, and behavior. The results may influence decisions regarding the legalization of cannabis. The researchers also noted that there is no evidence that stopping marijuana use can reduce the risk of developing a psychiatric disorder.
Barbara Dickson is a seasoned writer for “Social Bites”. She keeps readers informed on the latest news and trends, providing in-depth coverage and analysis on a variety of topics.