Home Medizin Studie zeigt, dass Cannabiskonsum mit psychischen Gesundheitsrisiken bei Jugendlichen verbunden ist

Studie zeigt, dass Cannabiskonsum mit psychischen Gesundheitsrisiken bei Jugendlichen verbunden ist

von NFI Redaktion

A recent review article published in the journal Epidemiology explores the effects of cannabis consumption on the mental health of Australian and American adolescents.


Image Source: hikrcn / Shutterstock


Study: Cannabis Consumption and Its Effects on the Mental Health of Young People in Australia and the United States: A Scoping Review. Image Source: hikrcn / Shutterstock

Background

Cannabis has been used for centuries for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. Its popularity among young people worldwide is on the rise, with a global prevalence of 2.8%.

In the United States, the estimated prevalence of cannabis use among adolescents is 7.1%, making it the second most commonly used substance after alcohol. In Australia, the prevalence of cannabis use among individuals aged 14 and above is around 34%.

Cannabis consumption is increasing globally, driven by a perception of its harmlessness and lack of addictive properties. However, there is abundant evidence of the negative health effects of long-term and frequent cannabis use.

The psychoactive compound 9-Delta-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis is primarily responsible for the negative effects on the mental health of consumers. Cannabis also contains beneficial bioactive compounds, including Cannabichromene (CBC), known for its pain-relieving, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties.

In this review, the authors extensively analyzed the existing evidence on the effects of cannabis consumption on the mental health of Australian and American adolescents.

Both countries have a similar approach to cannabis legalization. Recreational and medical cannabis consumption is already legal in many states, with others in the process of legalization. These factors provide a unique context for studying the effects of cannabis consumption on mental health.

Study Design

The authors searched various electronic databases to select relevant human studies on the effects of cannabis consumption on mental health in young populations in Australia and the USA. These included peer-reviewed journal articles published in English, such as systematic reviews, meta-analyses, cohort studies, longitudinal studies, and cross-sectional studies.

A total of 24 studies were selected and analyzed for the review, including three systematic reviews and meta-analyses, seven cohort studies, seven longitudinal studies, and seven cross-sectional studies. Three studies were conducted in Australia, and 21 in the USA.

Key Observations

The selected studies in the review highlighted the negative effects of cannabis consumption on various mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, suicide risk, psychosis, cannabis use disorder, and other mental disorders.

Depression and Anxiety

The analysis revealed that cannabis consumption significantly increases the risk of depression in young people aged 12 to 32. The risk was higher among African American women and LGBTQI individuals.

While some studies showed a trend of increasing cannabis consumption from youth to adulthood, no conclusive link was found between the age of cannabis consumption initiation and depression development.

Regarding anxiety risk, studies had mixed results, with some showing a significantly higher risk of anxiety development due to cannabis consumption and others showing no such association.

Suicide Risk

The analysis found that cannabis consumption can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts in adolescents. A connection was also observed between a cannabis use disorder in the past year, daily cannabis consumption, and non-daily cannabis consumption with higher rates of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts in young people.

The rise in suicide risk associated with cannabis consumption was more significant among young people with or without a cannabis use disorder. However, women showed higher vulnerability than men.

Psychosis

A direct link was observed in young people between the frequency of cannabis consumption and cannabis use disorders and the risk of psychosis, with women exhibiting a higher prevalence than men.

Youth who consumed cannabis more frequently had a higher risk of developing psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia.

Cannabis Use Disorder and Dependence

The intensity of cannabis consumption showed a direct correlation with cannabis use disorder, with recent consumers at higher risk than non-consumers. Adolescents with a cannabis use disorder were more susceptible to developing alcohol and opioid use.

When considering various forms of cannabis, evidence suggests that the risk of cannabis use disorder, cannabis abuse, and cannabis dependence is higher with blunt consumption, followed by simultaneous cigar and blunt consumption, and non-blunt marijuana consumption.

Significance of Studies

This review article underscores that cannabis consumption in young people is associated with the risk of developing depression, psychosis, suicidal tendencies, cannabis use disorders, dependence, cognitive impairments, and externalizing behaviors, especially attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The risk of developing mental issues is linked to the frequency, duration, intensity, and type of cannabis consumption. Factors that can significantly increase the risk of mental problems include female gender, minorities, LGBTQI youth, African American youth, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, and the age at which they start cannabis consumption.

Overall, the results emphasize the need to educate young people about the negative effects of cannabis consumption on mental health.

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