Marijuana

Did you know that there are links between marijuana and mental health problems?

New research shows more harms associated with marijuana – especially for teens.

Marijuana (or weed) is the most widely used illegal drug in Canada for both adults and youth.  In fact, about 40% of Canadians have used marijuana in their lifetime.  What some people might not realize, however, is that the levels of the active ingredient , THC, have more than doubled in the last twenty years, and new research has shown that marijuana carries significant health and safety risks, especially for teens.

  • 21% of Ontario students in grades 7 – 12 say they’ve used marijuana at least once in the past year.
  • By grade 12, that increases to 37%.  One in ten users report symptoms of marijuana dependence.
  • 10% of teen drivers report driving after using marijuana.

Frequent use can lead to memory loss and lower IQ.

Frequent (daily) marijuana use that begins in the teen years and continues into adulthood has been linked with declines in memory, intelligence and attention—some of which remain even after the person stops using marijuana.

There’s an alarming connection between marijuana and mental illness.

Links have been made between long-term marijuana use and mental illness. Depression is more common among users (while, at the same time, youth who are depressed are more likely to turn to marijuana, which only worsens the problem). The same is true for anxiety disorders.

What’s most alarming, however, is that those who frequently use marijuana during adolescence are significantly more likely to develop psychosis—a severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that the person loses touch with reality. Marijuana is also a risk factor for schizophrenia, especially for people who have a family history of the disease.

Did you know that smoking up before driving nearly doubles your risk of a car crash?

Even occasional use can have consequences—especially for drivers.

Incidences of impaired driving while on marijuana are common, with nearly 10% of teenage drivers reporting driving within an hour of smoking marijuana —something which nearly doubles their risk of a crash. Marijuana is also the drug that teens combine most often with drinking alcohol. This can have unpredictable physical and psychological effects (like nausea or panic) and can lead to more risk taking.

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