Chronic marijuana users are prone to anxiety disorders, finds study - Sovereign Health Group
Articles / Blog
10-27-17 Category: Anxiety, Anxiety Treatment

Around a quarter of individuals who engage in chronic marijuana use during early adulthood have experienced anxiety disorders in their childhood and early adolescence, says a Duke University Medical Center study conducted from 1993 to 2015 and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in October 2017.

Additionally, the research team also reported that 4 percent of adults during the study who never engaged in chronic pot use, but, were ill-treated during their childhood and bullied by their peers also developed problems with the drug between the ages of 26 and 30. The research team analyzed 1,229 participants, residing in 11 counties near the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina, with an underrepresented Latino population and an overrepresented Native American population compared to the rest of the country.

Several child participants in the study were as young as nine years old when the study began and have now reached their thirties. In the last 22 years, members of the research team gathered data in areas like mental health, educational background, professional achievement, and use of alcohol and drugs. Studying problematic marijuana use of the participants while they transitioned from their college days (19 to 21 years) into adulthood (26 to 30 years), the team discovered that around 76.3 percent didn’t develop marijuana use disorder during this phase. The remaining 23.7 percent developed problems and were categorized as those with limited problems, persistent problems and delayed problems.

  • Limited users (13 percent): Limited problematic users faced problems with marijuana use either during their schooling years or before they were 16 or during their late teens and early 20s, but were able to discard their habits over time as they aged.
  • Persistent users (7 percent): Persistent users battled marijuana use disorder at the age of nine and their chronic use continued during their late 20s and early 30s. Most of them even struggled with anxiety disorders in both childhood and at ages 19-21. Moreover, the prevalence of psychiatric disorders and involvement in criminal activities were the highest in this group
  • Delayed users (4 percent): All throughout their adolescence and initial adulthood, delayed users have not faced any instance of problematic marijuana use, however, between ages 26 and 30 they suffered marijuana use disorder. African Americans were five times as likely as whites to become delayed users. More than half of delayed users experienced peer bullying and maltreatment by caregivers during their childhood, but also had lower rates of anxiety, alcohol use, and hard drug use compared to persistent users.

Marijuana is mind-altering substance

Marijuana-induced anxiety is a common side effect in chronic marijuana users, leading people to experience anxiety, discomfort and even paranoia. The drug has a biphasic effect, that is when consumed in low and high doses, each can have a totally different impact on people. Proponents of medical marijuana say small doses are known to alleviate stress and anxiety stemming from conditions, such as PTSD, but in high doses, it can induce extreme anxiety, uneasiness and nervousness.

Over the last few decades, several types of research have documented marijuana as a risk factor for the development of various psychological issues like panic attacks, hallucinations, bipolar disorder, depersonalization, flashbacks, paranoia, delusions and depression. Regardless of this notion, in the U.S., marijuana is often viewed as a less harmful drug compared to other drugs.

However, despite the popularity of marijuana in many circles, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has neither recognized nor approved the medicinal value of marijuana. As per the FDA, so far, pharmacologists have not engaged in exhaustive clinical trials to establish the therapeutic benefits of marijuana which could offset the well-known health-risks. A 2015 report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) suggests that chronic marijuana use among the youth can lead to low rates of education and employment, severe cognitive impairments, higher odds of drug-induced road rages and risky drug-seeking behaviors.

Anxiety disorders are treatable

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.” Unfortunately, despite most of the anxiety-related disorders being highly treatable, only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety disorder, contact the Sovereign Health of San Clemente, which offers a variety of customized treatments for anxiety disorder in California. Our licensed clinicians use several approaches to resolve each underlying problem. Programs at our anxiety disorder treatment centers are tailored to individual needs in order to offer a holistic treatment. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our representatives who are available for your queries.

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