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Pot May lead to Depression/Mental Illness

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by tke711, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    Story Here

    A couple of quote:

    "The occasional joint may not be harmful, but people who start using cannabis in their teens have a higher risk of later being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and the severity of the illness is linked to the length of exposure to the drug. "

    "In a study of 1,037 people born in New Zealand between 1972-73, Arseneault found that those who began using cannabis as teens were four times more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems as adults than adolescents who did not use the drug."

    "Another study of more than 50,000 Swedish enlisted men showed the use of cannabis increased the risk of schizophrenia by 30 percent."

    If studies like this keep finding similar results, the pro-legalization groups are going to have a pretty hard time persuading people that Pot is no more dangerous then cigarettes.
  2. Domh

    Domh Full Member

    I smoked pot first thing in the morning, 2-3 more times during the day, and right before bed every single day from the age of 15 to the age of about 27.

    I suffer from depression and severe anxiety - have for many years.

    Although these conditions run in my family, I feel confident that missing 10-12 years of mental development learning to cope effectively with the normal stresses of life contributed to my present mental condition.

    When one is intoxicated on a substance all day long, one does not need to deal with stress as there is none. When the drugs go away and the stress comes, one is pretty much fucked.

    If I could go back in time and change ONE thing... I would never have touched the stuff.

    Caveat - things could be much worse, all things considered Im doing pretty damn well. ;)
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Thanks for the story, and Domh, thanks for your personal experience.

    I've said this before about Mary Jane, legalization will never happen when science starts finding out about the dangers of this drug.
  4. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Perhaps the use of pot causes mental illnesses, or maybe those more likely to become addicted are also more likely to suffer mental illnesses. I think the same could be said about alcohol, could it not?
  5. LissaKay

    LissaKay Oh ... Really???

    The rate of drug abuse among adolescents with mental and emotional disorders is three times that of so-called "normal" kids. It is thought that these kids are self-medicating in an attempt to relieve their symptoms when they are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

    So which comes first? Mental illness or drug abuse? Do drugs cause mental health problems? Or does having mental health problems make one more susceptible to the lures of illicit drugs and drugs of abuse?
  6. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    My vote would be the latter.
  7. jamming

    jamming Banned

    I think it is kind of like the chicken and egg argument, whereas both may be true. Someone may self-medicate whereas someone else who is borderline may get the litttle push to set it off. I just wanted to make the argument here that one side being true does not preclude the other.
  8. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    A close friend used to smoke pot daily. Switched to booze and nearly became an alcoholic, saved himself in time and quit. Now he only smokes cigarettes and drinks ten cups of coffee per day. I think he had these leanings before he smoked any pot.
  9. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Personally, I think it's a little of both.
  10. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    From the article:

    So what is occasional? And the article talks about early use in your teens. Will everybody agree that a beer a day is harmless? How about a six pack two hours? How about a fifth every night? Point being before we let the anti pot people run with this lets get some doses, some facts.

    Even when they are rethinking the food pyramid we all know that too much of almost anything is bad. They note that the occasional joint may not be harmful. I know very few casual smokers who don't share a joint and even then have some left over.

    Is living life high on anything harmful? Without a doubt. I see nothing new in this article except the specific ailments one can expect.

    But on a lighter note, who would not be depressed to see the world as it really is after a decade or two high? That's not a disorder, that should indicate sanity.
  11. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    I would have to seriously question the validity of this research. As Shiny points out, the research was conducted on teen exposure, but the tone is a little over generalizing. Not to mention, quite biased. Would a teen who started drinking too much also be at risk for mental illness? How about one that has food, or sex addiction? Although I haven't read the BMJ article my guess is that there was no control group (such as those who abused other substances or had other addictive behaviours) to compare whether it is the weed or the addictive behavior, or whatever causes the teen to start smoking pot, or whatever, in the first place.

    Also, note how this key sentence is phrased:

    <i>"In a study of 1,037 people born in New Zealand between 1972-73, Arseneault found that those who began using cannabis as teens were four times more likely to suffer from psychiatric problems as adults than adolescents who did not use the drug."</i>

    Does it say anywhere how many of the 1,037 were pot smokers in their teens regardless of mental illness? It doesn't. Does it say what proportion have mental illness regardless of exposure? It doesn't. When researchers use terms like "n times more likely" it's very important to know what the distribution of the different categories are. Are these odds ratios, relative risk measures, or simple ratios? As a sound bite, 4 times more likely appears juicy, but it doesn't mean much without knowing how it was derived.

    Remember, we all thought salt was going to harden our arteries. :rolleyes:

    Although I wouldn't argue for one minute that pot smoking for teens is a risk not worth taking, so is drinking, too much television and a variety of other harmful behaviors. Ethics' statement

    <i>"legalization will never happen when science starts finding out about the dangers of this drug"</i>

    is the one that scares me, because he is right. Unfortunately, science like the study above (at least how it is was presented in the Yahoo article) can easily distort the truth and over generalize, which can have a major impact on public opinion (since the common Joe ain't going to the nearest university library to pick apart the journal article), as well as legislative policy.
  12. IamZed

    IamZed ...

    Legalization already is happening. What I want is the instant test. I dont care if you got high at the family reunion last week I want to know if youre high when you clock in. When we get that test it will become taxably legal. And what a tax that will be.

    I came thru the drug world. I sold anything for a living. I took it all as well. I crawled, and I do mean crawl, out of that hole simply to protect my own sole (and Christ, Im agnostic!) from the people I was associating with as well as myself.

    You can play with this shit and get back on top of your game in a few years, but it is better not to play.

    Having said all that I will return to consumption of the one illicit substance I love when Im single.

    I just wont operate heavy equipment or drive.
  13. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    slightly OT

    I can commiserate with Domhain on the effects of reality obscuring substances used during the prime time of adulthood.
    I too suffered that malady; and the effects, while hard to prove, have lingered to this day.

    My substance of abuse was alcohol.

    I spent 21 years drinking daily from the age of 18. The false sense of reality I lived through killed any chance of doing anything productive with my life during that time period.

    Although I have almost 15 years of sobriety, the damage done has eroded many values that society deems productive.
    What I miss most was the mood swings during that period.

    When "high" I wrote metaphysical essays that even today amaze me. My spirituality during this time almost brought me to a state of Nirvana. When "low" the depths of despair made me feel like dust in the wind. I understand the "angst" that many of our fine authors went through and could see how these extreme mood changes enhanced their ability to write beautiful works of literary stature.

    What has changed most since my sobriety, is almost a total loss of those extremes that one must touch occasionally to feel the full spectrum of the human condition.

    Life for me in these last 15 years has no highs or lows. Just a steady diet of the dreaded medium.

    To get back on topic, I don't know the validity of the study, as I was not one of it's subjects. But the fact that two members here in this forum, and probably many more, have experienced first hand the long term effects of mood altering drugs gives credence that the study has some form of validity.

    Like Domhain, I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had never started on that road of perdition.
    Fortunately, my belief that everything we do has it's purpose has sustained me. The lessons of life are needed by the soul; both good and bad.

    Although the study mentioned is on the steady and long term effects on Marijuana users, any altering substances may also be related.

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