Marijuana's mental and Physical Health Issues
Parents live in fear and grieving while watching their beloved children deteriorate mentally and physically. The picture, depicts the horror of how those who suffer from mental illnesses often end up - it can sometimes be a fate worse than death, for the grieving lingers ... the user cannot see what is happening and believes everyone else is wrong.
Marijuana definitely has a psychological impact on users as well as a physiological impact. Anyone, whose loved ones have become users, have seen the drastic changes: in personality, self-centeredness, interests, desires, goals, cognitive reasoning ability, lack of open-mindedness, denial of anything that doesn’t fit into their belief system …
Physically, the deterioration is usually not as immediately apparent.
* John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Charles G. Curie, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and experts and scientists from leading mental health organizations joined together in May 2005 to warn parents about the mental health dangers marijuana poses to teens. According to several recent studies, marijuana use has been linked with depression and suicidal thoughts, in addition to schizophrenia. These studies report that weekly marijuana use among teens doubles the risk of developing depression and triples the incidence of suicidal thoughts. [ 1 ]
* Dr. Andrew Campbell, a member of the New South Wales (Australia) Mental Health Review Tribunal, published a study in 2005 which revealed that four out of five individuals with schizophrenia were regular cannabis users when they were teenagers. Between 75-80 per cent of the patients involved in the study used cannabis habitually between the ages of 12 and 21. [ 2 ]
* In addition, a laboratory-controlled study by Yale scientists, published in 2004, found that THC "transiently induced a range of schizophrenia-like effects in healthy people." [ 3 ]
* Smoked marijuana has also been associated with an increased risk of the same respiratory symptoms as tobacco, including coughing, phlegm production, chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath and wheezing. Because cannabis plants are contaminated with a range of fungal spores, smoking marijuana may also increase the risk of respiratory exposure by infectious organisms (i.e., molds and fungi). [ 4 ]
* Marijuana takes the risks of tobacco and raises them: marijuana smoke contains more than 400 chemicals and increases the risk of serious health consequences, including lung damage. [ 5 ]
* According to two studies, marijuana use narrows arteries in the brain, "similar to patients with high blood pressure and dementia," and may explain why memory tests are difficult for marijuana users. In addition, "chronic consumers of cannabis lose molecules called CB1 receptors in the brain’s arteries," leading to blood flow problems in the brain which can cause memory loss, attention deficits, and impaired learning ability. [ 6 ]
* Carleton University researchers published a study in 2005 showing that current marijuana users who smoke at least five "joints" per week did significantly worse than non-users when tested on neurocognition tests such as processing speed, memory, and overall IQ. [ 7 ]
* This group of highly regarded scientists searched 35 studies from Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsychINFO, ISI Web of Knowledge, ISI Proceedings, Zetoc, BIOSIS, LILACS and MEDCARIB, from their inception to Sept. 2006, and used 4,804 references from 35 studies. They found there was an increased risk of any psychotic outcome in individuals who had ever used cannabis (pooled adjusted odds ratio=1·41, 95% CI 1·20–1·65). Findings were consistent with a dose-response effect, with greater risk in people who used cannabis most frequently (2·09, 1·54–2·84). Results of analyses restricted to studies of more clinically relevant psychotic disorders were similar. Depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety outcomes were examined separately. Findings for these outcomes were less consistent, and fewer attempts were made to address non-causal explanations, than for psychosis. A substantial confounding effect was present for both psychotic and affective outcomes. [ 8 ]
1) "Drug Abuse; Drug Czar, Others Warn Parents that Teen Marijuana Use can Lead to Depression." Life Science Weekly. 31 May 2005.
2) Kearney, Simon. "Cannabis is Worst Drug for Psychosis." The Australian. 21 November 2005.
3) Curtis, John. "Study Suggests Marijuana Induces Temporary Schizophrenia-Like Effects." Yale Medicine. Fall/Winter 2004.
4) "Marijuana Associated with Same Respiratory Symptoms as Tobacco," YALE News Release. 13 January 2005. <http://www.yale.edu/opa/newsr/05-01-13-01.all.htm> (14 January 2005). See also, "Marijuana Causes Same Respiratory Symptoms as Tobacco," January 13, 2005, 14WFIE.com.
5) "What Americans Need to Know about Marijuana," page 9.
6) "Marijuana Affects Brain Long-Term, Study Finds." Reuters. 8 February 2005. See also: "Marijuana Affects Blood Vessels." BBC News. 8 February 2005; "Marijuana Affects Blood Flow to Brain." The Chicago Sun-Times. 8 February 2005; Querna, Elizabeth. "Pot Head." US News & World Report. 8 February 2005.
7) "Neurotoxicology; Neurocognitive Effects of Chronic Marijuana Use Characterized." Health & Medicine Week. 16 May 2005.
8) “Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review”
Theresa H M Moore, Stanley Zammit, Anne Lingford-Hughes, Thomas R E Barnes, Peter B Jones, Margaret Burke, Glyn Lewis
(Much of the above information comes from "The DEA Position on Marijuana")
(To be continued)