Teens smoke pot to deal with stress, study says

By chillinwill · May 1, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Many teenagers who smoke marijuana are trying to find a way to cope with mental and physical problems, not to get high, Canadian researchers said.

    Dr. Joan L. Bottorff, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and her team found that adolescents who use marijuana to deal with depression, grief, stress or anxiety, have no other option.

    "We really need to pay attention to adolescents who are experiencing concerns about their health, who are having difficulties, and we need to work with them to find alternatives," she said in an interview.

    The researchers interviewed 20 teenagers from Vancouver and two rural communities in British Columbia about why they smoked marijuana. The province allows some medical marijuana use, the added, and the drug is also fairly available illegally.

    In a report published in the online journal Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy, they said six teens said they smoked pot to relieve depression, while 12 said they used the drug to ease stress and anxiety.

    Nine used marijuana to help them sleep better, three said pot helped them to concentrate, and five said they used the drug for pain relief. Several of the teens said they smoked marijuana for more than one reason.

    The teens often said drugs they had been prescribed for their problems, including antidepressants, Ritalin, or sleeping pills, didn't work, or had unpleasant side effects.

    When they had sought help from doctors or other adults, they said their concerns weren't taken seriously or the treatments they were offered didn't help.

    "We're certainly not advocating that youth resort to marijuana to deal with their health problems," Bottorff said.

    Pot carries many risks, she pointed out, including interfering with learning and memory and harming the lungs. Also, the researcher said, there is evidence that smoking pot can trigger psychotic symptoms and disorders in young people.

    The researchers said the findings show that young people need help from adults to find other ways, such as counseling, stress management of social skills training, to cope with difficulties in their lives.

    May 1, 2009
    The Windsor Star

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  1. Nature Boy
    Surveying twenty kids about why they smoke weed isn't exactly an extensive study. Everyone smokes weed because it gets you high, stress relief and self-medication are secondary reasons. Why is smoking to be high considered such a crime but then lovey-dovey excuses (not targeting people who actually need it for genuine pain) all get rubber-stamped.
  2. attentionplease
    Well I've certainly drunk alcohol before primarily to feel less depressed and only secondarily for the high, in fact not even secondarily because when depressed you tend to be unable to remember what happiness feels like or conceive of it, let alone bother to strive for it. Everything becomes about feeling less shit. And I'm not even an alcoholic.
  3. blipblop
    What a terrible piece of "research". Look closely at why kids buy new phones, play computer games, listen to music or drink booze and you'll get the same results. Kids do things that are going to make them more happy, less sad, more relaxed, less stressed. Hardly shocking.
    And taking your sample of participants from a place where medical marajuana in legal? The results are going to be horribly skewed towards people using it for medical reasons.
    The only thing I find interesting is that for socially acceptable things like wasting money or drinking away brain cells kids will usually feel more free to admit to researchers (and themselves) that they "just felt like it" or "had no good reason" or "everyone else was doing it". But with pot, as Nature Boy said, people get this idea that they should give A Good Reason. The great majority of drug users know that they have to try to legitimise or somehow excuse their use as though it were some huge atrocity needing mitigation. But imagine the tone this article would have taken if most of these kids had said they did it to get high or because their friends told them it was fun! There would be a huge outcry about delinquency and peer pressure and focus being taken away from studying.

    The underlying fact is this: Kids have problems. Kids in this town have learned that coping with these problems is easier for them personally when they smoke pot. No mention of pot causing anything negative. They now aren't on ritalin, sleeping pills and antidepressants that didn't work. They now don't have to deal with the side effects of prescription medicine that didn't work.
    So why isn't the article called "Teens outsmart side effects, prescription drugs, doctors and mental illness using one simple weed!"?
  4. Grabnar
    its true though , swim has taken every prescription antidepressant and antipsychotic known to doctors in the US never benefited from any of them ! swim said the hell with em and there ssri #37 for the next 6 months. I'd rather my KIDS smoke marijuana than be pfizers labrats, luckily they don't have the same type of issues as i do.
  5. sandoz1943
    I think they got this wrong. The parents of teens should be the ones smoking weed. Anyone who has had one knows teens cause stress.
  6. Jatelka
  7. Bajeda
    Except studies on adolescent use of alcohol show more definitively that the number one reason kids use it is to get drunk, for its intoxicating effects, not for any secondary or tertiary impact it may have on their mental or emotional functioning.
  8. Kelveren
    Actually no. Not everyone smokes weed to get high. SWIM knows 2 people who use medically, and hate getting high. They both use as little as possible while still getting the relief they need (one for nausea the other for pain). When they can they get strains that give less mind-highs so they can still function.

    Using marijuana as medicine has nothing to do with getting high. It has to do with relief of symptoms.
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