Study: Bipolar Symptoms Linked to Adolescent Marijuana Use
Research on juvenile use of marijuana is not new and some research has suggested that it can affect brain development that later impacts cognitive abilities in adulthood. Recent research is linking regular adolescent use of marijuana to bipolar symptoms known as hypomania.
Marijuana often contains a great deal of THC which is what triggers the psychoactive effects so commonly associated with marijuana use. Despite educational outreach, many teenagers are still using cannabis despite the evidence produced by research.
Researchers from Warwick Medical School found that adolescent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for future hypomania — periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behaviour, and reduced need for sleep that are often experienced as part of bipolar disorder, and have a significant impact on day-to-day life.
Led by Dr Steven Marwaha, a clinical academic Psychiatrist, the research analysed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and found that teenage cannabis use at least 2-3 times weekly is directly associated with suffering from symptoms of hypomania in later years.
The Warwick research is the first to test the prospective association between adolescent cannabis use and hypomania in early adulthood, whilst controlling for important other factors that might explain this connection (e.g psychotic symptoms).
Commenting on the research, Dr Marwaha said: “Cannabis use in young people is common and associated with psychiatric disorders. However, the prospective link between cannabis use and bipolar disorder symptoms has rarely been investigated.
“Adolescent cannabis use may be an independent risk factor for future hypomania, and the nature of the association suggests a potential causal link. As such it might be a useful target for indicated prevention of hypomania.”
More research is obviously necessary, but there is a large group of people that would say that marijuana use is completely harmless after lifelong cannabis consumption. Do you believe there is any merit to this research, or do you believe that marijuana is completely harmless?