A part of cannabis and your children

The researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 studies involving a total of 23,317 participants.

The Canadian press

Adolescents who use cannabis are at higher risk of depression and suicide in young adulthood compared to those who do not consume the drug. This is clear from a new study conducted by researchers in Montreal.

The findings, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, point to an increased need for education on cannabis-related mental health risks, says lead author Gabriella Gobbi, researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center.

"Many young students and parents are not aware of the risks … of cannabis. They think it's a light herb because it's natural, "she says.

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While previous studies have linked cannabis to psychosis and schizophrenia, this new meta-analysis examines the effects of the drug on the risk of mood disorders and suicide in young people. The results provide further evidence that cannabis can be particularly damaging to the development of teenage brains.

The researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 studies involving a total of 23,317 participants. While they found that the risk of anxiety was not statistically significant, they found that daily use of cannabis was associated with a high risk of suicide attempts and a low to moderate risk of developing depression.

For individuals, this risk of depression may be low. Gobbi. Given the prevalence of cannabis use among young Canadians (33 percent of cannabis users are in the 15- to 24-year age group according to the National Cannabis Survey), this risk is "very important" at the population level, she says. It means that previous cannabis use can be associated with depression with an estimated 7 percent of young adults, she says.

The study found only a correlation and no causal relationship between cannabis use and later depression and suicidal behavior. Dr. However, Gobbi notes that only studies in which young participants were healthy before using cannabis were included in the analysis. In these studies, participants did not start using cannabis because they were depressed, she explains. They were more likely to develop depression after they started the drug.

Under the limitations of the meta-analysis, researchers found that not all of the studies they analyzed could be attributed to other drugs or psychosocial factors associated with depression and early cannabis use, and they used various methods of severe depression to recognize. Researchers were also unable to assess the amount or efficacy of cannabis users consume.

Catherine Orr from the Australian Swinburne University of Technology, who was not involved in the study, says there is much research that suggests adolescents are more susceptible to brain cannabis than adults.

"We can not say with certainty why this is so, but a probable explanation is that puberty is a period of rapid brain development in which the volume of gray matter is cut off," Dr. Who used cannabis. This "pruning" refers to the natural elimination of unnecessary brain connections. Dr. Orr explains that it is possible that cannabis use interferes with this process.

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At the Pine River Institute in Ontario, a treatment center for young people between the ages of 13 and 19, CEO Vaughan Dowie says cannabis is the most popular drug at the center. Many of the adolescents he sees use cannabis for self-medication for mental health problems. Many also consider cannabis harmless, he says.

"For many children is No big deal, "says Mr. Dowie, noting that not everyone is affected. "But it's important for children to know that it's not a benign substance, that it carries risks and risks."

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