- Marijuana use could adversely affect mental health
- Links to psychosis and schizophrenia
- Help for those with PTSD and anxiety
- The road to recovery
- Marijuana and Mental Health
- How Marijuana Affects the Brain
- Depression and Mood Disorders
- Marijuana and Schizophrenia
- Marijuana and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Marijuana and Substance Use Disorders
- Does cannabis cause mental illness?
- Depression and anxiety
- Know the Risks of Marijuana
- Marijuana Risks
- Marijuana Addiction
- About Marijuana
- Rise of Marijuana Use
- Get the Files
- What Is Cannabis & The Effects on Mental Health
- How does cannabis work?
- How does cannabis affect my mental health?
- Tips for withdrawal
- How can I get help?
- How useful was this page?
Marijuana use could adversely affect mental health
Dr. Amy Wagner, a naturopathic physician in Phoenix, says cannabis “helps with the PTSD. I’ve had wives come in with their husbands that say, ‘You know what, we’re getting along again’ because they’re not drinking anymore.” (Photo by Taylor Eagleston/Special for Cronkite News)
A blue haze swirled around Jaime Weidmann as the TV droned on. Another day, another high. But this day in 2016 would be different.
Her boyfriend was fed up with her verbal abuse and refusal to get a job — Weidmann hadn’t worked in five years. Tired of enabling her marijuana addiction, he kicked her his east Phoenix home.
Weidmann’s sister staged an intervention. After a detox, 60-day rehab at Scottsdale Recovery Center and an eight-week outpatient program at the Meadows, also in Scottsdale, Weidmann’s pot smoking led to a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder, a mental health condition indicated by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking behaviors, according to research from the Mayo Clinic.
“I’ve never been in the psych ward for, , psychosis or anything, or jail, but I was definitely going that way,” Weidmann recalled.
As restrictions on marijuana use fall and its popularity around the world rises, researchers and therapists are examining its influence on mental health. Some medical experts say cannabis has a negative effect on the psychological well-being of chronic users, though it’s unclear whether it exacerbates existing issues or creates new ones.
However, other researchers say marijuana can alleviate suffering for people with anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
It’s an issue that’s become increasingly relevant. Arizona was one of four states to legalize recreational marijuana in November 2020, joining 14 states, including California, Michigan and Alaska. Medicinal marijuana is available in 36 states, including Arizona and California, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Arizona had 295,295 medical marijuana patients at the end of 2020, up from 34,699 in 2012, the first year medical marijuana was available in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, which oversees the program. When recreational marijuana went on sale in some dispensaries in January, recreational users 21 or older lined up to legally buy cannabis.
Jamie Weidmann made this surrender rock while in rehab to represent the day of her sobriety. Most people throw their rock into the water to let go of their past, but Weidmann keeps hers as a reminder of who she used to be. (Photo by Taylor Eagleston/Special for Cronkite News)
Some marijuana industry veterans would rather not think too deeply about the plant’s potential affect on mental health.
“Whose responsibility is it to educate individuals about using cannabis in moderation?” asked Demitri Downing, founder of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association in Arizona.
Marijuana could help some people with mental health problems, he said, but create mental health problems in others. Downing suggested churches, schools and families educate people about responsible use.
For Weidmann, responsible use was not an option because she was addicted, she said. She now leads a 12-step program that helps those who want to stop using cannabis.
“These are my people,” she said. “We’re all stoners and potheads. It’s just we no longer smoke.”
Links to psychosis and schizophrenia
Madeline Meier, an associate professor of psychology at Arizona State University who studies how cannabis affects mental and physical health over a lifespan, sees trouble.
“Not just my research, but the wider body of research has shown that mostly recreational cannabis use is associated with increased risk for psychosis and schizophrenia,” said Meier, who co-authored a 2016 study in JAMA Psychiatry.
Those conditions lead to cannabis users seeing or hearing things that aren’t there and having delusions about the world around them, she said, adding that there’s “also some evidence that cannabis use is associated with depression.”
Researchers Meier often are asked: Does weed cause mental health issues, or do those with existing mental health conditions gravitate toward weed?
“The kinds of studies that I’m telling you about can’t actually infer causality,” she said.
Other factors to take into consideration, Meier said, are whether people who already have mental health issues, such as depression, self-medicate with marijuana and whether those who develop psychosis have a genetic risk for it.
A 2019 presentation by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that adults who used marijuana for 200 days or more from 2015 to 2016 were more than twice as ly to develop a mental illness and 1.7 times more ly to develop a serious mental illness.
Antonia Amore-Broccoli, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Soquel, California, also has noticed a correlation between cannabis use and mental health decline.
“Chronic cannabis use can cause a whole variety of issues that can complicate mental health and can actually mimic mental health (issues). It can look bipolar, bipolar two, depression, anxiety,” said Amore-Broccoli, who has struggled with cannabis abuse herself.
“Cannabis is not a little herb that grows in our garden anymore,” she said, adding that the way the plant is grown and manufactured now leads to a much higher potency.
Amore-Broccoli said that during her 34 years working with clients, she has observed how frequent cannabis use can make existing mental health conditions worse and cause psychosis.
“It is a common medicinal idea to use cannabis for PTSD or anxiety,” she said. “But you have to understand that THC is a hallucinogenic that will cause delusions; it’ll increase paranoia.”
Using once or twice a month wouldn’t generally be a problem, Amore-Broccoli said. But daily use will make those issues worse.
Jamie Weidmann, who began smoking marijuana as a teenager, today is 44 and sober. She says she was diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder while in rehab. (Photo by Taylor Eagleston/Special for Cronkite News)
Help for those with PTSD and anxiety
Anxiety, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card in California, which approved its program in 1996.
The rules are different in Arizona, whose voters approved medical marijuana in 2010. Those conditions do not qualify for a medical card – however, PTSD does.
Dr. Amy Wagner, a naturopathic physician in Phoenix who certifies patients for state-issued medical marijuana cards, said patients must show medical records for current treatment and a clear diagnosis of PTSD, as well as regular counseling over the previous year.
“I’ve had a lot of vets that come in, they say it helps them sleep better,” Wagner said. “It helps with the PTSD. I’ve had wives come in with their husbands that say, ‘You know what, we’re getting along again’ because they’re not drinking anymore.
“I’ve seen a lot of different benefits in a lot of different ways.”
Carrie Cuttler, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, researches how cannabis helps those with PTSD. Her September study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that marijuana reduced repetitive thoughts about a traumatic event by 62%, flashbacks by 51%, anxiety by 57% and irritability by 67%.
“What we generally find across the board for depression, anxiety, stress, OCD symptoms, PTSD symptoms, is approximately 50% reductions in the severity of of these symptoms from immediately before, to immediately after cannabis use,” Cuttler said.
The main reason medical marijuana patients use the plant, she said, is for pain, followed by anxiety and depression.
“Cannabis is serving as a bit of a Band-Aid, in that what it’s doing is temporarily masking these mental health symptoms, but it’s not doing anything to address the root core issue that is maintaining those symptoms over time,” Cuttler said.
The positive reinforcement created by cannabis’ relief of mental health issues, she said, puts users at risk of problematic use or cannabis use disorder. Instead of rolling a joint or hitting a bowl, Cuttler suggested cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy, which are “known to produce these much longer lasting changes.”
“We don’t know how cannabis is going to interact with more conventional therapy cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure and response prevention therapy or other exposure therapies used in PTSD,” she said. “And we really need that research.”
The road to recovery
Weidmann, who began smoking marijuana as a teenager and now is 44, has been sober for four years. She lives in Mesa and works as a patient care coordinator at a biotech company.
Instead of smoking marijuana when she feels anxious, she meditates. The 12-step meetings she leads begin with meditation and mindfulness to overcome what she calls the hamster wheel of “ruminating thoughts, or intrusive thought, where you’re not able to sit and close your eyes for two minutes.”
She sets a two-minute timer on her phone for quiet reflection.
“Sometimes on Fridays, I’ll do, , two-hour meditations. And those are always really cool. Because I’m , I’m traveling on the astral plane, I’m going all over.”
Weidmann said her sobriety has made her a different person, something she calls “psychic character change.”
“The old me, my old way of thinking, my old way of living, my old way of talking, just my whole vibration was that I required marijuana in my equation,” she said, “ I have to have it.”
The urgent compulsion has been lifted, Weidmann said, because she invested time in the program, both for herself and others. She’s thankful for the ability to do mundane things, such as pay taxes and buy groceries, making her a contributing member of society rather than a drain on it.
In her one-bedroom Mesa apartment, atop a counter adorned with crystals as jagged as the Superstition Mountains across the way, is a marbled rock with the inscription, “Surrender 5.20.16” – Weidmann’s first day of sobriety. Her reminder to stay present, inscribed in stone.
“I’m right here right now,” she said. “What’s wrong with right here right now?”
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Marijuana and Mental Health
Marijuana use appears to have skyrocketed in recent years. A 2017 poll by Yahoo News and Marist College estimated that nearly 55 million adults in America currently use marijuana — more than double the number reported by the federal government in 2015.
Even as it’s gone mainstream, marijuana poses an increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, addiction and psychosis.
A 2017 study in The American Journal of Psychiatry found that nearly half of 6,788 patients who experienced marijuana-induced psychosis went on to develop schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
And despite the fact that many people use marijuana to treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, research has shown that weed can worsen the condition.
How Marijuana Affects the Brain
Marijuana is a psychoactive substance, meaning it changes the way a person thinks and feels. THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, generates many of the drug’s mind-altering effects.
When someone smokes, vapes or ingests pot, THC latches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain that affect pleasure, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, memory and coordinated movement.
Most people who use pot recreationally seek the happy and relaxed, or “stoned,” feeling that the drug provides. But weed has undesirable effects as well. It can impair thinking and the ability to form new memories. The drug can also make it difficult to concentrate and perform complex tasks.
In some people, marijuana can trigger anxiety, panic, paranoia and confusion. High doses of pot can even cause temporary psychotic symptoms, such as hearing voices and experiencing unwarranted feelings of paranoia or persecution.
Chronic marijuana use has been linked to other mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. The drug can also worsen schizophrenia and lead to marijuana addiction. People addicted to marijuana will compulsively seek and use the drug despite its negative effects on their life.
For many people, marijuana has a calming or sedating effect. But in some, it can trigger paranoia, anxiety and panic attacks.
Anxiety is more common with higher doses of the drug, but it can even occur with infrequent pot use.
The links between marijuana and anxiety aren’t entirely understood. While studies have shown that chronic marijuana use in adolescence is associated a greater risk of anxiety disorders later in life, it’s unclear if marijuana actually causes persistent anxiety disorders.
Some research suggests that people with anxiety may use marijuana as a form of self-medication — and that other genetic or environmental factors, such as childhood trauma and poverty, can contribute to anxiety and marijuana use.
Depression and Mood Disorders
The link between marijuana and depression isn’t entirely understood either.
While proponents of medical marijuana claim that weed can help alleviate depression, some studies have shown an increased risk of depression with marijuana use.
An Australian study the Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute found that teens who smoked pot weekly were twice as ly to develop depression later in life. Young women who used marijuana daily were more than five times as ly as nonusers to report a state of depression and anxiety.
It is still unclear whether marijuana causes depression or whether individuals with depression may gravitate toward using marijuana.
Marijuana use in common among individuals with bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, and it tends to complicate treatment of the disease.
Bipolar disorder causes alternating episodes of depression and mania. During depressive episodes, people may feel sad, hopeless, tired and have suicidal thoughts. In the manic phase of the illness, they may experience increased energy levels, racing thoughts, insomnia and, in severe cases, psychosis.
A 2017 study in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin found that teens who use weed several times a week are more ly to develop a mild form of mania. The researchers reported that early marijuana use may lead to bipolar disorder later in life.
As with depression, the connections between marijuana use and bipolar disorder are not entirely clear.
Marijuana and Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a complex and often disabling brain disease that causes hallucinations, distorted thinking and emotional problems. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually show up between the ages of 16 and 30. The mental illness rarely occurs after the age of 45.
While weed can trigger acute psychotic symptoms in people who don’t have the mental health condition, scientists have uncovered links between marijuana and schizophrenia.
Marijuana use doesn’t appear to cause schizophrenia, but it can trigger the disorder early in people with genes that make them more vulnerable to the condition.
Heavy marijuana use can accelerate a person’s first psychotic episode by two to six years, according to a 2014 study in the Schizophrenia Bulletin. Long-term use of weed may also worsen symptoms of the illness.
Marijuana and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also called PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after a traumatic or life-threatening event. War combat, sexual assault, natural disasters and other traumatic events can all trigger PTSD.
While some people, including military veterans, use marijuana to relieve their PTSD symptoms, research has not confirmed the safety or effectiveness of using the drug as a PTSD treatment.
Marijuana may provide short-term relief from PTSD, but in the long run it can make the disorder worse. A 2015 study in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that long-term use of marijuana by war veterans with PTSD was associated with an increase in PTSD symptoms, violent behavior and alcohol use.
- Having vivid recurrent memories (flashbacks) or nightmares of the traumatic event
- Experiencing negative feelings such as guilt, shame or extreme distrust of others
- Avoiding people and situations that trigger traumatic memories
- Feeling nervous or jittery
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Experiencing emotional instability, including sudden bursts of anger and irritability
Researchers studying marijuana and PTSD have found a biological basis for why marijuana temporarily alleviates the symptoms of PTSD. A 2013 study found that people with the disorder have more cannabinoid receptors in parts of their brain associated with fear and anxiety than individuals without PTSD.
Marijuana and Substance Use Disorders
While people often think of marijuana as a benign drug, weed is addictive. Nearly a third of people who use weed may have some degree of a marijuana use disorder, which can range from a mild substance abuse problem to addiction.
Some studies estimate that 9 percent of people using the drug develop a physical dependence to it. People who are dependent on marijuana need it to feel normal and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.
Early use of marijuana is even more ly to cause problems. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, kids and teens who smoke pot before the age of 18 are four to seven times more ly to develop a problem with marijuana, and about 17 percent will develop a dependence on the drug.
Early marijuana use can prime the reward centers of the brain for substance abuse problems later in life. This is one reason marijuana is sometimes considered a gateway drug.
While many states have legalized marijuana, the U.S. government classifies the drug as an illegal Schedule I substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Medical Disclaimer: DrugRehab.com aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.
We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Does cannabis cause mental illness?
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with one in three adults using it at some point in their life. It’s legal in some places around the world, and offered medicinally in others. But what does smoking pot do to your mental health?
The potential harms associated with using cannabis depend on two things above all others.
The first is the age at which you first begin to use cannabis, particularly if it’s before 18. Using cannabis during key stages of brain development can impact on synaptic pruning (when old neural connections are deleted) and the development of white matter (which transmits signals in the brain).
The second is the patterns of use: the frequency, dose and duration, particularly if you’re using at least weekly. The bigger or more potent the dose, the more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) you are ingesting. THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis and appears to act on areas of our brain involved in the regulation of our emotional experiences.
Depression and anxiety
Many studies of the relationship between cannabis use and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety have suffered from methodological issues by not controlling for related factors.
The few longitudinal studies that have been conducted have mixed findings.
A 2014 review of the existing research concluded that using cannabis placed an individual at moderate risk of developing depression.
Unfortunately it was not within the scope of the research to determine if cannabis use wascausing depression or if the relationship instead reflects the association between cannabis use and social problems. Cannabis use is associated with other factors that increase risk of depression such as school dropout and unemployment.
The relationship between cannabis use and anxiety is also complex. Many people use cannabis for its euphoric and relaxing effects. But some people also experience feelings of anxiety or paranoia when intoxicated. As such, cannabis could be used to relieve anxiety or stress for some while causing others to feel anxious.
A 2014 review of the available research concluded that using cannabis placed an individual at a small risk of developing anxiety. But the authors noted that while the weight of evidence supported the coexistence of cannabis use and anxiety, there was relatively little evidence to suggest that cannabis caused anxiety.
Not included in these previous reviews of depression and anxiety disorders were two recent investigations of cannabis use in the United States using data from 2001-2002 and 2004-2005. These included a host of variables such as demographic status and family environment.
Each found a significant association between cannabis use and the onset of depression and anxiety disorders. But this association was no longer significant when considering the impact of the included variables.
Clearly, the relationship between cannabis use and depression and anxiety disorders is complex and involves the individual’s reasons for cannabis use and external situations. That is, cannabis may be used to help cope with social problems that were not necessarily caused by cannabis use.
In contrast, the relationship between cannabis use and risk of developing symptoms of psychosis has been well established in many different review articles.
This research has found that early and frequent cannabis use is a component cause of psychosis, which interacts with other risk factors such as family history of psychosis, history of childhood abuse and expression of the COMT and AKT1 genes. These interactions make it difficult to determine the exact role of cannabis use in causing psychosis that may not have otherwise occurred.
Regardless, the connection between cannabis use and psychosis is not surprising.
There is a strong resemblance between the acute and transient effects of cannabis use and symptoms of psychosis, including impaired memory, cognition and processing of external stimuli.
This combines to make it hard for a person to learn and remember new things but can also extend to the experience of deluded thinking and hallucinations.
We also know that cannabis use by people with established psychotic disorder can exacerbate symptoms.
Overall, the evidence suggests cannabis use will bring forward diagnosis of psychosis by an average of 2.7 years.
The risk of developing schizophrenia increases with the duration and dose of cannabis use. Regular cannabis users have double the risk of non-users. Those who have used cannabis at some point in their life have a 40% increased risk compared with non-users.
That said, it is important to view this increased risk in context. The proportions of individuals with psychosis among the population and among cannabis users are low. Current estimates suggest that if frequent long-term cannabis use was known to cause psychosis, the rates of incidence would increase from seven in 1,000 in non-users to 14 in 1,000 cannabis users.
If you or a family member or friend have problems or concerns about cannabis, visit www.ncpic.org.au or access the free national Cannabis Information and Helpline on 1800 30 40 50.
This article was first published in The Conversation. Click here to read the original article.
Know the Risks of Marijuana
Marijuana use comes with real risks that can impact a person’s health and life.
- Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.S. and its use is growing. Marijuana use among all adult age groups, both sexes, and pregnant women is going up. At the same time, the perception of how harmful marijuana use can be is declining. Increasingly, young people today do not consider marijuana use a risky behavior.But there are real risks for people who use marijuana, especially youth and young adults, and women who are pregnant or nursing. Today’s marijuana is stronger than ever before. People can and do become addicted to marijuana.Approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6.
Marijuana use can have negative and long-term effects:Brain health: Marijuana can cause permanent IQ loss of as much as 8 points when people start using it at a young age. These IQ points do not come back, even after quitting marijuana.Mental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.Athletic Performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.Driving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana can experience dangerous effects: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.Baby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development, resulting in hyperactivity and poor cognitive function. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals from marijuana can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk, further impacting a child’s healthy development.Daily life: Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more ly to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction.
- Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to a baby’s health and cause many serious problems.
- How much do you really want to know about the risks of marijuana? You might be surprised.
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is addictive. Research shows that:
- 1-in-6 people who start using the drug before the age of 18 can become addicted.
- 1-in-10 adults who use the drug can become addicted.
Over the past few decades, the amount of THC in marijuana has steadily climbed; today's marijuana has three times the concentration of THC compared to 25 years ago.
The higher the THC amount, the stronger the effects on the brain—ly contributing to increased rates of marijuana-related emergency room visits.
While there is no research yet on how higher potency affects the long-term risks of marijuana use, more THC is ly to lead to higher rates of dependency and addiction.
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that contains close to 500 chemicals, including THC, a mind-altering compound that causes harmful health effects.
People smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes, in pipes or water pipes, in blunts, and by using vaporizers that pull THC from the marijuana. Marijuana can also be mixed in food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, and candy, or brewed as a tea. People also smoke or eat different forms of marijuana extracts, which deliver a large amount of THC and can be potentially more dangerous.
Rise of Marijuana Use
Today, marijuana use is on the rise among all adult age groups, both sexes, and pregnant women. People ages 18-25 have the highest rate of use.
Marijuana and THC remain illegal at the federal level, even though many states have legalized its use. In states where legal, marijuana is a fast-growing industry with sales to individuals over 21 in retail stores, wineries, breweries, coffee shops, dispensaries, online, as well as grown at home.
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What Is Cannabis & The Effects on Mental Health
Cannabis comes in many forms, pot (dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant) and hash (the resin of the plant).
It can be mixed with tobacco and smoked in joints, bongs or pipes, baked into food ( cakes, brownies or cookies) or drunk as a brew.
There’s no ‘safe way’ to use cannabis. But if you choose to use it, try to use it as safely as possible.
How does cannabis work?
Cannabis contains a chemical called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which moves from the bloodstream into the brain. THC is a hallucinogen, meaning that it changes the way that you see reality.
How it affects you depends on:
- how much you use
- how strong it is
- how you took it
- how you are feeling
- who you are with
- where it is from
- whether you have mixed it with alcohol and other drugs.
Using cannabis can bring on the effects of being ‘stoned’. Some people feel chilled out, relaxed and happy. They may become talkative or laugh a lot, and experience hunger or food cravings (known as ‘the munchies’). Some of the not-so-good effects can include:
- feeling sick
- speeding up your heart rate
- changes to the way you experience sensations (colours and sounds)
- having poor concentration
- problems with memory
- low motivation
- poorer sexual performance
- feeling anxiety and panic
- feeling suspicious or paranoid
- having poor coordination, which can affect activities driving and walking.
How does cannabis affect my mental health?
People usually use cannabis because they want to feel something different, and sometimes they do. But using cannabis can also affect your health., You might find that cannabis makes you feel much worse − especially if you already have challenges with your mental health.
Sometimes cannabis can make feelings of anxiety, panic or paranoia more intense. Young people who use cannabis are at risk of developing mental health issues. It may also increase the risk of psychosis in some people. Psychosis is when you start to believe strange things or see and hear things that aren't there.
The risk of developing psychosis can be even higher if you start using cannabis when you are young. Your risk is also higher if other people in your family have had mental health challenges.
There are plenty of benefits you are ly to notice if you cut out cannabis, :
- better concentration
- improved mood
- increased motivation
- more energy
- better sleep patterns (after a few weeks).
You might notice some of these benefits straight away, while others might take a bit longer. Generally the longer you go without using the easier it gets.
Some people who use cannabis for a long time might become dependent and then find it hard to stop. If you’re trying to cut down or stop using cannabis after a long time, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. These may include:
- an upset tummy
- poor appetite
- problems sleeping
- sometimes feeling angry, irritable or restless.
Tips for withdrawal
Withdrawals usually last around a week, although problems with sleep may last longer.
It can be helpful to plan ahead for these difficulties if you’re thinking of cutting cannabis use out. This might involve making a list of things that help you when times get tough. Maybe being around supportive friends helps, or doing activities that make you feel distracted and calm.
Think about what increases your lihood of using and stay away from those things for a while.
It can also help to include family and friends or a professional in your plans to stop so they can support you through the hard times.
If you’re going to use cannabis, there will always be the risk of things not going great. You can reduce some of these risks by:
- just using a bit at a time and waiting to see what it feels
- not mixing it with alcohol and other drugs. Things can get control quickly
- not driving or doing anything that requires coordination after you've used cannabis. (It is illegal to drive while on drugs)
- only using cannabis with people you trust. Have someone in your group who is not using cannabis keep an eye out for you. Remember to keep an eye on your friends, too
- having cannabis free days. Avoid it if you have school, uni or work the next day
- calling an ambulance if things get bad – they are there to keep you safe, not to get you in trouble.
How can I get help?
If your cannabis use is starting to affect things that matter − your mental health, wellbeing or your friendships − it can be a good idea to get help. You can talk to someone about your options and look at different ways of cutting down or stopping your use.
For more information, to find your nearest headspace centre or for online and telephone support, visit eheadspace
The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.
Last reviewed 19 July 2018
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