Adolescent youths at middle school age experience poor academic performance, a higher likelihood of delinquent behavior, and poorer mental health– when they consume marijuana. Compared to their peers who used little to no marijuana, or used socially, these teens were at greater risk of difficulty in life. What leads the young to use marijuana more heavily?
One theory is that they are educated about the drastic effects of alcohol which can cause driving accidents, accidental deaths, and serious physical diseases. Marijuana is seen to be socially effective. The threats of dropping academics and psychological effects like paranoia are not consequential. Research on how marijuana inhibits critical developmental stages in adolescence is recent and not widespread in school programming. Therefore students see marijuana as relatively harmless, or at least less harmful than alcohol.
Marijuana Use and Mental Health
Marijuana is linked to psychological disorders like depression and anxiety. Paranoia is a symptom of marijuana but not a common long term effect. Mixing marijuana with the wrong susceptible psychology, however, and paranoia could become a permanent disorder.
In the most recent edition of the DSM, the diagnostic and statistical manual, marijuana was for the first time listed as a substance upon which one could develop a dependency or disorder. Marijuana use disorder highlights the ways that marijuana use can interfere with good mental health, daily functioning, and independence from the drug. Though the development of marijuana use disorder is rare, it can occur. When an increasing amount of marijuana is needed to achieve a similar or greater high than recent doses, there is a dependency building.
Furthermore, people experience symptoms of withdrawal without marijuana. Marijuana use is known to influence hunger and sleep. People who have become dependent on marijuana have difficulty developing an appetite or sleeping soundly without being under the influence of the drug.
Early use of marijuana can progress toward regularly using the drug well into adulthood. As a result, poor mental health can be an ongoing problem. People with depression and anxiety because of marijuana use might continue using the drug as a coping mechanism.