With all of the recent conversation about the legalization of marijuana in Canada, it is important for families to understand the potential side effects of marijuana usage. Even though this substance is widely used, there is growing concern about the health risks that are associated with cannabis.
How Mental Health is Affected By Marijuana Use
The presence of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC) is a psychoactive ingredient with a long half-life. The feeling of being “high” happens when the delta-9-THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, which then affects the cell and nerve impulses that are produced. It can take as long as 30 days for this compound to pass from the body, which could be a contributing factor to psychosis problems.
At the same time, using marijuana changes the way dopamine is released and synthesized in the brain. These changes are similar to the effects that occur when stimulants are used, resulting in potential mental consequences.
Higher Amounts of Marijuana Leads to Unpleasant Responses
Initially, the use of marijuana is often a pleasant experience because of the relaxation that is produced when the drug is used. But, dosage tolerance can be developed which increases the person’s need to use more. As these higher amounts are consumed, the opposite effect happens and the person’s anxiety levels increase.
Psychosis can cause many unpleasant experiences, such as:
Some people experience these symptoms for a few hours. But, the long half-life of the drug often results in ongoing effects lasting for weeks. Even if these symptoms are small in the beginning, the problems can worsen with time and continued use of marijuana.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has found that long-term use can reduce motivation and have a depressant effect. Additionally, ongoing use might even result in minor cognitive defects. This drug can interfere with a person’s ability to use information or concentrate on a task. As a result, there are often problems that come up in work and school activities.
Cannabis-Induced Psychosis (CIP)
According to Psychiatric Times, many lines of evidence show a correlation between marijuana use and psychiatric conditions. Cannabis-Induced Psychosis (CIP) is a real concern for people who use the drug regularly.
It has been found that marijuana use increases the risk of psychotic episodes, especially as a person becomes dependent on the drug. When marijuana is smoked, there is a rapid uptake of chemicals that move through the body and transported directly to the brain, which then has an impact on mental health.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggested that the risk of the development of a psychotic illness increases when marijuana is used at younger ages. For example, if the drug use begins around the age of 15, then there is a higher risk of the development of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Teenagers are still going through brain development phases, which means that substance abuse can have an impact on these important developmental processes. If the brain chemicals are changed in these critical years, then there is a chance that the person will develop long-term psychological effects.
Not only does age play a role in the development of CIP, but the risks are also dose-related. Increasing dosages are connected with a higher risk of mental health problems.
Seeking Treatment for Drug Abuse and Mental Health Problems
Not everyone who uses marijuana will develop mental health issues. But, there is often a link between psychosis and drug use. So, it is important that a combined treatment approach is used that addresses both addiction and mental health issues.
The best approach is to find a professional team that offers substance abuse treatment in Winnipeg. The mental health symptoms and addictive behaviour can change from one person to the next. So, a personalized treatment approach is always the best solution for long-term results.