Over the last decade, marijuana use has become increasingly normalised. With this cultural shift, more and more people have been introduced to marijuana for various reasons. While it can have therapeutic benefits for some, it is essential to acknowledge that it is not the right choice for everyone. This article delves into how marijuana has been normalised and explores scientific research on its potential adverse effects on mental health.
The road to normalisation
In recent years, marijuana has become more widely accepted, with numerous states and countries legalising its recreational use, as well as its medical applications. Mainstream media coverage and increased awareness of its potential health benefits have contributed significantly to its normalisation. Furthermore, the decreased stigma surrounding marijuana use has led even more people to consider trying it.
Potential mental health risks
Despite the widespread acceptance and therapeutic potential of marijuana, researchers have found that it may have serious consequences for some individuals. Several studies have linked regular marijuana use with a higher risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and severe cases of psychosis.
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry examined the connection between marijuana use and the risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. The research discovered that individuals with no history of mental health conditions who frequently used marijuana were at a significantly higher risk of experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts later in life (Gobbi et al., 2019).
Another study published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that daily cannabis use was strongly linked to an increased incidence of psychotic disorders. This research suggests that specific factors such as frequent consumption or consumption of high-potency forms may play a significant role in the development of these disorders.
As cultural attitudes continue to evolve regarding marijuana, it is crucial to recognise that while it might benefit some individuals, use may pose significant risks for others. Education and communication on the potential hazards of marijuana, along with the research that supports these concerns, should be an integral part of the discussion.