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Nancy Schimelpfening

Teen Pot Smokers More Prone to Depression, Anxiety

By December 19, 2009

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Teenagers who smoke marijuana daily may be damaging their brains and making themselves more prone to depression and anxiety as adults, according to a new study out of McGill University.

The researchers at the University found that when adolescent and adult lab rats were exposed to the active ingredient in marijuana for 20 days, only the adolescent rats were adversely affected.

Changes observed in the rats included a decrease in a substance in the brain called serotonin, which is believed to play a role in depression. Increases in another substance called norepinephrine, which has been associated with anxiety, were also noted.

Although the study was carried out on rats, study author Gabriella Gobbi said the results could be extrapolated to humans.

The results suggest, according to Gobbi, that because the adolescent brain is still developing, it may be particularly vulnerable to chronic drug use.

Earlier research done by Gobbi found that marijuana can act as an antidepressant, but only in the short-term. If used long-term, the opposite effect occurs.

The new study appears in the latest issue of Neurobiology of Disease.

Comments
January 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm
(1) John@how to beat depression naturally says:

Everybody experiments with drugs when they are young, its cool, its hip and everybody else is doing it, right? The smarter ones know the eventual effects and simply walk away and say “Yeah, I did that, its not for me”. Only the strong survive, don’ be a statistic. Depression is no joke, just like any other disease, its something you will have to live with and you need to be smarter and step up. Try it if you must and be the stronger one in the crowd by saying “no thanks” and soon you will see your friends follow your lead and before you know it they will be looking up to you for leadership instead of their next score.

January 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm
(2) Alexa says:

Wow! My experience mirrors the results of that research. In my teens my parents went through a bad divorce which left my siblings and I unsupervised for many years. I know this bothered me and I felt no hesitation when a peer offered me some pot to try. Fast forward one year and I’m basically a daily (sometimes multiple times per day) smoker. I finally stopped after 2 – 3 years (I began having panic attacks every time I smoked it) but I’ve had bouts of severe “Major Depression” as well as chronic “mild” depression ever since. I’m 43 now. Thankfully, my kids seemed to have learned a LOT from me. They would try drugs just as quickly as they’d try eating a poop sandwich every day for a year. (Sorry so gross . . . just – they really don’t think trying booze, cigarettes, dope, etc. is tempting or even tolerable. They HATE it – end of story. Probably because their dad died as a complication from alcoholism, and they’ve seen the problems I’ve had due to my own – former – drug use problems.)

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