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Marijuana Increases Risk of Depression for Teens

By May 19, 2008No Comments

Parents must be alerted to the dangers of teen marijuana use. Identified as a “gateway drug” marijuana is also cited as a contributor to depression and other mental illnesses. The teen years are often characterized by moodiness and experimentation. Parents should not shrug the dangers of experimentation and be vigilant in their observations of their teen.

Warning signs include:

  • excessive moodiness
  • carelessness in grooming habits
  • change in friends
  • withdrawl from family

“Mental Health Awareness Month, shows a staggering two million teens felt depressed at some point during the past year, and depressed teens are more than twice as likely as non-depressed teens to have used marijuana during that same period.”


Many teens turn to marijuana to self-medicate for feelings of depression. While the use of marijuana by teens has decreased marijuana remains the illegal drug of choice for many teens.


Although marijuana use among teens has dropped by 25 percent since 2001, more teens use marijuana than all other illicit drugs combined. The new report, “Teen Marijuana Use Worsens Depression: An Analysis of Recent Data Shows ‘Self-Medicating’ Could Actually Make Things Worse,” shows the following:

  • Teens who smoke marijuana at least once a month are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than non-users;
  • Using marijuana can cause depression and other mental illnesses;
  • The percentage of depressed teens is equal to the percentage of depressed adults, but depressed teens are more likely than depressed adults to use marijuana and other illicit drugs;
  • Teen girls who use marijuana daily are more likely to develop depression than girls who do not use marijuana;
  • Depressed teens are also more likely than non-depressed teens to engage in other risky behaviors such as daily cigarette use and heavy alcohol use.

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