Connect with us


Adolescents More Vulnerable to Cannabis Addiction but Not Other Mental Health Risks

Summary: Study experiences adolescents are thrice extra possible to develop hashish use dysfunction than adults, but is probably not at extra danger of creating different psychological well being problems related to hashish use.

Source: UCL

Adolescents are over thrice extra weak to creating a hashish dependancy than adults, but is probably not at elevated danger of different psychological well being issues associated to the drug, finds a brand new examine led by UCL and King’s College London researchers.

The examine, revealed immediately within the Journal of Psychopharmacology, discovered that adolescents who used hashish have been no extra possible to have larger ranges of subclinical despair or nervousness than adults who use hashish, nor have been they extra weak than grownup customers to the associations with psychotic-like signs.

These findings construct on a separate examine by the identical group, revealed lately in Psychopharmacology that discovered adolescents weren’t extra weak to associations between power hashish use and cognitive impairment.

Lead writer Dr Will Lawn (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London) stated: “There is a lot of concern about how the developing teenage brain might be more vulnerable to the long-term effects of cannabis, but we did not find evidence to support this general claim.

“Cannabis addiction is a real issue that teenagers should be aware of, as they appear to be much more vulnerable to it than adults.

“On the other hand, the impact that cannabis use has during adolescence on cognitive performance or on depression and anxiety may be weaker than hypothesised.

“But we also replicated previous work that if someone becomes addicted to cannabis, that may increase the severity of subclinical mental health symptoms. Given adolescents are also at a greater risk of experiencing difficulties with mental health than adults, they should be proactively discouraged from regular cannabis use.”

The findings in each papers come from the CannTeen examine, funded by the Medical Research Council, which is evaluating the consequences of standard hashish use amongst adolescents and adults, whereas additionally evaluating to age-matched controls (non-users of hashish), a totally novel design.

The examine concerned 274 contributors, together with 76 adolescents (aged 16 and 17) who used hashish one to seven days per week, alongside comparable numbers of grownup (aged 26-29) customers, and teenage and grownup management (comparability) contributors, who all answered questions on their hashish use during the last 12 weeks and responded to questionnaires generally used to assess signs of psychological unwell well being.

The hashish customers within the examine, on common, used it 4 occasions per week. The adolescent and grownup customers have been additionally fastidiously matched on gender, ethnicity, and kind and power of hashish.

The researchers discovered that adolescent hashish customers have been three and a half occasions as possible to develop extreme ‘cannabis use disorder’ (dependancy) than grownup customers, a discovering which is according to earlier proof utilizing totally different examine designs.

Cannabis use dysfunction is outlined by signs comparable to, amongst others: cravings; hashish use contributing to failures in class or work; heightened tolerance; withdrawal; interpersonal issues brought on by or exacerbated by hashish use; or intending to in the reduction of with out success.

The researchers discovered that fifty% of the teenage hashish customers studied have six or extra hashish use dysfunction signs, qualifying as extreme hashish use dysfunction.

Among folks of any age, earlier research have discovered that roughly 9-22% of people that strive the drug develop hashish use dysfunction, and that danger is larger for individuals who tried it at a youthful age. The elevated danger of hashish dependancy throughout adolescence has now been robustly replicated.

The researchers say that adolescents is likely to be extra weak to hashish dependancy due to components comparable to elevated disruption to relationships with mother and father and lecturers, a hyper-plastic (malleable) mind and creating endocannabinoid system (the a part of the nervous system that THC in hashish acts upon), and an evolving sense of id and shifting social life.

Adolescent customers have been extra possible than grownup customers or adolescent non-users to develop psychotic-like signs, but the evaluation revealed that it’s because all adolescents, and all hashish customers, are extra possible to newly develop psychotic-like signs, moderately than hashish affecting the youngsters otherwise to adults.

In different phrases, there was no adolescent vulnerability, because the elevated danger of psychotic-like signs was an additive impact (of the 2 already identified danger components for psychotic-like signs, hashish use and adolescent age), moderately than an interplay between age and hashish use.

The researchers say this matches in with prior proof that hashish use might improve the chance of creating a psychotic dysfunction comparable to schizophrenia, but they warn their examine didn’t examine the danger of scientific psychosis or schizophrenia.

The researchers discovered that adolescent hashish customers have been three and a half occasions as possible to develop extreme ‘cannabis use disorder’ (dependancy) than grownup customers, a discovering which is according to earlier proof utilizing totally different examine designs. Image is within the public area

The researchers discovered that neither teenage nor grownup hashish customers have been extra possible to develop depressive or nervousness signs than non-users. Only the adolescents which have extreme hashish use dysfunction had worse psychological well being signs, but the researchers warning that the small pattern measurement for this group limits their confidence on this discovering.

The separate examine revealed in Psychopharmacology discovered that hashish customers have been no extra possible to have impaired working reminiscence or impulsivity. Cannabis customers have been extra possible to have poor verbal reminiscence (remembering issues stated to you); this impact was the identical in adults and youngsters, so once more there was no adolescent vulnerability.

However, the researchers warning that hashish use may affect college efficiency throughout a key developmental stage of life.

See additionally

This shows a head being erased by a pencil eraser

The researchers warning that these findings have been cross-sectional (solely one time level), and that longitudinal analyses of how their contributors modified over time are ongoing.

Senior writer Professor Val Curran (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, UCL Psychology & Language Sciences) stated: “Our findings suggest that schools should be teaching pupils more about the risk of addiction to cannabis, which has been neglected in drugs education.

“Becoming addicted to cannabis is a serious problem in itself, but it can also increase the likelihood of other mental health problems. Teenagers should therefore be informed of their greater risk of addiction.”

About this psychological well being and dependancy analysis information

Author: Chris Lane
Source: UCL
Contact: Chris Lane – UCL
Image: The picture is within the public area

Original Research: Open entry.
The CannTeen Study: Cannabis use disorder, depression, anxiety, and psychotic-like symptoms in adolescent and adult cannabis users and age-matched controls” by Will Lawn et al. Journal of Psychopharmacology


The CannTeen Study: Cannabis use dysfunction, despair, nervousness, and psychotic-like signs in adolescent and grownup hashish customers and age-matched controls


Adolescence is characterised by psychological and neural improvement. Cannabis harms could also be accentuated throughout adolescence. We hypothesised that adolescents could be extra weak to the associations between hashish use and psychological well being and dependancy issues than adults.


As a part of the ‘CannTeen’ examine, we carried out a cross-sectional evaluation. There have been 274 contributors: cut up into teams of adolescent customers (n = 76; 16–17 years outdated) and controls (n = 63), and grownup customers (n = 71; 26–29 years outdated) and controls (n = 64). Among customers, hashish use frequency ranged from 1 to 7 days/week, whereas controls had 0–10 lifetime exposures to hashish. Adolescent and grownup hashish customers have been matched on hashish use frequency (imply=4 days/week). We measured Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), Beck Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory and Psychotomimetic States Inventory-adapted.


After adjustment for covariates, adolescent customers have been extra possible to have extreme CUD than grownup customers (odd ratio = 3.474, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.501–8.036). Users reported better psychotic-like signs than controls (b = 6.004, 95% CI = 1.211–10.796) and adolescents reported better psychotic-like signs than adults (b = 5.509, 95% CI = 1.070–9.947). User-group was not related to despair or nervousness. No vital interactions between age-group and user-group have been recognized. Exploratory analyses steered that hashish customers with extreme CUD had better despair and nervousness ranges than hashish customers with out extreme CUD.


Adolescent hashish customers are extra possible than grownup hashish customers to have extreme CUD. Adolescent hashish customers have better psychotic-like signs than grownup hashish customers and adolescent controls, by means of an additive impact. There was no proof of an amplified vulnerability to cannabis-related will increase in subclinical despair, nervousness or psychotic-like signs in adolescence. However, poorer psychological well being was related to the presence of extreme CUD.

Source link