DEA: Teen depression and suicide linked to marijuana use

by Yami Virgin

More and more research suggests the high potency of THC or marijuana is having dangerous impacts on the developing brains of teenagers. Teens who use cannabis could be at a higher risk of experiencing depression and attempting suicide.

“In 2019, there were nearly 700,000 youths, ages 12 to 17, that was addicted to marijuana, which shows an increase of nearly 187,000 new youth in 2019 alone with cannabis use disorder,” said Dr. Kenneth Finn, Pain Medicine Physician in Colorado.

Finn has seen the negative effects it’s having on teens who live in a state where marijuana is legalized.

“When you’re having a fragile brain that is still developing and having negative impacts on that, some of those bridges, you cannot uncross, like the schizophrenic or the psychosis, some of that those symptoms persist even after cessation of use,” said Finn.

According to the Institute for Social Research, almost 80% of seniors in 2018 say getting marijuana is very easy. The latest study show marijuana is linked to school failure. Marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days and sometimes weeks. Some students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school, compared with their peers who don’t use.

“I mean, the brain isn’t fully mature until age 25 ish or so,” said Finn.

Not only were those who smoke marijuana more likely to suffer depression, but they were also more than three times as likely to attempt suicide between the ages of 18 and 32.

“But you know, if you’re using a substance that has significant impacts on mental health, depression, and suicidality, there’s a very strong correlation between schizophrenia and psychosis,” said Finn.

And according to the DEA, the levels of THC that are out there are much higher and more dangerous.

“Those products are ranging in the potency of 40 to 80% THC levels so you are way above if you want to go to the high of 80% that’s over 10 times stronger than the marijuana that used to be smoked a number of years ago,” said Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the San Antonio district.

But higher doses of THC doesn’t mean it’s better, a bad side effect is the triggering of psychotic episodes.

“Those bad effects are coming from the concentrated THC products which you are seeing whether it be wax, edibles, or any of the other concentrated THC products,” said Sorianello.

“So it’s very important that the community understand that it’s not good for the developing brain either edibles, smoking, vaping, or other types of a delivery device, circumstances devices,” said Finn.

In your neighborhood, on the streets, Fox San Antonio and the DEA will keep you informed and safe.

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