How Marijuana Can Impact Your Mental Health
Over the last several years, a majority of states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana.
According to a research report from Gallup, 12% of Americans say they smoke marijuana. Young adults between the ages of 18-29 are the most likely demographic to use the drug. However, 12% of adults between the ages of 50-64, and 11% of adults between 30-49 said they also use marijuana.
Marijuana has been shown to negatively impact the mental health of some users. It seems counterintuitive, considering that many people smoke marijuana to reduce symptoms of mental health disorders. But any psychoactive substance comes with a risk of side effects. If you or someone you know is a marijuana user, it helps to understand how it can affect their mental state.
How Marijuana Impacts the Brain
Ingesting marijuana in any form—whether through smoking, vaping, or edibles—has been shown to cause both short- and long-term changes to brain chemistry. The psychoactive compound in marijuana, called THC, binds to brain receptors and leads to mood-altering side effects and the feeling of being “high.”
If you or a loved one are suffering from marijuana abuse or dual-diagnosis, we’re here to help. Contact us today and speak with one of our trusted recovery advisors.
The Long-term Mental Health Effects of Marijuana
The negative side effects of marijuana aren’t always temporary.
For people who already struggle with their mental health, using marijuana can make their condition worse. But for individuals with no existing mental health disorders, using marijuana can increase their risk of developing certain conditions. Studies have linked marijuana use to an increased risk of the following disorders:
- Bipolar disorder
- Low self-esteem
- Low energy
- Decreased motivation
- Poor feelings of self-worth
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Lack of interest in activities one once enjoyed
- Lack of participation in relationships
- Poor communication with others
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Unlike other drugs, it can be difficult to determine if someone has a marijuana dependence. From a clinical perspective, a marijuana user is considered “addicted” when their drug use interferes with some aspect of their life. Someone might have a marijuana dependence when they prioritize their drug use before other important responsibilities, like work or school.
Treating Marijuana Addiction and Mental Health
Additionally, heavy marijuana users who experience mental health issues might be more likely to develop a secondary substance abuse disorder. It’s common for people with depression, anxiety, and trauma disorders to use alcohol or more potent drugs to help cope with their symptoms.
At Nexus Recovery, we understand that marijuana addiction is a growing issue and a progressive disorder, which is why we offer personalized treatment programs for adult clients of all ages. Most clients who get treatment for marijuana addiction start in our intensive outpatient program, which meets at our Los Angeles facility 3-5 days per week.
If a client is suffering from any co-occurring disorders, such as marijuana use disorder and a mental health condition like anxiety or depression, we coordinate with the appropriate professionals to ensure that treatment for both disorders is concurrent and both receive the same level of care and clinical expertise. Some of the mental health treatments we offer include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Multidimensional Family Therapy.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a marijuana addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, getting professional treatment can help them make a full recovery. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about the outpatient program at Nexus Recovery.