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Marijuana to treat depression

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It may seem that one could effectively treat depression with marijuana, but in fact, a recent study out of the Netherlands tells the opposite story. Marijuana causes depression.

Two thirds of the human population is predisposed genetically to depression through a gene variant. Young people who fall into this category need to be extra careful about experimenting with cannabis as a new study shows that marijuana usage leads to an increased risk of developing depressive symptoms.

The research comes from Roy Otten at the Behavioral Science Institute of Radboud University Nijmegen that is published in the Journal Addiction Biology.

In the Netherlands, nearly 30% of the youth population is using pot. Poor performance at school has been linked to cannabis usage and now increased risk of schizophrenia and psychosis. For this research, they studied adolescents known to have the genetic predisposition to depression. They were able to show that depressive symptoms increased along with cannabis usage, not before.

“The effect is robust. It still remains, even if you take in to account a series of other variables that could cause the effect, such as smoking behavior, alcohol use, upbringing, personality and socio- economic status. Some people might think you young people with a disposition for depression would start smoking cannabis as a form of self-medication, and that the presence of depressive symptoms is therefore the cause of cannabis use. However, in the longer term that is definitely not the case. Although the immediate effect of cannabis may be pleasant and cause a feeling of euphoria, in the longer term we observe that cannabis use leads to an increase in depressive symptoms in young people with this specific genotype,” explained Otten.

So the short term high is overcome by the long term depressive state. Perhaps if more predisposed kids knew this could be the case, they would avoid its usage.

Source: Addiction Biology, Medical News Today

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