Adolescents are over three times more vulnerable to developing a cannabis addiction than adults, but may not be at increased risk of other mental health problems related to the drug, finds a new study led by UCL and King’s College London researchers.
The study, published today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that adolescents who used cannabis were no more likely to have higher levels of subclinical depression or anxiety than adults who use cannabis, nor were they more vulnerable than adult users to the associations with psychotic-like symptoms.
These findings build on a separate study by the same team, published recently in Psychopharmacology that found adolescents were not more vulnerable to associations between chronic cannabis use and cognitive impairment.
Lead author Dr Will Lawn (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London) said: “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.
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