Cannabis is also known as marijuana, and weed has now been legalized in many developed countries in the world. In digitization, the youth is highly influenced by social media that shows how ‘smoking up’ is often considered a cool act among teenagers and early adolescents. In India, marijuana is the most illicit drug which contains THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol not only changes an individual’s mood but also their behaviour. Marijuana is often considered a ‘safe drug’, and individuals generally think it will not affect their mental health.
When an individual initially starts the consumption of marijuana, they experience delusions. The delusions either make an individual calm and happy or make them anxious. An individual who gets anxious and paranoid after consuming marijuana often stops consuming it. Still, those individuals who experience relaxation and happiness start smoking regularly and become addicted to it. Many kinds of research have shown that THC affects our brain directly, and an individual might be more prone to develop a mental illness. In his research, Dr Green has also proved that individuals who consume marijuana in any form generally experience an earlier onset of mental illness. These illnesses may involve schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression (A. Eden et al., 2012).
Marijuana contains Tetrahydrocannabinol which affects the functioning of the brain, mainly the frontal lobe and white matter. The frontal lobe helps in the functioning of social interaction, emotions, and memory. Hence, marijuana can cause hallucinations, disorientation, depersonalization, and amnesia. After consuming marijuana, an individual might be less motivated. They might hear and see things differently, which leads to hallucinations, which is a signal of psychosis. Psychosis is often one of the symptoms of common mental illness like depression, a bipolar disorder that an individual experiences. Acute consequences of marijuana use are impaired short memory, increased heart rate, impaired judgment, and cognitive functions of the brain. Persistent consequences of marijuana are insomnia and impaired coordination. In contrast, long-term consequences are substance abuse, high risk of disorders, chronic cough, and impairments in memory and learning.
An individual who is already suffering from mental illness tends to substance abuse. They start abusing marijuana as marijuana relaxes their brain and feel happier, especially in schizophrenia. Another reason why an individual regularly consumes marijuana due to the high THC levels; they can increase the risk of developing mental illness in later stages of life. Marijuana affects other factors like genes and environment that make the brain more prone to developing mental illness.
There is a high risk that individual smoking marijuana gets addicted to it. A recent study shows that one in ten marijuana consumers get addicted to it. When an individual develops a tolerance for marijuana regularly, they smoke more every day to get the same effect. There is a higher chance, especially for teenagers and early adolescence to get affected by the consumption of marijuana as our brain keeps developing in our early twenties.
In case an individual becomes addicted, they might suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Mood swings, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and craving for marijuana are just a name of the few withdrawal symptoms. If you face any of these or if any one of your loved ones is having these symptoms, you must immediately visit a psychologist. It is essential to consult a psychologist as they will help diagnose any psychosis and provide effective treatment.
Evins, A. E., Green, A. I., Kane, J. M., & Murray, R. M. (2012). The effect of marijuana use on the risk of schizophrenia. J Clin Psychiatry, 73(11), 1463-1468.