teen depression caused by cannabis, latest fed lieteen depression caused by cannabis, latest fed lie
Below are a series of clips designed to rebutt the latest federal lies, that cannabis causes depression in teens. Also clips rebutting the claim cannabis causes amotivation, and cancer. It doesn't.
"A growing body of evidence now demonstrates that smoking marijuana can increase the risk of serious
mental health problems," US Drug Czar John Walters announced at a press conference1 hyping the White
House's latest anti-pot campaign. "New research being conducted here and abroad illustrates that marijuana
use, particularly during teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and schizophrenia."
Predictably, those looking for the science behind the White House's alarm would be hard pressed to find any.
Absent from their campaign was any mention of a recent clinical study published in the April 2005 issue of the
journal Psychiatry Research refuting a causal link between cannabis use and behavior suggestive of
schizophrenia. "The current study ... suggest[s] a temporal precedence of schizotypal traits before cannabis
use in most cases," its authors concluded. "These findings do not support a causal link between cannabis use
and schizotypal traits."2
Survey data published in the journal Addictive Behavior also puts a damper on the White House's "pot leads to
depression" claims. After analyzing survey results from 4,400 adults who had completed The Center for
Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (a numerical, self-report scale designed to assess symptoms of
depression in the general population), researchers at the University of Southern California found: "Despite
comparable ranges of scores on all depression subscales, those who used once per week or less had less
depressed mood, more positive affect, and fewer somatic (physical) complaints than non-users. ... Daily users
[also] reported less depressed mood and more positive affect than non-users."3
Ankara, Turkey: Cannabinoids, when administered in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), produce a synergistic analgesic effect, according to preclinical data published in the February issue of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.
A research team at the Trakya University in Turkey investigated the analgesic interaction between cannabinoids and NSAIDS in mice. "Analysis showed additive interactions between [cannabinoids] and [NSAIDS] when they were co-administered systematically in an inflammatory visceral pain model," investigators concluded. "The combination of cannabinoids and NSAIDS may have utility in the pharmacotherapy of pain."
Cannabinoid Offers Cardioprotection, Study Says
Authors also noted that THC appears to be non-toxic to heart cells.
"This research demonstrates that THC has beneficial effects on cardiac cells and supports the consideration of marijuana for specific medical uses," investigators concluded.
Previous research indicates that cannabinoids may also protect brain cells against alcohol-induced brain damage, stroke, and acute head trauma.
Los Angeles, CA: Cannabis use, including daily use of the drug, does not impair motivation, according to survey data published in the current issue of the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.
Previous studies have shown CBD to prevent against neurotoxicity associated with stroke, cerebral infarction (localized cell death in the brain), and ethanol-induced brain damage. Clinical trials have also shown CBD to possess anti-tumoral properties - inhibiting the growth of glioma (brain tumor) cells in a dose dependent manner and selectively inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) in malignant cells.
Cannabinoids May Play Role In Treating Depression
May 26, 2005 - Newcastle, United Kingdom
Newcastle, United Kingdom: Cannabis and cannabinoids may have a role in the treatment of bipolar affective disorder, according to a review published in the May issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
A research team from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne wrote: "Bipolar affective disorder is often poorly controlled by prescribed drugs. Cannabis use is common in patients with this disorder and anecdotal reports suggest that some patients take it to alleviate symptoms of both mania and depression."
Decreased Depression In Cannabis Users, Study Says
July 7, 2005 - Los Angeles, CA, USA
Los Angeles, CA: Adults who use cannabis report suffering from less severe incidents and/or symptoms of depression than non-users, according to survey data published last month in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
"These data suggest that adults apparently do not increase their risk for depression by using marijuana," researchers concluded.
Walters and other officials cited Christopher Skaggs' suicide in July 2004 as an example of purported links between marijuana use and serious mental health problems, particularly in people who use marijuana at younger ages.
The parents described how their son was caught smoking marijuana in January 2004. They said they put him on regular drug testing and under the treatment of a counselor, who told them that marijuana use was contributing to their son's depression.
Christopher Skaggs left Colorado temporarily to visit relatives, and just days after returning home, he hanged himself in the family's home.
Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said it was misleading for Walters and other officials to blame Christopher -Skaggs' death on marijuana use, since drug testing had not detected any continued marijuana usage and only alcohol was found in his system at the time of his death.
"The scientific evidence connecting alcohol to depression and suicide is much stronger than the evidence for marijuana,"
Washington, D.C. -- Smoking marijuana can make teenagers mentally ill, even suicidal â€” at least that's the message behind a nationwide campaign announced Tuesday by the Bush administration.
"Marijuana can be dangerous for our children's mental health," White House drug czar John P. Walters told reporters at a news conference. Neil McKeganey, a Scotland-based researcher joining the administration for the announcement, said that while it was long assumed teens with psychological problems gravitated to marijuana to self-medicate, growing evidence indicates "the marijuana use itself is on some level causing the problems."
But some researchers and advocates of legalizing marijuana say the latest international findings suggest only that this might be true for a fraction of teens with a history of psychotic disorders in their families.
Children who use marijuana before age 12 are twice as likely to later develop serious mental illness as those who don't try the drug until they're 18, according to a federal report released Tuesday.
Bush administration officials pointed to the study as growing evidence that smoking marijuana may cause mental illnesses â€” including depression, schizophrenia, and suicide attempts â€” in some people.
But while the association of drug abuse and addiction with mental illness is well known, a causal connection between marijuana smoking and psychiatric disorders is not clear, other experts say.
In Tuesday's study, 21 percent of people who reported first using marijuana before age 12 also reported that they later went on to develop signs or symptoms of a serious mental illness. Those who said they used the drug only after age 18 had a 10.5 percent chance of reporting similar problems.
The study was based on federal drug use data culled in 2002 and 2003. Other past studies publicized by federal officials Tuesday also point to a connection between marijuana use and the development of mental problems later on.
"New research being conducted here and abroad illustrates that marijuana use, particularly during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and schizophrenia," said White House Drug Czar John P. Walters. "This press conference is a public health warning."
Another study highlighted by officials, published in 2001, suggested that people who were not depressed but used marijuana were four times more likely to develop depression years later than those who never used the drug.
Is Marijuana Use a Way to 'Self-Medicate' Mental Illness?
Researchers have long observed a connection between drug use and mental illness. Many studies show the simultaneous occurrence of mental illness and substance abuse. People with mental illnesses are also known to use drugs to lessen their symptoms, a phenomenon psychiatrists refer to as "self-medicating."
But federal officials and some researchers say evidence is accumulating that shows that marijuana can actually cause serious mental illnesses in otherwise well people.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances have been associated with marijuana use. However, the NIDA says it is not known whether marijuana use is an attempt to self-medicate an already existing mental health problem, or whether marijuana use leads to mental disorders (or both).
"The evidence is collectively indicating that there is a causal connection," says Neil McKeganey, PhD, professor of drug misuse at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
McKeganey notes that scientists have not yet uncovered evidence linking marijuana use to the brain changes routinely seen in people who suffer from mental illness. "If we wait until we understand that mechanism, we will lose thousands of young people," he says.
But Paul P. Casadonte, MD, a psychiatrist and associate clinical professor at New York University, cautions in an interview that research is not yet strong enough to show a causal link between marijuana use and serious mental disorders. He suggests that such claims by Walters and other administration officials were intended to further the Bush administration's efforts to quell young peoples' marijuana use.
"That's dangerous territory. It's politics more than science at this point," says Casadonte, who is also director of substance abuse treatment programs at New York Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Casadonte warns that Tuesday's study of early marijuana use does not necessarily prove that smoking at a young age leads directly to later illness. "We do know that the younger you start, the more likely that there's something mentally wrong with you to begin with. Marijuana has more of an addiction potential than most people want to believe," he says. "But basically we just don't have the science" to claim a causal link with mental illness.
Maternal Marijuana Use Not Associated With Childhood Leukemia, Study Says
February 23, 2006 - Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Chapel Hill, NC: Marijuana use by mothers is not associated with an increased risk of childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in offspring, according to a case-control study to be published in the March issue of the journal Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed 517 cases of children with AML and 610 unmatched controls. Incident cases were defined as children less than 18 years of age who had been diagnosed with AML between 1989 and 1993, and were registered with the Children's Cancer Group (a pediatric clinical co-operative group). Control children were selected via random digit dialing and individually matched.
"Overall, no positive associations between parental marijuana use and childhood AML were observed," investigators found. In addition, researchers found that self-reported maternal marijuana use "in the 3 months before, or during pregnancy was associated with a decreased [risk] of childhood AML."
They added: "Some evidence of a dose-response relationship was observed with those reporting use once or more per week in the 3 months before pregnancy having a more reduced odds ratio than those reporting less than once per week. Decreased odds ratios were also noted for maternal marijuana smoking in the year after birth."
The study's results contradict the findings of a 1999 investigation that did note an association between maternal cannabis use and childhood AML.
"The previously reported positive association between maternal marijuana use before or during pregnancy and childhood AML was not confirmed in this study," investigators concluded. "Parental marijuana use is unlikely as a strong risk factor for childhood AML."