We all know that it’s dangerous to use cannabis before driving or going to work, because of the way it affects our brains, sight and abilities, in addition to the risk of a positive drug test. But is cannabis bad for your mental health?
With cannabis being the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, unfortunately for those who do use cannabis the research is quite clear – the drug can be bad for mental health and can cause a range of issues.
Potential issues include:
- Psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions, in addition to confused thinking, disturbances in emotions and behaviour, and muffled speech.
- Schizophrenia, which is a specific psychotic illness. There is evidence that cannabis can cause schizophrenia in people who are already at risk of the illness.
- While there is no clear evidence that cannabis causes depression, people who use cannabis are more likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t use. Ironically, some people use cannabis to help them feel less depressed, but it may be doing them more harm than good.
- Cannabis use can cause anxiety and panic attacks.
- There are also links with cannabis use and symptoms such as a lack of motivation, tiredness and difficulty concentrating.
- Cannabis use is also one of the factors involved in the rising suicide rate amongst young people.
Perhaps the best lesson that people can learn from the research is simple: if there’s a family history of mental illness you should never use cannabis. While any cannabis user can experience issues like those listed above, a cannabis user with a family history of mental illness is more likely to have suffer mental health problems.