Acute Mental Health Symptoms in Adolescent Marijuana Users

April 13, 2022
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Levy and Weitzman surveyed 527 adolescents presenting for routine medical care to assess whether they had experienced acute psychotic symptoms (anxiety, paranoia, or hallucinations) during or right after marijuana use. Most study respondents were female (71.2%) and non-Hispanic white (76.7%). 27.4% of respondents reported hallucinations, 33.6% reported paranoia or anxiety, and 42.9% reported at least one adverse psychological symptom overall. Symptom rates were higher among those who used cannabis more regularly, met criteria for cannabis use disorder, or reported depression symptoms. Levy and Weitzman express larger concerns about the association between adolescent marijuana use and poor mental health outcomes in adulthood. Because some adolescents with psychotic disorders report their first acute symptoms alongside marijuana use, a portion of these cases may represent prodromal symptoms of a developing disorder; Levy and Weitzman believe this link deserves further research. Their study was limited by self-report bias, which may have led to underrepresentation of marijuana-related psychotic symptoms.

Sharon Levy & Elissa R. Weitzman