Does cannabis use lead to mental-health problems?
In 1987, a large-scale Swedish study confirmed an association between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia. Ever since, it has become widely accepted by clinicians that there are links between cannabis use and mental illness. Experts have expressed particular concern about the mental-health effects of cannabis use on young people, as ‘adolescence is the developmental stage when drug-using patterns emerge and teenagers may be more vulnerable than adults to the effects of cannabis’.
There is now a significant volume of research which shows an association between cannabis use and mental-health problems. However, according to Professor Ian Hickie, Executive Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney, much of the science in this area is ‘relatively new’.
The two main claims that have been made in the research about cannabis use and mental health are as follows:
that cannabis use is related to the development of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia among some cannabis users, and
that cannabis use is related to the development of depression and other mood disorders among some cannabis users.
The research in each of these areas is discussed at the Australian Parliamentary Library website