The Connection between Depression and Marijuana Use
Many people that use marijuana regularly claim it is not addictive. While marijuana is less physically addictive, it can be just as mentally addicting as other substances. People prone to depression often abuse marijuana, which may lead to worsening symptoms and addiction.
How Marijuana Use Affects Depression
Teens and adults that suffer from depression or anxiety may use marijuana to cope. If they are unhappy at home or at school, marijuana may seem like a safe way to relax, feel good and cope with anxiety. However, a person will often feel worse after being high. Escaping from problems instead of facing them often makes them worse, and the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana can cause depression and negative feelings.
A person using marijuana to escape problems will fail to develop healthy coping skills, thus being less able to deal with serious problems when they arise. This can lead to negative consequences at work, with family and in romantic relationships, increasing feelings of depression and making it harder to change.
Is Marijuana Addictive?
Marijuana may not be as physically addictive as opiates or stronger drugs, but abusing it repeatedly has permanent effects on the reward pathway in the brain, leading to psychological dependency on its pleasurable effects. You will need more and more marijuana to feel good, and eventually you will need it just to feel normal. The more time you spend using marijuana, the less time you spend doing healthy, meaningful activities. This can lead to a lack of a sense of purpose and increase depression and feelings of hopelessness.
It may not seem that dangerous, but when you are using marijuana to cope with stress and daily life, you are avoiding any personal growth or resolution to your problems. Over time this leads to low self-worth and a lack of motivation, which in turn leads to more marijuana use. This cycle of abuse becomes psychologically addictive and marijuana becomes hard to quit, which can cause long-term depression and mood disorders.
Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Use
If left untreated, depression and marijuana use can cause the following problems over time:
- Emotional health—long-term marijuana use leads to emotional detachment and a lack of interest in other activities
- Mental health issues—along with depression, marijuana can increase a person’s chances of developing bipolar disorder, anxiety or schizophrenia
- Respiratory problems—continued marijuana use can increase the chances of infections of the lungs and bronchitis
- Brain function—long-term abuse of marijuana can lead to impaired learning and memory loss
Get Help for Marijuana Addiction and Depression
If you are abusing marijuana and think you may be addicted, call us today. We can help you get the treatment you need. Call now; our counselors are here 24 hours a day at our toll-free helpline.