Potent Marijuana Increases Risk of Addiction and Anxiety

There are a stigma and perception attached to marijuana that it is something that will calm a person down or mellow them out. However, now due to the potency of today’s weed, it could have the opposite effect. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a crystalline compound that is also the main active ingredient of marijuana.

This is the component that gets people high. Only 20 years ago, the amount of THC in marijuana was generally between 2% and 4%. Now, many common strains of marijuana can contain anything from 25% up to 37% THC. Many say that the higher potency of THC, the higher risk there is for developing symptoms of anxiety and substance use disorders. Is this true?

Potent Marijuana Increases Risk of Addiction and Anxiety

The Link Between Marijuana and Mental Health

There has always been a link between marijuana use and mental health disorders, no matter the strength, but certain lab experiments have resulted that a higher dose of THC causes heightened memory impairment and even psychotic-like symptoms in people. There is a new study that was just published by JAMA Psychiatry where they surveyed 1,087 residents who had reported marijuana use in the last 12 months. The study showed that those using high potency marijuana have a significantly higher increase in the likelihood of developing a generalized anxiety disorder than those who use a lower grade THC level marijuana. The author also wrote:

To our knowledge, this study provides the first general population evidence suggesting that the use of high-potency cannabis is associated with mental health and addiction. Limiting the availability of high-potency cannabis may be associated with a reduction in the number of individuals who develop cannabis use disorders, the prevention of cannabis use from escalating to a regular behavior, and a reduction in the risk of mental health disorders.

Another study was done with more than 900 patients with psychosis from different clinics in Brazil and Europe. They found that the daily use of marijuana is associated with heightened odds of a psychotic disorder. The risk of a psychotic disorder, when a high potency weed is involved, is more than four times higher. It is thought that if highly potent marijuana was no longer available, psychosis would no longer be prevalent.

Treatment for Marijuana Dependency

Despite some other discussions regarding the addictiveness of marijuana, evidence shows that long-term marijuana use can certainly lead to addiction. Around 9% of people who experiment with marijuana will become addicted to it. The numbers go up to around 16% for those who begin using as teenagers and anywhere from 25%-50% for those who use marijuana every single day. Not only that, but high potency marijuana users are also twice as likely to use other illicit drugs within the last year. There is also evidence that of actual cannabis withdrawal syndrome with symptoms including irritability, sleep difficulties, dysphoria, craving, and you guessed it…anxiety.

Marijuana may not be as life-threatening physically as addiction to other substances, but it certainly has just as strong of a hold on a person as other substances, and getting sober from it can be just as difficult. If you feel you need help getting sober and staying sober from marijuana, our treatment specialists are standing by to help you here at Recreate Life Counseling in Boynton Beach, Florida.