Cannabis and poor mental health

According the Royal College of Psychiatry, cannabis usage can trigger mental health problems in people who, prior to taking it, had reported no problems with their mental health. Unfortunately, this is my experience of seeing cannabis users coming into my clinic too. Many will have taken up cannabis as a recreational drug, whilst many, started using it for enjoyment, however have subsequently become reliant on it for self-medication.

Research has shown that if you are predisposed to mental illness, such as schizophrenia, then using cannabis will put you at greater risk of developing the illness. More regular use can lead to an increase in this risk. Younger people are more at risk as their developing brains can be more vulnerable to the active chemicals in cannabis. Sometimes, people find that cannabis can make them feel better for a while after taking it, however, these effects are usually short-lived and can make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse over the long term. It can also delay you getting the treatment you already badly need and therefore the underlying problems causing the depression/anxiety in the first place, remain unresolved.

If you feel you may have a problem with cannabis use, you should seek help as soon as possible. Speak to your GP or psychologist about the problem. A psychologist in particular, will help you find more productive ways of dealing with what is causing your depression or anxiety by helping you identify what thoughts, emotions and behaviours contribute to the depression and finding a way to address these in therapy. Deal with it now, rather than letting the problems go unresolved. Mental health usually gets better when it is addressed with the aid of professional help. Don't ignore it and don't rely on it resolving itself, it most probably won't!

If any of the issues above have affected you and you feel you would benefit from some professional help, please get in contact: