Pot use in teens tied to later depression, suicide risk

  • JAMA Psychiatry

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Adolescents who use cannabis had a significantly greater risk for depression, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicide later in life.
  • There was no increased risk for anxiety associated with adolescent cannabis use.

Why this matters

  • One-fifth of US adolescents report monthly cannabis use.

Study design

  • This meta-analysis evaluated 11 longitudinal and prospective studies (comprising 23,317 individuals) that assessed cannabis use during adolescence (
  • Association between cannabis use in adolescents and development of depression in young adulthood (18-32 years old) was assessed.
  • Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Quebec Network on Suicide, Mood Disorders and Related Disorders.

Key results

  • Cannabis use vs nonuse during adolescence was associated with an increased risk of developing depression in young adulthood (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.16-1.62; I2, 0%).
  • Cannabis use was also associated with increased risk for suicidal ideation (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.11-2.03; I2, 0%) and attempted suicide later in life (OR, 3.46; 95% CI, 1.53-7.84; I2, 61.3%).
  • Association between cannabis and risk of developing anxiety was not significant (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.84-1.67; I2, 42.0%). 

Limitations

  • Strong causal association between cannabis use and later depressive disorder could not be established.
  • Heterogeneity among studies in methods of detecting major depressive disorder.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD

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