Doctors tell parents about marijuana use linked to youth mental health

Doctors tell parents about marijuana use linked to youth mental health

SAN DIEGO — September is Suicide Awareness Month, and San Diego health experts all gathered Thursday at City Heights Family Health Centers in San Diego to educate parents about the risks of marijuana use on youth mental health.

Experts said they saw a link to mental health and marijuana use.

“Every day I treat patients who have cannabis use disorders,” said Dr. Joe Sepulveda, Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Substance Use Disorder Services at Family Health Centers. San Diego.

Dr. Roneet Lev of the Scripps Hospital Emergency Room wants to make sure parents and young people make informed decisions and understand the risks.

At Thursday’s event, doctors explained the relationship between marijuana use and young people’s mental health. Lev warned that cannabis use is a risk factor for suicide for people under 25. Doctors said cannabis use disorder and daily cannabis use were associated with suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts in people aged 18 to 35, with or without an underlying major. the Depression. The FDA warns people with a psychiatric history to avoid even the prescription level of THC.

“People with mental illness can make their condition worse by using THC,” Lev said.

Experts warn that THC also gets stronger. The Department of Justice found that average marijuana potency levels increased from 8.9% to 12.1% between 2008 and 2017.

A parent who spoke at the event remarked on this fact for his eldest son.

“It’s often the beginning of a descent into living hell that destroys joy, friendships, academic and career potential and breaks a family’s heart forever,” the relative said.

The parents said their son got a pilot’s license at 17, had academic goals, but quickly got hooked on vaping.

“And then things got worse. He dropped out of college after a semester, went home, smoked nonstop. Alienating himself from his friends, spent all his money and many hours and became truly psychotic. Stripping naked in the street, fighting family and friends,” the relative said.

Lev also warned that high-potency THC is a risk factor for developing psychosis in young people.

“And it can become permanent even in young people who don’t have underlying mental illness,” Lev said.

Experts advise not to be afraid of conversations about substance use, but rather to have discussions early and often with young people.

“To be honest and open with your healthcare provider, if you’re expecting to use it’s important to have the conversation, don’t think you’re weird,” said Joe Eberstein, senior program director for Marijuana. Prevention Initiative.

“Our son is slowly getting better, despite nine months without weed, and at the same time working full time. He doesn’t feel anything anymore. He regularly thinks that a way out is death, but loves his family enough to know that this is not the end of his life. is not a solution,” the parent added.

Experts agree that more research on marijuana use and mental health is needed.

However, Eberstein noted that marijuana use can interfere with common mental health medications, and parents should be aware of this.

Important note: If you or a loved one are feeling distressed, remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also call a loved one, a member of the clergy, or 911.

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