Teens who use Marijuana to alleviate feelings of depression could make their situation worse as it leads to more serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and even suicide, according to a new report from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Research has shown that some teens are using marijuana to overcome depression, when in fact, using the drug can compound the problem.
According to the report, a staggering two million teens felt depressed at some point during the past year, and depressed teens are more than twice as likely as non-depressed teens to have used marijuana during that same period.
The report showed that depressed teens are also almost twice as likely to have used illicit drugs as compared to non-depressed teens.
They are also more than twice as likely as their peers to abuse or become dependent on marijuana, which is associated with depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts.
"Marijuana is not the answer. Too many young people are making a bad situation worse by using marijuana in a misguided effort to relieve their symptoms of depression," Science Daily quoted John P. Walters, Director, National Drug Control Policy, as saying.
"Parents must not dismiss teen moodiness as a passing phase. Look closely at your teen's behavior because it could be a sign of something more serious," he added.
Marijuana use among teens has dropped by 25 percent since 2001, but more teens use marijuana than all other illicit drugs combined.
The new report has shown that teens who smoke marijuana at least once a month are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than non-users.
It was found that the percentage of depressed teens is equal to the percentage of depressed adults, but depressed teens are more likely than depressed adults to use marijuana and other illicit drugs.
Besides this, the report showed that teen girls who use marijuana daily are more likely to develop depression than girls who do not use marijuana.
In addition, depressed teens are also more likely than non-depressed teens to engage in other risky behaviours such as daily cigarette use and heavy alcohol use.
"Don't be fooled into thinking that pot is harmless. Marijuana is an addictive drug. Teens who are already depressed and use marijuana may increase their odds of suffering from even more serious mental health problems," said Dr. Drew Pinksy, internist, addiction expert, and host of VH1's Celebrity Rehab.
ONDCP is insisting parents to observe their kids' behaviour and moods swings, and recognize that marijuana and other drugs could be playing a dangerous role in their child's life.