Smoking pot does give you a high, but scientists have found a significant link between cannabis use and the onset and exacerbation of mania symptoms.
Mental health researchers from Warwick Medical School conducted a review of scientific literature examining the effect of cannabis use. The literature sampled 2,391 individuals who had experienced mania symptoms.
Mania symptoms are part of bipolar disorder and can include feelings of persistent elation, heightened energy and hyperactivity and a reduced need for sleep. Mania can also make people feel angry and aggressive with extreme symptoms including becoming delusional or hearing voices.
Lead author Dr Steven Marwaha said that they wanted to find out if cannabis use lead to increased occurrence of mania symptoms or manic episodes in individuals with pre-existing bipolar disorder, and does cannabis use increase the risk of onset of mania symptoms in those without pre-existing bipolar disorder.
He said that the observed tendency for cannabis use to precede or coincide with rather than follow mania symptoms, and the more specific association between cannabis use and new onset manic symptoms, suggests potential causal influences from cannabis use to the development of mania. It is a significant link.
Dr Marwaha added that the review suggested that cannabis use significantly worsened mania symptoms in people who had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Cannabis is the most prevalent drug used by the under-18s and during this critical period of development services should be especially aware of and responsive to the problems that cannabis use can cause for adolescent populations.
The findings are published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.