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Teenage Cannabis Use can Lead to Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

by Rishika Gupta on December 1, 2017 at 11:55 AM
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Teenage Cannabis Use can Lead to Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Adolescent use of cannabis can pose a major risk in the development of hypo-mania, often experienced as part of bipolar disorder found a new study published in Schizophrenia Bulletin journal.

First research to robustly test the association between adolescent cannabis use and hypo-mania (periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behavior, reduced need for sleep) in early adulthood.

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Researchers from Warwick Medical School found that adolescent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for future hypo-mania - periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behavior, and reduced need for sleep that are often experienced as part of bipolar disorder, and have a significant impact on day-to-day life.

Teenage cannabis use at least 2-3 times weekly is directly associated with suffering from symptoms of hypo-mania in later years. Six percentage of the UK population report having been cannabis dependent in the last year.
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Led by Dr Steven Marwaha, a clinical academic Psychiatrist, the research analysed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and found that teenage cannabis use at least 2-3 times weekly is directly associated with suffering from symptoms of hypo-mania in later years.

There was a dose response relationship such that any use still increased the risk but less powerfully.

The Warwick research is the first to test the prospective association between adolescent cannabis use and hypo-mania in early adulthood, whilst controlling for important other factors that might explain this connection (e.g psychotic symptoms).

Cannabis use was also found to mediate the association of both childhood sexual abuse and hypo-mania, and male gender and hypo-mania.

The findings suggest frequent adolescent cannabis use is likely to be a suitable target for interventions that may allay the risk of young people developing bipolar disorder.

Commenting on the research, Dr Marwaha said: "Cannabis use in young people is common and associated with psychiatric disorders. However, the prospective link between cannabis use and bipolar disorder symptoms has rarely been investigated.

"Adolescent cannabis use may be an independent risk factor for future hypo-mania, and the nature of the association suggests a potential causal link. As such it might be a useful target for indicated prevention of hypo-mania."

Cannabis is one of the most commonly used illegal substances of abuse in western countries. Problematic use in the general population is as high as 9.5% in the United States, while 2.6% of the UK population report having been cannabis dependent in the last year.

Source: Eurekalert
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