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NEWS: Youthful Marijuana Use Linked to Mental Illness

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posted on May, 4 2005 @ 08:35 PM
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released a report this week that identifies a possible link between serious mental illness and marijuana use as a youth. The conclusions were drawn from a statistical study conducted in 2002 and 2003 that surveyed adults about a variety of health issues including previous drug use and the prevalence of mental illnesses.

Children who use marijuana before age 12 are twice as likely to later develop serious mental illness as those who don't try the drug until they're 18, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

Bush administration officials pointed to the study as growing evidence that smoking marijuana may cause mental illnesses -- including depression, schizophrenia, and suicide attempts -- in some people.

The study was based on federal drug use data culled in 2002 and 2003. Other past studies publicized by federal officials Tuesday also point to a connection between marijuana use and the development of mental problems later on.

"New research being conducted here and abroad illustrates that marijuana use, particularly during the teen years, can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide, and schizophrenia," said White House Drug Czar John P. Walters. "This press conference is a public health warning."

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This original report cited by Director John Walters of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy was originally produced by the Office of Applied Studies (OAS). This office is an arm of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is a part of the US Depatment of Health & Human Services. The report is derived from a statistical study conducted in 2002 and 2003 called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

A review of the original report and the data contained therein is helpful to put the Director's comments and the ONDCP's press release into context.

Some personal observations of the data: Approximately 50 - 60% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 - 49 reported having used marijuana at some point in their life. Interestingly, this percentage drops to less than 30% for those aged 50 years or older. Of those that reported using marijuana, most (54.8%) reported that they had first tried it before they turned 18. The percentage of marijuana users that tried it before age 12 was 2.1%.

The prevalence of those that reported serious mental illnesses (SMI) within the past year decreases steadily as a function of age. For 18 - 25 year old males, the percentage is 10.3%, while 50+ year old males reported SMI only 4% of the time. Interestingly, the SMI percentages for women in each group are significantly larger; the SMI percentages for 18-25 year and 50+ old females were 16.8 and 6.6%, respectively.

Finally, the data can be analyzed to determine the prevalence of SMI in the past year as a function of age when marijuana was first used. In other words, the survey data was parsed to determine the percentage of people that (a) reported SMI in the past year, AND (b) reported marijuana use at some point in their lifetime. Then, a chart was constucted that grouped people that reported (a) + (b) vs. age of first use. The bar graph shows that those that reported both (a) AND (b) AND (c) tried marijuana before age 12 (21%) were twice as likely to have SMI than those that had their first marijuana experience after age 18.

Personally, I hate statistical studies. I took statistics classes in high school and college, so I'm pretty familiar with the theories that support the ability to draw complicated conclusions from survey data like that used for this report. I can only assume (hope?) that the fine folks at OAS employ some decent statisticians. Nonetheless, to my way of thinking, nothing beats an old-fashioned repeatable experiment with controls & direct evidence of causality.

To be honest, It doesn't surprise me that people that tried weed before age 12 also report mental illnesses. I figure that your family situation has to be pretty screwed up to find yourself in a place where you would be doing drugs at such a young age. In fact, I think that a screwed up family situation would have more to do with the mental illness rate than the actual weed use. In other words, I'd bet the rent money that marijuana use and serious mental illnesses are indicators for the same root cause: a crappy family life.

As a final point, it is probably unlikely that this story would have seen the light of day had the study had found no link between marijuana use and mental illness.

Additional information:
The press release from the Office of National Drug Control Policy can be found at the first link. The second link is a pdf version of the report generated by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The NSDUH home page is at the third link. Presumably, one can access the original survey data there.

Related News Links:

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posted on May, 4 2005 @ 10:26 PM
I hate to say it a lot of propaganda hogwash but I will anyway. Wheres the statistics on kids raiding their parents pill cabinets and the stats for the kids prescribed ritalin or sleeping tablets or even anti depressents. What is mental illness anyhow, how does one define normal.........


posted on May, 4 2005 @ 10:57 PM
Yes, of course it is propaganda. That's what press releases are for.

The survey did have specific methodology for identifying and defining mental illness - though some error is probably introduced by the fact that the survey respondant had to identify themselves as mentally ill. Would you trust a person who admits to being mentally ill to truthfully and accurately respond to a survey?

posted on May, 4 2005 @ 11:27 PM
More Bunk from Government.
A survey is not science.
Also the recent studies from outside the US said that kids who were pre-disposed to mental illness "may" become mentally ill if they start smoking herb at an early age.

...or they "may" not, or they "may" become mentally ill with or without drugs.

And we know the Bush Adminstration plans to get every kid and every citizen screened
for mental illness, get them on drugs, followed by taking away their right to have a weapon legally.

Who made the announcement? The Drug Czar. Not the Surgeon General, why is that?
Because the Surgeon General wouldn't have to lie to keep his job, the Drug Czar does.

What the adminstration should be answering for is why 4 out of 6 vets coming home
from Iraq are diagnosed with mental illness,
not why 4% of a percentage of 150,000,000 marijuana
smokers who started smoking before 12 are mentally ill.

The poster of this story is correct about the family life of kids under 12 who get high.
Something is definately wrong there, and that should be looked into before any
relevance of drug use is even considered.

First the kid has to be unattended by a parent to use the drug,
then has to have a parent who doesn't notice the kid is using drugs.
Which leads to the conclusion that the child is mostly neglected.
Or does it? IN this nation, the way the school system works, kids are un-supervised from 3 or more hours after school because of the school vs. work schedule.

This schedule provided me the perfect opportunity to become an 11 year old alcoholic in 5th grade, home from school at 3:05, into the cabinet, mix up the southern comfort in ice cream and soda, vegtate in front of the TV, suck down the booze in a straw, be dippy by the time Mom and Dad got home around 5:30-6PM. Until I realized what was happening (cravings, aggressive behavior when I couldn't drink) and stopped myself.

Of course "the system" will never look at its own faults, and blame itself.

posted on May, 4 2005 @ 11:30 PM

I hate to say it a lot of propaganda hogwash but I will anyway. Wheres the statistics on kids raiding their parents pill cabinets and the stats for the kids prescribed ritalin or sleeping tablets or even anti depressents. What is mental illness anyhow, how does one define norma

I'm pretty sure this has been known in Australia for many years that marijuana usage can attribute to mental illness. My uncle got mentally ill actually after many years of heavy marijuana usage, so i dont know if its a lot of 'hogwash'

posted on May, 4 2005 @ 11:30 PM
Who isn't insane? Only time I will ever stop is for these damn invasions of privacy!

Here piss in this cup... eh? how bout ya just hold out yer hands!

Do you realise how much money this govt blows on putting people in jail for smoking a plant in it's orignal form which grows from the ground and doesn't require any sort of refinement for you to get off?

"schtick that in yer pipe and schmoke it"

what about massive amounts of alcohol, are you telling me that doesnt lead to mental illness...

hey lets take a look at all those "hardcore" drugaddicts, how many of them are alcoholics, how many of them started with booze and not weed?

When I was going to HS there were ppl who wouldnt try weed but hell yeah they're snort a fat ass gagger any day.

[edit on 4-5-2005 by Lysergic]

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 12:25 AM

Originally posted by drfunk

I hate to say it a lot of propaganda hogwash but I will anyway. Wheres the statistics on kids raiding their parents pill cabinets and the stats for the kids prescribed ritalin or sleeping tablets or even anti depressents. What is mental illness anyhow, how does one define norma

I'm pretty sure this has been known in Australia for many years that marijuana usage can attribute to mental illness. My uncle got mentally ill actually after many years of heavy marijuana usage, so i dont know if its a lot of 'hogwash'

What other drugs did he do might I ask, or at least how many did he own up to doing??? Just curious.

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 12:41 AM

here's a study that proves it's ablity to possibly prolong human life. Also a good thing to read if you smoke cigarettes, Why is it that tobacco is the legal substance in this situation?

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:01 AM
serious question. which came first the chicken or the egg? this "statistical reserch" amounts to the same thjing. did mariwana actualy cause the rise in "mental illness", or was it that those suffering mental illness are more prone to want to get high? perfectly valid question. as a child who had severe hardships from peers while growing up (which in itself could cause "mental illness"), i used anything as an escape. yes i smoked up. but before that i used sugar. amusingly sugar has always had a more noticeable effect than eithr booze or weed.

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:03 AM
Eyehorus, let's see what your link has to say.

It is written from a pro-marijuana-relegalization perspective

Bias source, not even a medical source....and btw Marijuana does have at least 4-6 times the cancerigenous substances that tobacco has. Marijuna has more chemicals than tobacco also.

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:09 AM
Just pointing out that government and these supposed "private" laboratories has bias too. The capabilities of people to understand the intricate workings of the human mind, are nonexisent. Ever think that theses kids that are using these drugs come from families that don't put enough limitations on their children? Do these kids have too much freedom to experiment with these substances at a young age? Ever think that bad parenting could be the cause, just maybe? Just look for the signs of neglect and abuse and you will find them right in front of you. Abnormal Psychology is a realm that you don't even want to toy with, it is all in the development of the child.

[edit on 5-5-2005 by Eyeofhorus]

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:13 AM
i'll give you that that is a possibility. but considder this. tobaco- highly addictive (i should know have tried to quit more times than i can count). weed- not chemicaly addictive, can be mentaly addictive. (again i should know i was a heavy weed user, quit no sweat for years. started to use again, stopped when i wanted to no prob.)

so that being the case which one should be legal? i know i would rather see my sister's kids (i have no kids) smokeing weed than tobaco. i say this because though both may be bad for your health it is far easyer to stop smokeing weed.

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:17 AM
Some info from the American Psychiatry Association

  1. 20 percent of the ailments for which Americans seek a doctor's care are related to anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks, that interfere with their ability to live normal lives.

  2. Some 8 million to 14 million Americans suffer from depression each year. As many as one in five Americans will suffer at least one episode of major depression during their lifetimes.

  3. About 12 million children under 18 suffer from mental disorders such as autism, depression and hyperactivity.

  4. Two million Americans suffer from schizophrenic disorders and 300,000 new cases occur each year.

  5. 15.4 million American adults and 4.6 million adolescents experience serious alcohol-related problems, and another 12.5 million suffer from drug abuse or dependence.

  6. Nearly one-fourth of the elderly who are labeled as senile actually suffer some form of mental illness that can be effectively treated.

  7. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

People suffering from mental illnesses often do not recognize them for what they are. About 27 percent of those who seek medical care for physical problems actually suffer from troubled emotions.

They Also say this

These widespread assumptions about mental illnesses also overlook one other important reality: as many as eight in ten people suffering from mental illnesses can effectively return to normal, productive lives if they receive appropriate treatment--treatment which is readily available. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals can offer their patients a wide variety of effective treatments.

Except 40 million Americans are without health insurance and 7.7 million American adults are without jobs, and on any given day there are 700,000 homeless people, a total of 2 million per year.
So there we have nearly 50 million people who cannot afford or get access to psychiatric help and especially to afford the medications they might need to be treated for mental illness.

Result: 57,000 suicides in the united states per year, 36,000 murders, 2.2 million in jail.

FYI treatment for mental illness is not something you can just stop either. Among the side effects of Paxil withdrawl, for instance, is an electric shock to the brain sensation, like a lightning bolt from the left to right side with an audible "zap" noise for the sufferer. Its been noted that withdrawl is so painful for these people they often commit suicide rather than continue take the drug or continue suffering the withdrawl.

A quick Google for "stress related mental illness" got me these tidbits of data

Illness & Utilization
● 75% - 90% of all doctor visits are now stress-related.
The American Institute of Stress

● Over 50% of prescription medications are stress-related.

● Over 50% of work days lost annually in the U.S. are stress-related.
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Healthcare Costs
● Healthcare costs are accelerating at a 12% - 25% annual rate, which will DOUBLE in costs over the
next five years if left unchallenged.
Health Care Expectations: Future Strategy &
Direction, Hewitt Assoc.

Heart Disease
● $117 billion annual costs of treatment & lost productivity affects 13,500,000 people.
Archives of Internal Medicine

Lost Revenue
● $150 billion is lost to stress annually in lost productivity, absenteeism, poor decision-making, stress-related mental illness and substance abuse.
Best’s Review - Property-Casualty Insurance Edition

Poor Job Performance
● Over 46% of all employees are severely stressed
to the point of burnout.
Washington Business Group on Health

● 33% of Americans suffer from insomnia.
American Journal of Psychiatry

● Over 15% of doctors’ patients seek treatment
for anxiety.
British Medical Journal

Mental Illness
● 1 out of 4 American workers suffer a mental health
problem rooted in stress.
Best’s Review - Property-Casualty Insurance Edition
● Reducing mental stress proved more beneficial than
exercise for heart disease.
Archives of Internal Medicine (Vol.157)

Hey guess what reduces stress and would be free if not for racist mindless laws?
If you geussed Cannabis, you win a big bong hit!
Guess what the Israeli military is giving their soldiers as of July 2004 for Combat related stress?
Yep, Cannabis!
Guess what the US military is giving their soldiers for the same problem?
MDMA - Ecstacy, a synthetic drug made in Israel.

If you read the report sited in this thread, you might be scratching your head about why more woman are mentally ill than men. Apparently its physiological and has NOTHING TO DO WITH CANNABIS

As reported on

You might as well face it, you’re addicted to lurve . . . the lyric is true, say scientists who claim the mechanism that gets us hooked on drugs also keeps us faithfully fretting about what to do for Valentine’s Day.


They found that a reward mechanism known to cause addiction is also likely to regulate pair bonding between faithful animals such as voles, and celebs like Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The study discovered that two receptors at the front of a prairie vole’s brain, which are associated with pair-bonding, are also involved in the system that causes addiction to sex, food and drugs. The scientists say falling in love stimulates this addictive response. ....

The finding, in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, could also help our understanding of social-attachment disorders such as autism.

More evidence that emotions are on the brain comes from a study showing that oestrogen makes women more vulnerable to stress.

Brings new meaning to the term "you animal", doesn't it?
Primordial pair bonding instincts are equivelant to drug addiction.

I can tell from experience that the whole "love thing" = "mental illness".
I've seen so many people fall down a bottomless pit because of "love", including myself, in my younger, dumber days.

"Love Kills"- This is a public health warning.

[edit on 5-5-2005 by Legalizer]

[edit on 5-5-2005 by Legalizer]

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:29 AM
Great post, when do I get to collect that prize????

You all have worse things to fear than pot. Try attacking something that is not naturally occring in nature. Like ecstacy for instance, PCP, crack, all of these truly caustic substances.

"man, you in here fo' sum marajhuanna?"

"Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck (word removed) for coke. Now that's an addiction. You ever suck some (explicative deleted) for marijuana? "

"boo this man! (classroom boos and hisses)"

-half baked

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 01:56 AM
Basic anatomy, the avarage human brain dosn't fully devlop until age 17. Of Coarse it's going to cause mental illness! So does Alcohol, tobacco, and yes, even certian medications. They are all neurological stimuliants that can affect the brain especially during the development stages.

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 02:02 AM

Originally posted by Muaddib
Eyehorus, let's see what your link has to say.

It is written from a pro-marijuana-relegalization perspective

Bias source, not even a medical source....

You want some "un-biased" sources?

"One of the safest therapeutically active substances known...."

Drug Enforcement Administration Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, 1988
Unbiased enough for you? I can go on for hours.

"The commission has come to the conclusion that the moderate use of hemp
drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all. ... ...moderate use of
hemp... appears to cause no appreciable physical injury of any kind,... no
injurious effects on the mind... [and] no moral injury whatever."

Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894

"Cannabis smoking does not lead directly to mental or physical
deterioration... Those who have consumed marijuana for a period of years showed no mental or physical deterioration which may be attributed to the drug."

LaGuardia Commission Report, 1944

"Having reviewed all the material available to us we find ourselves in
agreement with the conclusion reached by the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission appointed by the Government of India (1893-94) and the New York Mayor's Committee (1944 - LaGuardia)that the long-term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has
no harmful effects" "the long-asserted dangers of cannabis are exaggerated and that the related law is socially damaging, if not unworkable"


"Cannabis is remarkably safe. Although not harmless, it is surely less
toxic than most of the conventional medicines it could replace if it were
legally available. Despite its use by millions of people over thousands of years,
cannabis has never caused an overdose death.

Testimony of Professor Lester Grinspoon, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, before the
Crime Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C., October 1, 1997

"Marijuana is beneficial to many patients"
-Jocelyn Elders, USA Surgeon General

"No significant health consequences to chronic cannabis smokers"

Cannabis in Costa Rica: A Study of Chronic Marijuana Use Institute of Human Issues

"Marijuana Use and Mortality" April 1997 American Journal of Public
Health". "Relatively few adverse clinical effects from the chronic use of marijuana
have been documented in humans. However, the criminalization of marijuana use
may itself be a health hazard, since it may expose the users to violence and
criminal activity."

The Kaiser Permanente study

"Cannabis can be used on an episodic but continual basis without evidence
of social or psychic dysfunction. In many users the term dependence with its
obvious connotations, probably is mis-applied... The chief opposition to
the drug rests on a moral and political, and not toxicologic, foundation".

The USA Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy 1987

"Cannabis use was not associated with any particular ethnic group or with
the onset of psychosis."

"Incidence of psychotic illness in London: comparison of ethnic groups, M King, E Coker, G Leavey, A Hoare, E Johnson-Sabine, University Department of Psychiatry, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London NW3 2QG Department of Psychiatry, St Ann's Hospital, London N15 3TH Correspondence to: Dr King.

"It was impossible to establish any criteria for an independent
classification of cannabis psychosis, since symptoms recorded were either shared in high proportion with the other 2 groups or they occurred too seldom to make such an independent diagnosis"

A retrospective study of symptom patterns of cannabis-induced psychosis, Imade
AGT, Ebie JC; Acta Psychiatr Scand 1991: 83: 134-136

Note the bogus study, pinpointed in this thread, doesn't look into other factors at all, just cannabis and age.

"A great many assumptions have been made in extrapolating from health
effects observed in laboratory animals to the probable health effects of
equivalent doses and patterns of use in humans. In addition, there may be problems in
extrapolating studies with pure THC to human experience with crude
cannabis preparations. The plant material contains many other compounds, both
cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid in nature and the possibility must always be
considered that differences between experimental and clinical observations may be due in part to the effects of these other substances."
World Health Organization

''We did not view marijuana as a significant health problem--as it was
not....Nobody dies from marijuana. Marijuana smoking, in fact, if one
wants to be honest, is a source of pleasure and amusement to countless millions of
people in America, and it continues to be that way.''

Peter Bourne, President Carter's Drug Czar
Source: PBS's Frontline: ''Drug Wars,'' October 2000

March 20, 1997, Sydney, Australia:
The health of long-term marijuana users is virtually no different than
that of the general population, according to the latest findings by the National
Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Australia. The study, which involved
interviews with 268 marijuana smokers and 31 non-using partners and family members,
is one of the first ever conducted in Australia to determine the effects of
long-term marijuana use. Its findings were reported by the Sydney Morning Herald
last month. "We don't see evidence of high psychological disturbance among the
[long- term users,]" said chief investigator David Reilly. "The results seem
unremarkable; the exceptional thing is that the respondents are unexceptional."
The Lancet, vol 352, number 9140, November 14 1998:
"We.. say that on the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in
cannabis has little ill-effect on health, and that decisions to ban or
legalize cannabis should be based on other considerations."

"Between 2 and 5 per thousand cannabis users get into trouble."

Dutch Cannabis Policy Update
Thats .002% to .005% of the Dutch Cannabis users
Meanwhile the USA arrests 730,000+ cannabis users annually, or 10% of US cannabis users, per year.

Originally posted by Muaddib
and btw Marijuana does have at least 4-6 times the cancerigenous substances that tobacco has.

Not one single study in over 200 years has linked cannabis to cancer.
Cannabis has been in use for 10,000 years.

Originally posted by Muaddib
Marijuna has more chemicals than tobacco also.

Tobacco has radioactive lead and and another radioactive element the plant naturally
draws from the soil, soil that is pumped full of toxic fertilizers, just to make the damn thing grow.
The radioactive elements stay in the tissue lining of the lungs for 15 years.
Tobacco withdrawl has been linked to the onset of psychoctic behavior in those already mentally ill, so much so that the mentally ill under treatment are allowed to continue smoking to regulate their behavior to "normal" levels.
NO Cannabis user smokes 20 to 40 or more cannabis joints a day.
Meanwhile it is the "norm" to smoke at least 20 cigarettes of addictive tobacco a day because withdrawl from the drug begins 5 to 20 minutes after using the drug.

There are 421 chemicals in cannabis, 61 are unique to cannabis.

Smoking one pack of cigarettes per day for a full year leaves one quart of tar in your
Tar contains over 4,000 chemicals, 37 of which are known to cause cancer!

Maybe you want to retract your misinformation, now that you know its false.

[edit on 5-5-2005 by Legalizer]

[edit on 5-5-2005 by Legalizer]

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 02:20 AM

"man, you in here fo' sum marajhuanna?"

"Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck (word removed) for coke. Now that's an addiction. You ever suck some (explicative deleted) for marijuana? "

"boo this man! (classroom boos and hisses)"

lol, you forgot the shout from someone in the crowd;

"I seen him!"

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 02:27 AM
you're right, and i thought i had seen the movie too may times, turns out i havent seen it enough. I am so ashamed...wait what were we talking about? Man i'm hungry, i hope taco bell is till open.

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 02:45 AM
People can debunk all they like.

Those of us who actually work in the Mental Health field, dealing with it day in day out, already knew the outcome.

But hey...spark up another will help keep us employed...

posted on May, 5 2005 @ 03:08 AM
Statistics also show a huge amount of psychiatrists who neck themselves and a hugely high incidence of mental health workers who have mental "issues" of their own......

Let them eat cake i say.......

Oh I am sure if you wish to debunk my post google can give exact estimates......

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