Research shows there is a strong link between cannabis and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. People who use cannabis frequently or in large amounts are most at risk of developing these problems – especially if mental health problems run in the family.
Young people who use cannabis may not experience associated mental health problems until later in life. Smoking cannabis weekly makes a young person twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder in their late 20s compared to someone who doesn’t use cannabis.
Mental health problems can lead to more general life problems, like conflict at home and at school/work, and financial issues. The effects of cannabis may seem to help ease depression, but its use is likely to make depression worse in the long term. People can become trapped in a cycle where cannabis both eases and causes their problems.
Cannabis may also trigger psychosis, although this is uncommon. Psychosis refers to a serious mental health condition, such as schizophrenia, where people can lose contact with reality, have hallucinations and delusions, and become paranoid.