Author: Sharon Levy

Marijuana use and psychotic disorders in teens: Is there a correlation?

Teen smoking marijuana
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

Marijuana use during adolescence is highly correlated with an increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder, and marijuana is thought to play at least a partial causal role in this relationship.

In a study published today in JAMA Pediatrics, we found that among adolescents presenting for routine medical care who reported marijuana use in the past year, approximately four in 10 reported experiencing at least one psychotic symptom during or shortly after using marijuana. While the neurological mechanisms of these symptoms are not well understood, our findings are concerning and need to be studied further.

This study is the first to document the rate of psychotic symptoms experienced during marijuana use; our findings can be considered a baseline for comparison as the variety, strength and formulation of marijuana-based products proliferates.

Read the study in JAMA Pediatrics and learn more about Boston Children’s Adolescent Substance Abuse and Addiction Program (ASAP).

About our experts:

Dr. Sharon Levy headshot

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, is the director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and an associate professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Elissa Weitzman headshotElissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc, is an associate scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Teens and marijuana use: ‘Avoidance is best’

Adolescents-marijuana

As of Dec. 15, adult recreational use of marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. The national conversation — often portraying marijuana as benign or even healthful — along with changes in marijuana policy, means that fewer high-school students believe marijuana use is harmful.

The retail sale of marijuana stands to normalize use, further reducing barriers to youth initiation and potentially decreasing adults’ concerns regarding marijuana use by adolescent children. Pediatricians are in a unique position to provide accurate information on the health effects of marijuana on the developing brain and to advise adolescents and their parents that from a health perspective, no use is best. …Read More