Study Says Stress And Cannabis Exposure In Adolescence Can Lead To Anxiety Disorders

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Cannabis might have made a positive reputation for itself, but CBD is not the only component it contains. Cannabidiol has several health-helping properties. It can help reduce pain as well as inflammation. It can take down stress and anxiety and help in the treatment of ADHD, epilepsy, etc. You’d find many arthritis patients and insomniacs preferring CBD too. Unfortunately, cannabis comprises of THC as well.

THC has some therapeutic properties and it too is believed to be helpful in pain management. But it has a psychoactive nature, meaning it can make one high and an addict. This is why, smoking pot is dangerous. Now a study further speaks against cannabis use. It says that adolescents’ use of the plant along with exposure to stressful conditions can lead to anxiety. Below is a look at what this report says.

What Did This Study Reveal?

A study carried out earlier this year on laboratory mice showed that cannabis and stress exposure during one’s adolescence could lead to anxiety disorder because of the pathological fear that develops. This research has been published in the Neuropharmacology journal and carried out at the Pompeu Fabra University’s Neuropharmacology Laboratory-NeuroPhar.

Cannabis use is common worldwide, and most people start using it in their adolescent years which is problematic because this is the stage in which the brain properly starts maturing. For this study, researchers analyzed the effects that stress and THC, which is the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, had during the period of 12 to 17 years of one’s age.

Normally, whatever one faces, the fear reaction of it goes down over time, a process known as fear extinction. But when fear extinction doesn’t occur, anxiety disorders, PTSD, or panic attacks happen. The tests that were carried out on mice in this study found that THC as well as stress exposure impaired fear extinction in adult years. However, this effect was only noted when THC and stress exposure was simultaneous not when it was separate.

It was also noted that neural activity was also reduced in some parts of the brain which hinted at a dysregulation in the brain circuits that regulate fear. One of the researchers of this study, Rafael Maldonado, said that stressful situations only worsen the effects of cannabis.

Maldonado said, “Our findings highlight the influence of environmental factors such as stress on the harmful effects of the exposure to cannabis during early ages and suggest that the consequences of early cannabis use greatly depend on the environment of its use.”

Verdict

Cannabis may have a health-helping aspect since it contains cannabidiol, but it also comprises of a major psychoactive compound, THC. A new research reveals that cannabis intake in one’s adolescent years along with exposure to stressful situations can impair the fear extinction function of the brain which can lead to long-term anxiety. Therefore, it is best to control one’s stress and not take cannabis in one’s teen years as that’s the period when the brain is maturing.

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