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RSS FeedsCannabis use by young people may be tied to depression and anxiety, CAMH study finds
(The Star Toronto Raptors)


18 september 2019 23:00:13

Cannabis use by young people may be tied to depression and anxiety, CAMH study finds
(The Star Toronto Raptors)

Cannabis use in young people may be linked to increases in depression, anxiety and other neurological disorders, a new study out of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggests.In particular, the research found that subjects who regularly smoked pot had significantly higher levels of a protein in their brains that is elevated when there is inflammation within the organ.And in a 2015 study that was one of the most widely cited in CAMH history, such brain inflammation was clearly linked to depression and other neurological ailments.“This protein (known as TSPO) is a bio-marker of neuro-inflammation,” Dr. Romina Mizrahi, the paper’s senior author, said in an interview. “And in the past we have found an elevation of TSPO in depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) as well as in Alzheimer’s,” said Mizrahi, head of the centre’s Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention Clinic.The study looked at about 60 subjects with a median age of 23, about 24 of whom where longtime cannabis users and the rest abstainers. It was published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.Mizrahi and her team had believed that pot users would have significantly less inflammation than the abstainers.“In general, people who use cannabis use it as an anti-inflammatory,” she said. “Therefore we thought we’d find a reduction of this protein and quite to the contrary we found an increase … in regular cannabis users.”It’s unclear what role TSPO — which normally interplays with the mitochondria within a cell — plays in brain inflammation, just that it is a “proxy” indicator for such swelling.It’s also unknown what, if any, causal role inflammation plays in depressions and other neurological disorders, just that they often appear concurrently.But Mizrahi said brain inflammation may give drug makers a target for depression therapies. She will also look next at wheth ...

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