- Largest study of its kind found that 7% of adult depression could be prevented
- Drug has also been linked to suicidal thoughts and attempts
- Researchers say tackling the use of millions of under 18s should be a priority
PUBLISHED: 14 February 2019
Smoking cannabis in your teenage years raises the risk of depression and suicide in later life, a landmark new study has found.
Researchers from the US and UK have revealed the drug could impair a child's brain to the extent it triggers mental health disorders later in life.
In the largest research of its kind, experts from Oxford University and McGill University estimated that over half a million adults in the UK and US could be saved from mental health disorders by avoiding the drug as a teenager.
The teams have now warned that cannabis, legal in several US states and used by millions of young people is a significant public health risk with 'devastating consequences'. They have urgently called for officials to make tackling use of the drug a priority.
'It's a big public health and mental health problem, we think,' co-author Professor Andrea Cipriani, from the University of Oxford, said.
'The number of people who are exposed to cannabis, especially in this vulnerable age, is very high and I think this should be a priority for public health and the mental health sector.'
The researchers, at McGill University and the University of Oxford, analysed data from 11 studies involving more than 23,000 individuals.