Beware! Teenagers smoking pot two to three times in a week is linked to bipolar symptoms in later years, warns a recent study.
According to the University Of Warwick in Coventry, England researchers, adolescent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for future hypomania - often experienced as part of bipolar disorder.
The team wanted to test the association between adolescent cannabis use and hypomania (periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behaviour, reduced need for sleep) in early adulthood.
The findings indicated that adolescent cannabis use is an independent risk factor for future hypomania - periods of elated mood, over-active and excited behaviour and reduced need for sleep that are often experienced as part of bipolar disorder, and have a significant impact on day-to-day life.
Lead author Dr Steven Marwaha said that teenage cannabis use at least two to three times weekly is directly associated with suffering from symptoms of hypomania in later years.
Cannabis use was also found to mediate the association of both childhood sexual abuse and hypomania, and male gender and hypomania.
The results suggested that frequent adolescent cannabis use is likely to be a suitable target for interventions that may allay the risk of young people developing bipolar disorder.
Dr Marwaha explained that cannabis use in young people is common and associated with psychiatric disorders.
However, the prospective link between cannabis use and bipolar disorder symptoms has rarely been investigated.
"Adolescent cannabis use may be an independent risk factor for future hypomania, and the nature of the association suggests a potential causal link. As such it might be a useful target for indicated prevention of hypomania," Dr Marwaha noted
Cannabis is one of the most commonly used illegal substances of abuse in western countries.