A study that was recently released has found that adolescents and young adults who frequently use marijuana may do so in order to control negative emotions and moods. According to researchers marijuana use may provide temporary relief but in the long run this attempt to self medicate can lead to even more frequent negative emotions and moods as a result. According to the lead author of the study, Lydia A. Shrier, M.D., M.P.H. “Young people who use marijuana frequently experience an increase in negative affect in the 24 hours leading up to a use event, which lends strong support to an affect-regulation model in this population. One of the challenges is that people often may use marijuana to feel better but may feel worse afterward.”
Dr. Shrier went on to say “Marijuana use can be associated with anxiety and other negative states. People feel bad, they use, and they might momentarily feel better, but then they feel worse. They don’t necessarily link feeling bad after using with the use itself, so it can become a vicious circle.” She continued by stating “The study is unique in that it collected data in real time to assess mood and marijuana use events. The study thus was able to identify mood that was occurring in the 24 hours before marijuana use and compared it with mood at other times.” The study results have been published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. This study could help physicians and other medical professionals who want to treat chronic marijuana users more effectively.