San Diego health officials last week highlighted the mental health-related risks of marijuana, particularly frequent use of high-potency cannabis among youth.
The potency of cannabis — measured by the amount of THC found in products — has been on the rise for years, with a roughly 0.20 percent increase every year from 1970 to 2017, according to a study published by the Society for the Study of Addiction. THC is the chemical that gives cannabis its effect.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cites various studies, regular use of marijuana, especially high-potency cannabis, is a risk factor for psychosis and mental health disorders such as schizophrenia.
Among youth, the risk is greater.
It’s for this reason that officials with Family Health Centers of San Diego, Scripps Mercy Hospital and Marijuana Prevention Initiative urged parents last week to talk to their children early and often about the risks. The Marijuana Prevention Initiative held a news conference Thursday at the City Heights Family Health Center.
“Not all smokers get lung cancer, but it’s a risk. Similarly, not everyone who uses cannabis will get psychosis, but the risk is significant,” said Dr. Joe Sepulveda, Family Health Centers’ chief of psychiatry and medical director for Substance Use Disorder Services.
Marijuana was the primary substance used by youth ages 12 to 17 in San Diego County treatment programs in 2020-21, according to county data….