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Cannabis Use Linked to Increased Risk for Mental Health Issues

People who use cannabis are twice as likely to have mental health issues as those who do not.

These are the findings of a recent study published by Statistics Netherlands—known in Dutch as the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS). CBS is the Dutch governmental institution that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands.

Carried out between 2007 and 2009, researchers studied 18,500 people and found that more than four percent of 15- to 65-year-olds had smoked cannabis during the previous month. More than a quarter of this group reported smoking cannabis on a daily or almost-daily basis.

Cannabis—also known as marijuana—is a recreational drug used worldwide. It is only exceeded in popularity by alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Estimates of those who have tried the drug in the United States alone exceed 100 million.

There has also been notable interest in the use of cannabis for medical conditions including neurogenic pain, movement disorders, glaucoma and asthma.

This recent study found that nearly 20 percent of male cannabis users indicated they had psychological problems versus nearly 10 percent of nonusers. Similarly, the findings indicated that more than 28 percent of female users had psychological problems versus more than 14 percent of nonusers, according to CBS.

The most common complaints associated with mental health were nervousness, depression, unhappiness or restlessness.

“People who reported to have smoked cannabis in the past 30 days in the period 2007-2009, feel less healthy mentally or psychologically than non-cannabis users,” CBS wrote in a statement.

No notable differences to physical health were reported between users and non-users.    

Of those reported to have smoked cannabis, the study found that more than four percent had used the drug within the last 30 days. Statistics for men were higher, with six percent having smoked cannabis over the previous month and only two percent of women reporting the same.

The consumption rate for 20- to 25-year-olds was particularly high, said CBS, with more than 15 percent reporting use during the previous 30 days. In this age group, the female consumption rate was highest when compared to females in other age groups, although it remained much lower than the male rate.  

The lowest cannabis consumption rate is found in the age category 50 to 65.

Of the four percent who reported using cannabis over the past 30 days, roughly one quarter of this group reported consumption on a daily or almost-daily basis. Specifically, more than 26 percent of men versus more than 20 percent of women indicated use on a daily or almost daily basis.

More than 40 percent of female users and nearly 30 percent of male users smoked cannabis less than one time a week.

Source: Statistics Netherlands

Cannabis Use Linked to Increased Risk for Mental Health Issues

Selena Chavis

APA Reference
Chavis, S. (2018). Cannabis Use Linked to Increased Risk for Mental Health Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 8 Oct 2010)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.