Sexually Diverse Youths With Depression Use Cannabis More
In this study, they analyzed data collected from 1,548 adolescent boys and girls – including 128 LGB adolescents – as part of the Longitudinal Study of Child Development in Quebec supported by CIHR and the Institut de la Statistique du Qubec.
‘Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth experience more depressive symptoms that drive them to use cannabis more.’
The participants were followed from the age of five months and the study is based on their responses to questionnaires collected at ages 13, 15 and 17.
This study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reported that there is an association between depressive symptoms at age 15 and increased cannabis use at age 17 is five times stronger among LGB youth.
This relationship may signal a practice of LGB youth self-medicating with cannabis to cope with depressive symptoms. The use of cannabis for these purposes can also indicate that other sources of support for depressive symptoms are lacking or inadequate for the realities of LGB youth.
“The difference between the depression-cannabis relationship and the anxiety-cannabis relationship could indicate different realities that LGB youth would experience, particularly with respect to their public display of their minority sexual orientation,” said London-Nadeau, a doctoral student and CIHR Vanier Scholar in the Department of Psychology at UdeM and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre.
The researcher believes that social factors related to the experience of a minority sexual orientation will play an important role in both cannabis use and mental health challenges and the relationship between the two among adolescents.
This study also emphasizes the need for youth services, particularly mental health services, to better understand the issues specific to sexual diversity communities.
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