Health

Tracing the Link Between Marijuana and Mental Health

Our knowledge about (and acceptance of) cannabis has expanded rapidly in recent years. But researchers are still probing the link between weed, depression and other mental health markers.

By Cari ShaneAug 23, 2022 7:00 AM
Marijuana smoke
(Credit: Moha El-Jaw/Shutterstock)

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There was a panic over pot in the 1930s.

When the movie Reefer Madness came out in 1936, the criminalization of marijuana was already in the works. The film fell into a popular 1930s genre called “exploitation movie.” Described by IMDB as a “cautionary tale,” the film portrays a group of innocent teens who become addicted to “reefer cigarettes,” with the blame falling squarely on three marijuana dealers. Under the influence, the teens hit and kill a pedestrian with a car, shoot and kill a fellow teen and beat a man to death with a stick. In the end (spoiler alert!), the teens jump out of a window and die.

Nearly 100 years later, the story surrounding cannabis in the U.S. has evolved, to say the least. As more and more research is published about marijuana, there’s mounting evidence that rather than being a menace to society, cannabis — which is banned in most countries — has numerous potential benefits in the physical, neurological and psychiatric realms.

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