People tell us how smoking weed affects their mental health

Meanwhile, Myles, 31, has experienced positive effects of marijuana throughout the years.

He suffers from depression and smokes ‘a little’ every night to help himself sleep, but tells us about the importance of not replacing legal mental health aids such as antidepressants with weed.

‘I don’t smoke as much as I did when I was in my 20s, but I do smoke a little bit each night,’ said Myles.

‘I wouldn’t say it directly fires depression – that’s what antidepressants are for – but I get super anxious before bed (usually if I have work the next morning) and suffer from night terrors and sleep paralysis.

‘If this occurs, I usually step outside for a little joint and it helps me collect my thoughts and reason.

‘Pot usually helps me wake up feeling good, too. In contrast, I find if I’m hungover due to alcohol, I’ll be like a big sad rock that can’t move from my bed.

‘But it’s clearly subjective to each person, of course.’

As for negative effects, Myles has experienced some short-term memory issues – but only when he was a heavy smoker.

It also causes him the munchies, which makes him spend more money on food.

Tom, 32, started smoking cannabis when he was in his early teens.

It quickly became a regular habit, and although it helped boost his creativity when making music, it also caused him paranoia and depression.

‘I started smoking weed at 14; giggled for hours, felt rebellious and shared great times with friends,’ he said.

‘That rebellious act was a necessary part of growing up, of shaking off the judgement of my parents, of teachers. My childhood had been fairly normal, though like anyone I had some emotional baggage.

‘Then in my late teens I started to buy regularly.

‘I found it useful as fuel for my creativity, and for introspection. On the one hand I was starting to write some great music, but I was also becoming increasingly paranoid and depressed.

‘Thankfully I had close friends to support me, though they also encouraged me to smoke more. When I started university I smoked less regularly but the paranoia, anxiety and depression continued until I became suicidal.

‘In the following years, I smoked regularly – again as a form of self-medication – the introspection deepened, and it felt productive at the time, but with it came ever-deeper paranoia.

‘Eventually I dropped out of university and moved back in with my parents at the age of 23, which forced me to stop. After that I became so sensitive to it that I just didn’t enjoy it anymore.

‘All in all, it set my life back by several years.’

Just like other (illegal) drugs, marijuana is very individual in how it affects the person smoking it.

For some people, it can provide relief and relaxation, while for others, it increases mental health problems.

Whatever your personal choice, if you feel like you need help – get it.

Contact a healthcare professional, chat to your local GP or alternatively, reach out to FRANK – a confidential drugs advice service.

Need support?

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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