Associations of Cannabis and Cigarette Use with Depression and Anxiety at Age 18: Findings from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

Suzanne H Gage, Matthew R Hickman, Jon Heron, Marcus R Munafò, Glyn Lewis, John A A Macleod, Stanley Zammit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
219 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Substance use is associated with common mental health disorders, but the causal effect of specific substances is uncertain. We investigate whether adolescent cannabis and cigarette use is associated with incident depression and anxiety, while attempting to account for confounding and reverse causation.

METHODS: We used data from ALSPAC, a UK birth cohort study, to investigate associations between cannabis or cigarettes (measured at age 16) and depression or anxiety (measured at age 18), before and after adjustment for pre-birth, childhood and adolescent confounders. Our imputed sample size was 4561 participants.

RESULTS: Both cannabis (unadjusted OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.26, 1.80) and cigarette use (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.16, 1.61) increased the odds of developing depression. Adjustment for pre-birth and childhood confounders partly attenuated these relationships though strong evidence of association persisted for cannabis use. There was weak evidence of association for cannabis (fully adjusted OR 1.30, 95% CI 0.98, 1.72) and insufficient evidence for association for cigarette use (fully adjusted OR = 0.97, 95% CI 0.75, 1.24) after mutually adjusting for each other, or for alcohol or other substance use. Neither cannabis nor cigarette use were associated with anxiety after adjustment for pre-birth and childhood confounders.

CONCLUSIONS: Whilst evidence of association between cannabis use and depression persisted after adjusting for pre-term and childhood confounders, our results highlight the difficulties in trying to estimate and interpret independent effects of cannabis and tobacco on psychopathology. Complementary methods are required to robustly examine effects of cannabis and tobacco on psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0122896
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2015

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Tobacco and Alcohol

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