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Depression and Self Harm

Depression and Self Harm

A positive correlation exists between marijuana smokers and those diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). The specifics of this relationship are still under scrutiny, with researchers working to determine whether smoking marijuana causes depression, if depressed people are more prone to begin smoking, or some interplay between the two.

This research also extends to the concern of self-harm. NSSI (non-suicidal self-injury) occurs mainly in adolescents, the same demographic most likely to consume marijuana and the prime age for most depression diagnoses. Despite lacking a definite conclusion, a key finding among the majority of researchers is that marijuana, though it may ease some symptoms of depression, ultimately compounds low self-worth, anxiety, and other contributors to depression and self-harm. At Greater Boston Addiction Centers (GBAC), our marijuana rehab center outpatient program can replace faulty coping mechanisms with functional, long-lasting skills and strategies.

Contact us today at 877.920.6583 to learn how the risks of smoking weed could be keeping you from overcoming depression.

Effects of Depression on Drug Abuse

Several factors are attributed to depression, either external or internal, and it’s theorized that these factors contribute to marijuana use as well. For example, if a poor sleep schedule is contributing to one’s depression, they may turn to weed as a means of sedation and managing erratic sleep. Externally, living in an environment that induces extreme anxiety and lowers self-worth can be a major reason for depression and self-harm. Likewise, marijuana can serve to alleviate these problems temporarily.

Marijuana is functionally a coping mechanism in these cases. Notably, even if a coping mechanism seems to help, not all coping mechanisms work to address the root of the problem. Some can even worsen the problem, either by obfuscating it to the point where it is never internally addressed or by compounding another problem through, in this case, potential drug addiction.
Marijuana and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

Studies show that those who have attempted or performed NSSI are more likely to have smoked marijuana than those who have not. Why is this the case? Looking at the commonalities between reasons for non-suicidal self-injury and the effects of marijuana might reveal the answer.


  • Critically low self-esteem
  • Product of anxiety
  • Last resort of stress
  • Tension, seeking relief


  • Elevates mood
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Alleviates stress
  • Relaxes muscles and nerves

The two are like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together. It’s clear that marijuana manages several of the motivators for engaging in self-harm, even if only temporarily and with several drawbacks. What distinguishes this relationship from that of depression and marijuana is that smoking weed is often a response to self-harm rather than the cause. Most marijuana users do not engage in NSSI, but a significant portion of those seeking help for NSSI report some form of marijuana consumption.

Treatment for Adolescents at Greater Boston Addiction Centers

Recognizing that some coping mechanisms bury the problem even further is often the first step to realizing the unhealthy relationship between weed, depression, and self-harm. Each feeds into the next, creating a cycle of low self-esteem, anxiety, and a deceptive feeling of self-management.

Reach out today by calling 877.920.6583 or contact us online to find out how marijuana addiction treatment can help you overcome not just an unhealthy reliance on drugs but begin on your first steps to managing depression in a meaningful way. Our team of professionals is experienced in progressive, modern therapy styles.

  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Traditional outpatient program

Don’t ignore the signs that marijuana use is worsening your depression or self-harm propensities. There’s treatment suited for each of our client’s needs at Greater Boston Addiction Centers in the Needham, Massachusetts area.