The White House drug czar warned parents Friday that depressed teens are medicating themselves with marijuana, running risks of deeper depression...

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WASHINGTON — The White House drug czar warned parents Friday that depressed teens are medicating themselves with marijuana, running risks of deeper depression.

A report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy said that frequent marijuana use doubles a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety, based on data compiled from published studies.

The report cited a study saying that marijuana use increases the risk of developing mental disorders later in life by 40 percent. “In short, marijuana makes a bad situation worse,” said John Walters, director of the drug-control policy office.

Some addiction experts said the report stretches evidence by implying a causal link between smoking pot and developing mental illness that did not previously exist.

A British government advisory group said in an April report that there is not evidence to show “a causal relationship between the use of cannabis and the development of any affective disorder.”

Pressed at a news conference about the report’s claim that, “Using marijuana can cause depression and other mental illnesses,” Walters acknowledged there is no proof that one leads to another.

Among experts, opinions are mixed on the relationship among teens, depression and marijuana.

“Both conditions could be related to something else,” said Dr. Victor Reus, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco. “Depressed teens are more likely to exercise less, stay indoors and watch TV. Take your pick as to which one is causal.”

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, said many young people smoke pot and never become depressed.

She said evidence indicates genetic factors make some teens more vulnerable to mental disorders so marijuana can trigger their onset.