New study finds link between cannabis use in teens and schizophrenia, regardless of how often they’re consuming.
Cannabis and teen drug use are topics that have long concerned us. While there’s a lot of stuff we don’t understand about cannabis, the plant is generally thought of as something that is relatively safe. In the case of teens, things are a bit different. Since their brains are in development, the side effects associated with cannabis can be more unexpected.
One area of concern is cannabis use and its impact on teens and conditions like schizophrenia. A new study found some links between teen cannabis use and schizophrenia that are more alarming than expected, with the research suggesting there’s a link between the two no matter whether teens use the drug frequently or infrequently.
The study conducted an overview of all of the material published on cannabis use in teens and its impact on schizophrenia from the year 2010 until 2020. They found that high and low-frequency cannabis users were six times more likely to develop schizophrenia than those who never ingested cannabis.
While the study raises some important questions and some cause for alarm, it’s important to note that an overview of several studies has some caveats, like defining how each study categorizes low frequency and high frequency, and the type of cannabis that is being ingested. For example, the study defined low-frequency cannabis users as those teens who consume cannabis twice a week, something that’s quite regular, especially when discussing subjects between the ages of 12 to 18.
Researchers looking into the topic of teen cannabis users and schizophrenia have no way of knowing whether or not cannabis makes it more likely for people to develop this condition. They just know there’s a link between the two. People between the ages of 12 to 18 are in that period where they’ll start exploring drugs, while also developing symptoms of conditions like schizophrenia. Then there are also genetic predispositions, which make researchers question whether cannabis causes schizophrenia or if teens with a predisposition for this condition are more likely to seek cannabis.
This topic creates a set of conditions that are difficult to handle without resulting to fear-mongering. Still, it might be helpful to think of cannabis as harmless yet a topic that should be broached carefully when people have a predisposition for mental health conditions, whether they’re schizophrenia or something like anxiety or depression.
As is the case with cannabis, more research is needed in order to get a full picture of the drug, its capabilities, and its risks.