Cannabis and psychosis have long been linked, even if the connection is not understood. A new study sheds some light on the issue.
One of cannabis’ most concerning connections is the one it has with psychosis. While not wholly understood, this link is significant, with several studies indicating that people who smoke large amounts of weed on a daily basis are five times more likely to develop psychosis than others, depending on the age in which marijuana is first consumed and the individual’s genetic vulnerabilities. Now, new study provides some much-needed information and context on the topic.
Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study looked into the connection between schizophrenia and cannabis and tried to provide answers to a question that has long been unanswered; does cannabis use cause schizophrenia, or do people who suffer from schizophrenia are more likely to seek out the drug?
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The study looked into young subjects, all within the ages of 13-16, who filled out annual self-reports of past-year cannabis use and psychotic symptoms. The findings spotted clear links between frequent cannabis use and more psychotic symptoms. Subjects who reported cannabis use in the previous year were more likely to experience psychotic symptoms a year afterward, indicating some form of causation.
Still, this evidence isn’t foolproof. Many more studies need to be conducted to have a better understanding of the issue, and to know how to address it properly, especially in the case of children and teens, who are at higher risk for harm when exposing their young brains to cannabis.
While studies like this can be scary for cannabis proponents, they are necessary for having a thorough understanding of the plant. As cannabis gets legalized across states, responsible parties should inform consumers, especially teens, about the harms of cannabis and the serious conditions that can arise from abusing it.
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The majority of people can use cannabis safely. Still, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to those who are exposed to greater risks.