New Study: Smoking Weed May Lead to Psychosis

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For some people, smoking marijuana on a daily basis is a pleasurable act. But new research indicates that smoking weed increases the likelihood of psychosis.

Authors of the Lancet paper attributed the number of psychosis cases in London and in Amsterdam to cannabis.

The study is not the first to have link marijuana and psychosis but part of a long-standing inquiry about marijuana and how it can damage mental health. In 2016, a public warning was issued mainly involving weed and how it can cause paranoia. In a different study in 2013, a paper linked marijuana use to increased rates of violence in the state of Washington.

Not just psychosis, marijuana use is also linked to the increase likelihood of schizophrenia. Another study, however, theorized that genes is also a big factor leading to the illness.

It must be also be noted that Lancet only focused on people who smoke weed on a daily basis or heavy users. Further, not all marijuana heavy users got sick with psychosis.

Another report commissioned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, asserted that prolonged pot use and heavy usage of the substance among adolescents may increase the symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia.

The report, which is based on more than 1,000 different studies, however, asserted that more studies should be conducted and the lack of scientific knowledge on the effect of marijuana to mental health is a ‘public health risk.’

Meanwhile, Dr. Michael Birnbaum, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of the Early Treatment Program at Northwell Health, is a bit hesitant to link marijuana to the occurrence of schizophrenia among young people.

“I would not want to tell my patients that it was one joint, for example,  that caused their psychotic illness. I work with young folks who have been smoking heavily for the past several years, and I still wouldn’t confidently say that the pot caused schizophrenia. That’s just a dangerous thing to say,” Dr. Birnbaum said.

Marijuana contains a condiserable amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is responsible for the ‘instant high’ that weed users experience.

In an essay, Dr. March Siegel, the amount of THC in the marijuana sold today has increased compared to those in the 1970s. He attributed the increase of amount to the increasing cases of paranoia and psychosis in the general population. He cited the increase of cannabis-induced psychosis cases in Canada, further saying that it had doubled from 2012 to 2017.

Siegel referred a study suggesting that if the authorities regulate marijuana use, or better abolish it entirely, a decrease in the cases of psychotic disorders may happen.

In Colorado, there was also an increase in mental health diagnosis in its hospitals’ Emergency room. Most of these cases are attributed to marijuana.

To date, thirty-three (33) states in the US have legalized marijuana.