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Can Smoking Marijuana Lead To Schizophrenia

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Regular Marijuana Use May Increase Your Risk For Schizophrenia Or Other Mental Illness

Does Marijuana Cause Schizophrenia?

You may be more at risk of developing schizophrenia if you use marijuana habitually. One 2017 study looked at marijuana use and the risk of developing schizophrenia and found marijuana users had a 1.37 times increased risk for developing the condition than those who did not use the drug.

A 2018 study showed an increase of 2 percent in cases of serious mental illness in states that have made medical marijuana legal.

Pot Can Trigger Psychotic Symptoms For Some But Do The Effects Last

    Angus Chen

    High-end marijuana buds on sale at a Denver dispensary.hide caption

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    High-end marijuana buds on sale at a Denver dispensary.

    In the “American Sniper” murder trial, prosecutors successfully countered Eddie Ray Routh’s plea of not guilty by reason of insanity by saying that he just seemed psychotic because he was high. But scientists continue to argue over whether marijuana-induced psychosis is always short-lived or if there’s a deeper connection at play.

    Nobody would question that marijuana can make some people temporarily experience psychotic symptoms, says Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse at the National Institutes for Health. “But can cannabis by itself trigger the schizophrenic disease? That’s not so clear,” she says.

    Volkow says it’s important to make that distinction. Drugs like marijuana or methamphetamine can make someone experience symptoms like paranoia, hostility and disorganized thinking. But that’s very different from a chronic, persistent psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. “You can have a psychotic episode from the use of marijuana without it turning into schizophrenia,” Volkow says. “It’s very distressing, but you’ll get out of it.”

    Still, some researchers are convinced that marijuana contributes to the development of schizophrenia. There have been nine studies following hundreds to thousands of people for decades looking for a connection between marijuana use and psychosis.

    Getting High Safely: Aspen Launches Marijuana Education Campaign

    There are other problems with these studies as well. Cannabis smokers also are more likely to use other drugs, including ones that are known to induce brief psychotic episodes. At least one other study found that people with schizophrenia were more likely to have a drug addiction in general. That makes it difficult to say if the people in these experiments developed schizophrenia because they were smoking weed or because of other factors.

    “But what is also clear, if you do have a vulnerability to schizophrenia and you smoke ,” Volkow says, “it’s likely to trigger an episode. It’s likely to advance the .” She says when people with certain risky genes associated with psychosis smoke, the risk of developing schizophrenia goes up sixfold, according to a 2005 study. But for someone without those genes, Volkow says the evidence suggests “you can smoke all the marijuana you want and it will make no difference whatsoever.”

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    Does Smoking Weed Cause Schizophrenia

    The high likelihood of smoking weed with schizophrenia is well documented. But does the correlation go the other way: Can marijuana use trigger schizophrenia symptoms in an apparently healthy teenager?

    According to researchers like Dr. Ran Barzilay, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Tel Aviv Universitys Sackler School of Medicine, the answer is yesif the adolescent is already at risk for the disorder.

    Our research demonstrates that cannabis has a differential risk on susceptible versus non-susceptible individuals. In other words, young people with a genetic susceptibility to schizophreniathose who have psychiatric disorders in their familiesshould bear in mind that theyre playing with fire if they smoke pot during adolescence.

    Dr. Ron Barzilay

    Can Marijuana Treat Schizophrenia

    Marijuana and Schizophrenia are Definitely Linked ...

    Update on May 15 2020. Medical content review by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer Although Schizophrenia has no cure, symptoms are manageable with supportive services and medication. However, Antipsychotic drugs today prescribed to treat conditions come with a whole array of side effects, from pacing, decreased muscle control and facial tics to physiological disorders like depression and anger. Side effects like these limit patient compliance since many prefer disorders symptoms over treatments. So, more patients are turning to Medical marijuana for Schizophrenia to manage their condition without having to deal with unwanted side effects of Antipsychotic medications.

    * Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

    * Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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    Living With Schizophrenia: Understanding The Cannabis Pull

    While most medical experts have studied the impact of cannabis on schizophrenia in others or have read the latest literature, Julie A. Fast, author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Get it Done When Youre Depressed, Bipolar Happens! and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder, brings a much deeper understanding of schizophrenia to the table. Thats because she has a similar diagnosis called schizoaffective disorder. This means that I have bipolar disorder and a separate psychotic disorder. I do not have schizophrenia, but I share many of the symptoms when I get sick , she explains.

    She draws on her experiences as a person living with a mental illness to assist mental health professionals. Due to her diagnosis, shes able to provide an important perspective on what its like which also helps to engage patients in treatment and recovery. My specialty is creating management plans for people who live with mood and psychotic disorders. I also do a lot of work in the anxiety and personality disorder world, she says.

    Since she has first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be psychotic, her insights are particularly helpful in teaching doctors how to support their patients when they are experiencing an episode.

    I also experience paranoia, which is my main delusion . In this state, I truly FEEL that people are following me or are out to get me. Delusions are the reason schizophrenia is so hard to manage, she says.

    The Effects Of Cannabis Use On The Incidence Of Psychosis

    Given this evidence, has the incidence of schizophrenia, particularly early-onset acute cases, changed during the 1970s and 1980s, when there have been very substantial increases in cannabis use among young adults in Australia and North America? A study modelling trends in the incidence of psychoses in Australia did not find clear evidence of any increase in incidence following steep increases in cannabis use during the 1980s . A more recent modelling study in the UK suggested that it may be too early to detect any effect of cannabis use on the incidence of psychoses, because rates of cannabis use only increased during the 1990s in that country. A recent British ) and a Swiss study reported suggestive evidence of an increased incidence of psychoses among males in recent birth cohorts with the highest rates of cannabis use in adolescence. This work needs to be replicated in future research.

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    Does Marijuana Cause Schizophrenia

    Because of how commonly marijuana is used, the reduction in stigma associated with it, and the increasingly legal status of the substance, people tend to be lulled into a false sense of comfort with this substance.

    In general, compared to many other drugs, marijuana tends to have fewer adverse side effects and outcomes, but this doesnt mean its entirely safe. Some people may be at risk of developing serious side effects resulting from their use of marijuana.

    One area of concern is marijuana and schizophrenia. People wonder if there are links between marijuana and schizophrenia, so whats the truth? Does marijuana cause schizophrenia?

    Certain Genes In Your Body May Trigger The Condition If You Use Marijuana

    Can marijuana cause psychosis? | Weed Easy

    Some recent studies have examined specific genes you may have in your body and how they may increase your risk for schizophrenia. If you have a certain type of AKTI gene and use marijuana, your risk of developing a psychotic disorder can increase according to a 2012 study of nearly 500 people experiencing psychosis, plus a control group.

    The frequency of marijuana intake also comes into play with this gene. Those who use the drug every day and have this gene variant may be at a for schizophrenia than those with the variant who do not use the drug or who use it very infrequently.

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    How Can I Get Help If Cannabis Is Affecting My Health

    Can I see my GP?

    Speak to your GP if cannabis use is affecting your physical or mental health. Be honest with your GP about your cannabis use and symptoms. Your GP may not offer you the right support if they dont know the full picture.

    Your GP might:

    • offer you treatment at the practice, or
    • refer you to your local drug service.

    You can find local drug treatment support by clicking on the following link:

    What can my local drug service do?

    The service can offer counselling, support groups and advice. They can help you to:

    • reduce your cannabis use,
    • reduce the affect that cannabis has on your life, and
    • support you to not start using again.

    The service may be provided through the NHS or through charity. You may be able to self-refer to this type of service. If you cant self-refer speak to your GP or health professional.

    Should I be referred to a specialist mental health service?

    Your GP should refer you to a specialist mental health service if they think you have psychosis.32 The service could be the Community Mental Health Team or an Early Intervention Psychosis service. Both psychosis and schizophrenia can be treated using antipsychotic medication and talking treatments.

    Find out more about:

    Or call our General Enquiries team on 0121 522 7007 and ask them to send you a copy of our factsheet.

    Can I be excluded from services?

    You shouldnt be excluded from:

    Can I see a therapist?

    • you misuse drugs, and

    Can I get further support?

    Teen Marijuana Use Linked With Schizophrenia

    Memory-related structures in the brains of people who were chronic marijuana user as teens appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly reflecting a decrease in neurons. The marijuana-related brain abnormalities are correlated with a poor working memory performance and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities, the study shows.

    You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license.

    Heavy marijuana use as a teenager may cause changes in brain structure that resemble schizophrenia, new research shows.

    Teens who were heavy marijuana userssmoking it daily for about three yearshad abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and performed poorly on memory tasks, a new study shows.

    A poor working memory predicts poor academic performance and everyday functioning.

    The brain abnormalities and memory problems were observed during the individuals early twenties, two years after they stopped smoking marijuana, which could indicate the long-term effects of chronic use. Memory-related structures in their brains appeared to shrink and collapse inward, possibly reflecting a decrease in neurons.

    This is the first study to target key brain regions in the deep subcortical gray matter of chronic marijuana users with structural MRI and to correlate abnormalities in these regions with an impaired working memory.

    The paper appears in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.

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    Informing Young People About The Mental Health Risks Of Cannabis Use

    Finding effective ways of explaining the psychotogenic effects of cannabis use to young individuals is a major public health challenge. Young people also need to be informed about the risks of becoming dependent on cannabis, impairing their educational achievement, and increasing their risk of depression ,. These risks have often been overshadowed in the public debate about cannabis use, yet add weight to the argument for discouraging cannabis use among young individuals.

    What Does This Mean For Me

    Does Marijuana Use Cause Schizophrenia?

    Experts may debate whether cannabis use can lead to psychotic disorders, but they mostly agree on how to minimize ones risk.

    Psychotic conditions tend to run in families, which suggests there is an inherited genetic vulnerability. Indeed, according to some studies, people prone to or at heightened risk of psychosis seem to experience the effects of cannabis differently than peers without such a history. The users experience a more vivid high, but they also are more likely to experience psychosis-like effects such as paranoia.

    The evidence so far indicates that ones familial risk for psychotic disorders outweighs any added effect of cannabis use. In a 2014 study, a team led by Ashley C. Proal and Dr. Lynn E. DeLisi of Harvard Medical School recruited cannabis users with and without a family history of schizophrenia, as well as non-users with and without such a history. The researchers made sure the cannabis users did not use other drugs in addition, a factor that muddied earlier studies. The result: there was a heightened schizophrenia risk among people with a family history, regardless of cannabis use.

    Because marijuana has been illegal for so long, research that could settle the question has been sorely lacking, although that has begun to change. The National Institutes of Health have launched a $300 million project that will track thousands of children from the age of 9 or 10 through adolescence, and might help clarify causation.

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    Early Signs Of Schizophrenia

    If a teen does not have a genetic susceptibility to the disorder, smoking marijuana is not likely to lead to the onset of schizophrenic symptomology. However, there is no test for such a genetic susceptibility, and schizophrenia does not necessarily run in families. Therefore, its difficult to know whether or not a teenager is susceptible.

    However, parents can watch for warning signs. Most people with the disorder receive a schizophrenia diagnosis in adolescence or young adulthood. Moreover, onset is usually earlier in men than in women. Early symptoms may include the following:

    • Depression
    • Withdrawing from relationships and social activities
    • Trouble expressing emotion appropriately
    • Insomnia or sleeping too much
    • Talking in strange or irrational ways
    • Forgetfulness and inability to concentrate
    • Acting suspicious or hostile

    Is Mild Pot And Occasional Use Ok

    Nick Hickmott from the drug and alcohol charity Addaction said: “We’ve got a problem with potency. People who regularly take lots of high strength cannabis are at risk of potentially serious harm. It can be particularly harmful for younger, developing brains.

    “My advice is avoid using high-strength cannabis every day and pay attention to how it makes you feel. If you end up feeling anxious or just unsettled then it might be best to give it a miss. It’s also not a good idea to mix it with alcohol or other drugs.

    “It’s also important not to over-react. Lots of people experiment with cannabis and then move on without any problems. For people who do need advice or help I’d recommend reaching out to a GP or a local drug service.”

    Cannabis can vary in strength and type. Skunk tends to contain higher levels of THC than weed.

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    Can Marijuana Trigger Schizophrenia

      Henry Cockburns first hospitalization for schizophrenia was in February of 2002. At the age of 20, he was attending an art school in Brighton, in the UK, when he felt the need to go walking barefoot along the edge of the sea I felt brambles, trees, and wild animals all urging me on. It was as if they were looking at me and I could feel what they thought.

      I walked ten miles to the estuary and hid by a low wall. I didnt want to go into the water at first, but finally, I did … I was there when a fisherman held out his hand. That incident ended with his admission to a psychiatric hospital. There a doctor told him he had a mental illness. I didnt think of it as an illness but as an awakening, a spiritual awakening. I thought there was another side to the world I hadnt seen before. Over the years of his illness, he continued to run away periodically, even as he was moved to ever more secure facilities to prevent him from escaping. By his own count, he escaped some 30 times.

      Once he was away from the hospital, he would strip and swim in the English Channel or wander the countryside naked for days hearing the voices of the natural world, without thinking of the risks to his life. His parents lived in dread of the telephone call telling them that once again he had managed to break out of the hospital. Frightening days and nights followed until he was found.


      Is Cannabis Addictive

      Why cannabis use can leads to psychosis: Results from our research.

      Cannabis can be addictive.

      About 1 in 10 regular cannabis users become dependent on it. Your risk of getting addicted is higher if you start using it in your teens or use it every day.

      You can develop a tolerance to cannabis if you use it regularly. This means you need more to get the same effect.

      If you become addicted, you may feel withdrawal symptoms when you dont use cannabis. For example, you might:

      • be irritable,
      • be restless, and
      • have mood swings.

      You might smoke cannabis with tobacco. If you do you may become addicted to nicotine. This means you are at risk of getting diseases such as cancer and heart disease. So, if you stop using nicotine or cut down you could experience nicotine withdrawal too.

      You can get information on stopping smoking tobacco by clicking the following link:

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      What We Do Know

      Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, has conducted a number of studies and meta-analyses focusing on the association between first episode psychosis and cannabis use. The two studies Dr. Compton and his colleagues conducted involved, respectively, 109 and 247 hospitalized first-episode psychosis patients.

      Very detailed and rigorous retrospective data were collected on the onset of prodromal and psychotic symptoms, as well as the initiation and escalation of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use, says Dr. Compton. The results? Both studies revealed an association between the escalation of marijuana use and an earlier age at onset of prodromal symptoms and an earlier age at onset of psychotic symptoms.

      These findings, Dr. Compton says, suggest that adolescent/premorbid marijuana use is not only a risk factor for the later development of primary psychotic disorders , but is also a risk factor for an earlier onset of those disorders.

      Age of onset matters because studies show that the long-term outlook for a person with schizophrenia is better the later the disorder develops. Dr. Comptons studies also fortified the idea that age at onset is a crucial prognostic indicator for the long-term course of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

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