Smoke Strong Marijuana Daily and Run the Risk of Psychosis

by Noah Mcgee March 24, 2019, 1:14
Smoke Strong Marijuana Daily and Run the Risk of Psychosis

"If we think there's something particular about (high-potency) cannabis, then making that harder to get a hold of, could be a useful harm-reduction measure", said Suzanne Gage, of the University of Liverpool, who was not connected to the new study.

Many countries have legally approved cannabis use. "While there may still be questions about the nature of the link between daily use of high-potency marijuana and psychotic disorder, this study suggests that we should be monitoring this issue very closely and taking steps to protect the public's health".

A new European study has linked marijuana use to psychotic episodes. These participants were diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis between May 2010 and April 2015. Secondly, they compared 901 patients with first episode of psychosis with 1,237 healthy matched controls to understand the risk factors associated with psychosis. The scientists also classified the potency of the cannabis consumed as either "high" (over 10 per cent THC) or "low" (under 10 per cent THC).

Overall, cannabis use was found to be more common among patients experiencing psychosis.

Low-strength cannabis - with a THC level below 10 per cent - increased the odds of psychosis 2.2-fold if used daily and 1.4-fold if used a couple of times a week. That risk increased to five times for high-potency users. In the Netherlands, THC content can be as high as 67 percent, while 94 percent of highly potent, "skunk" pot in London averages 14 percent THC, the researchers said.

And they said that even medicinal cannabis oil - available in the United Kingdom for a very limited number of people - should come with a warning of psychosis as a possible side effect.

Cannabis oil treated my epilepsy I went from Universal Credit to work
Cannabis oil treated my epilepsy I went from Universal Credit to work

In Amsterdam, the incidence of first-time psychosis would likely drop from 38 to 19 per 100,000 people per year, while in London, the number of cases would decline from 46 to 32 per 100,000 people.

The authors note that the data on cannabis use was not validated by biological measures such as urine, blood or hair samples.

In some locations, THC levels are 20 per cent or higher, they noted. The estimates on potency also do not include the proportion of cannabidiol (CBD), another important component of cannabis.

Several past studies have found that more frequent use of pot is associated with a higher risk of psychosis - that is, when someone loses touch with reality. "Unfortunately, not all the evidence utilising different methods is consistent about causality". "You can't say that cannabis causes psychosis", she says. Actually, not necessarily. New research shows daily marijuana users, especially those who use high-potency weed, may be three times more likely to develop a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia, than non-users.

Despite his skepticism, Armentano allowed that "the concerns raised in this paper ought to be taken seriously, and they provide an argument in favor of better regulation of the plant so that it can be better kept out of the hands of young people and those who may be at higher risk for an adverse reaction".

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