e-book Marijuana and Madness: Psychiatry and Neurobiology

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According to Haney, the odds ratio—the likelihood that an exposure will lead to a certain outcome—of marijuana causing psychosis are much lower than those for smoking and cancer. Both Haney and Evins agree that it is biologically plausible that marijuana, particularly at a young age, could increase the likelihood of negative psychiatric outcomes. The developing brain has an abundance of cannabinoid type 1 CB1 receptors, where THC binds to exert its effects, in the prefrontal cortex, a key brain area impacted by schizophrenia.

To truly determine whether marijuana causes such effects, scientists would need to track changes that occur in a large number of individuals before and after they use a drug over a long period of time.

What is cannabis?

An effort to conduct this type of study is currently underway—the National Institutes of Health recently funded the multicenter Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study , which plans to recruit 10, children before they start drug use, and follow them for 10 years to assess the short-and long-term effects of using marijuana, tobacco and other drugs. Clearing the haze Cannabis has been found to impair cognitive functions such as memory and is increasingly being considered an addictive substance , especially in adolescents.

There are still many questions that remain to be answered but strict regulation and lack of funding pose large barriers to conducting the required studies. The U. In the meantime scientists agree the highly potent marijuana may be better to avoid. Aside from potential long-term harm, receiving a high dose of THC can be especially risky for first-time users who are more likely to experience adverse effects such as panic or anxiety attacks. But even knowing the potency of a product, consumers might not always get what they ask for. Because of competing laws at the state and federal level, the quality of regulation varies largely between states and regions.

Although THC potency labeling is mostly required for both medical and recreational products, it is not always accurate—a study published this June in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that of the 75 edible marijuana products from 47 different brands researchers assessed only 17 percent accurately labeled their THC content. Across labs and in homes, marijuana remains a highly debated issue. You have free article s left.

Can cannabis use cause psychosis?

Already a subscriber? Sign in. If you use cannabis for a long period of time you might feel depressed and have lower motivation. Cannabis can affect how you sense things. You may see, hear or feel things differently. This is known as hallucinating.

Cannabis and mental health

Hallucinations can be a sign of psychosis. Psychosis can be a symptom of mental illness, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective and bipolar disorder. Most research seems to have a focus on the link between psychosis and cannabis, and schizophrenia and cannabis. It is widely accepted that cannabis use can cause short term psychotic episodes.

There is a lot of reliable evidence to show that there is a link between the use of stronger forms of cannabis and developing psychotic illnesses. But the link is not fully understood. Cannabis may be one of the causes of developing a mental illness, but it is not be the only cause for many people. Not everyone who uses cannabis will develop psychosis or schizophrenia. Not everyone who has psychosis or schizophrenia has used cannabis. But you are more likely to develop a psychotic illness if you smoke cannabis. For example, if people in your family have a mental illness, you may be more likely to develop a mental health problem.

Researchers studied a group of year olds who smoked cannabis. When researchers followed them up more than 15 years later, they found that participants were: ,. Cannabis may affect young people more because their brains are still developing up until the age of Psychosis is the name given to symptoms or experiences, which include hallucinations and delusions.

Hallucinations make someone experience things that other people are not. This might be seeing things or hearing voices. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how someone thinks or feels. Symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations and delusions. But often it will have other symptoms like feeling flat or emotionless, or withdrawing from other people. Yes it can be.


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You are more likely to become dependent or addicted to cannabis if you have used it for a long time. Or use it everyday. You may find that your body starts to get used to the drug so you need more of it to get the same effects. This is called building up a tolerance. For example, you might:. These symptoms are most difficult to deal with about a week after non cannabis use. They can last for up to 2 weeks. 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 should refer you to a secondary care mental health service if you have psychosis or they think you have psychosis. A secondary care mental health service could be the community mental health team or an early intervention service. You will not be excluded from mental health care because of cannabis misuse. You will not be excluded from a substance misuse service because of psychosis.

Marijuana Madness: Hopped-Up Weed May Pose Risks for Users - Scientific American

Both psychosis and schizophrenia can be treated using antipsychotic medication and talking treatments. The service may be provided through the NHS or through charities. You can use a search engine such as Google to see what service is available in your area.

You may be able to self refer to this type of service.


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A therapist may be able to help you to understand the reason why you use drugs. There are lots of different types of therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT is suggested as a treatment if you misuse drugs and have a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety. You might be worried about telling your GP or other health professional that you are using cannabis. But health professionals will not be able to tell other people or services about what you have told them because of confidentiality laws.

They can only tell other people about what you have said if:. For example, if you tell your doctor that you are planning to hurt yourself or other people, the doctor could decide to share this information with someone, or contact the police.

What is cannabis?

Telephone helpline : Open 2pm — 6pm everyday. Website : www. Marijuana Anonymous They are run by people who have experience of cannabis use.

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