Increased Risk of Psychosis With Cannabis Use Rare, New Study Finds

 Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Inc.

For many patients suffering a wide array of illnesses and conditions, traditional treatments are unsuccessful or provide unwanted side effects. They may be interested in beginning an alternative therapy, like starting a medical marijuana regimen, but fear the harm it could cause, like weight gain, a decrease in motivation, and even psychosis. Luckily, research has debunked many of these fears, and now a new study from the University of York that was published in Addiction suggests psychosis as a result of cannabis use is rare. In the research review, which was directed by Dr. Ian Hamilton, researchers concluded 23,000 people would need to cease cannabis use just to prevent one case of psychosis. In fact, they concluded the greatest health risk with cannabis use was not attributed to cannabis at all, but actually to it's use in combination with tobacco, which is a common practice in the United Kingdom. The use of tobacco can result in increased risk of cancers, infections, and other health issues.

While this news is positive, it is important to note that most of the research included in the review is not from the current time. Hamilton writes, “The link between cannabis and psychosis has been an ongoing research topic since the drug became popular in the 1960s... Most of the high profile studies that we have access to, however, are from a time when low potency cannabis was the norm, but today high potency is more common.” Hamilton hopes to continue his research involving strains of marijuana that are high in THC like many of the strains of today. He continues, “In this new study, we looked at both low and high potency, but it is clear that we need more evidence from high potency-related health cases to further investigate this link in modern-day users." Additionally, Hamilton found that cannabis did exacerbate symptoms for patients already diagnosed with schizophrenia, and heavy users of cannabis were more likely to experience mental health issues.

Overall, Hamilton believes his study shows that prohibition of marijuana would have little effect on mental health, and that legalizing and regulating the quality and safety of marijuana would be a much more effective system. This information has been provided by Medical Marijuana Inc. and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. Read the entire study here