You Have A One In 23,000 Chance Of Having A Psychotic Episode If You Use Cannabis

Photo Credit: Civilized

Photo Credit: Civilized

Opponents of marijuana legalization fear that smoking marijuana increases ones chances of suffering psychosis, but one researcher from the University of York says the likeliness of this is extremely rare. Researcher and lecturer Ian Hamilton looked over more than 50 years of studies on marijuana and mental health, and found that cannabis users experiencing a psychotic episode is relatively low, and that legalizing and regulating marijuana could actually further reduce these incidents. Hamilton explains, "The link between cannabis and psychosis has been investigated by researchers since the drug became popular in the 1960s... A new review of research carried out since then has concluded that ‘at a population level the increased risk is weak and the vulnerabilities relatively rare'. To put this in perspective we would need to prevent 23,000 people using cannabis to prevent one case of psychosis."

Cannabis psychosis results when THC triggers psychotic symptoms in the user, and teenagers or those with schizophrenia are at a higher risk. Hamilton fears cases of psychosis may be increasing due to the fact today's marijuana has higher concentrations of THC than the marijuana that was studied in the 60s, but he believes legalizing and regulating marijuana will provide quality controlled products in packages that can provide warnings to consumers.

This information has been provided by Civilized and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. 

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

Scientists Call Out Bad Data Linking Weed to Psychosis

Photo Credit: Kim J, Matthews NL, Park S. / Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Kim J, Matthews NL, Park S. / Wikipedia

Opponents of medical marijuana argue marijuana is linked to the development of psychosis, but now scientists are speaking out, claiming this argument has no sound basis. Dr. Charles Ksir and Dr. Carl Hart wrote a letter to the journal Lancet, which they feel has become the "journal of marijuana psychosis," explaining researchers jump to conclusions linking psychosis and cannabis because they disregard confounding variables that might cause co-occurring substance use or mental health disorders. They reviewed the literature themselves and found the link between cannabis-users and those diagnosed with psychosis could be the result of other factors that put certain groups at increased risk for substance misuse or mental disorders. They concluded, "After reviewing the scientific literature, we found evidence that bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and mood disorder have all been correlated with cannabis use, and reported that psychosis has been correlated with heavy tobacco smoking, heavy alcohol use, stimulant misuse, and sedative misuse. We found no clear evidence for a causal relation between cannabis and psychosis." 

Dr. Hart and Dr. Ksir's review on the topic was soon countered by a review written by Tabea Schoeler and her colleagues at Kings College London suggesting people who already experience psychosis may worsen their symptoms through marijuana use, and that finding the causal link between cannabis use and psychosis is unnecessary because research already "implicates cannabis use as a 'component cause' for psychotic symptomatology." Ksir and Hart argue this along with the many studies that already exist do not provide that causal relationship necessary to link marijuana use and psychosis because they do not take into account the important external factors.

We hope this information will help you rest assured that your medication may not lead to the development of psychosis. This information has been provided by High Times Magazine and approve by our Chief Medical Officer. 

Your Genes Can Predict How You React to Marijuana Use

Photo Credit: High Times

Photo Credit: High Times

Many patients who decide to medicate with medical marijuana do so because of the therapeutic relief cannabis provides without resulting in severe negative side effects. For a few patients, however, the use of marijuana may not be such an enjoyable experience, and a patient may suffer negative psychoactive side effects stemming from the cannabinoid THC; side effects like cannabis-induced psychosis. Research coming from England's University of Exeter explains the answer to these unpleasant experiences may lie in a person's genetics.

The study involving 422 participants without a history of mental illness who smoked cannabis at least once a month found those who possessed "AKT1" gene variations were more likely to suffer visual distortions, memory impairment, and paranoid delusions upon smoking cannabis, all of which indicate a person's susceptibility to the development of cannabis-induced psychosis. These findings are significant as they allow genetic testing to identify those who may want to abstain from smoking cannabis. Alternatively, by identifying the mechanism that leads to the development of psychosis, this information might lead to effective drug therapies to treat affected individuals, allowing even at-risk patients to enjoy the relief cannabis can provide. Lead author of the paper and Professor of Psychopharmacology Celia Morgan explains, "... This research could help pave the way towards the prevention and treatment of cannabis psychosis."

This information has been provided by High Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also read about the study in more detail here.