According to the largest study ever conducted to examine the impact of marijuana of the rates of psychotic disorder rates, found that smoking strong cannabis could increase the chances of developing psychosis by five times.
The current research conducted in London, adds to the previous studies that have discovered links between mental health problems and marijuana use, however, the studies do not directly link cannabis as the cause.
Psychotic diseases, in which people lose touch with reality, are generally triggered by factors such as the environment and genetics. According to the new study, experts believe that areas legalizing marijuana have warning implications that should be considered concerning the impact on mental health services.
Suzanne Gage of the University of Liverpool stated, “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.” Gage is not connected to the new study.
Researchers are King’s College in London analyzed data from several sites across Europe and Brazil from 2010 to 2015. There were 900 people diagnosed with a first episode of the disorder at a mental health clinic, including those with delusions and hallucinations. They were compared with over 1,200 healthy people patients. After the patients were surveyed about their marijuana use, researchers discovered that daily marijuana use was more common among patients with a first episode of psychosis compared with the healthy control group.
Researchers estimated that those who smoked marijuana daily were three times more likely to receive a diagnoses of psychosis than people who do not use cannabis at all. The risk jumped to five times with high-potency marijuana users. The paper was published online on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 in the journal Lancet. It was paid for by funders including Britain’s Medical Research Council, the Sao Paulo Research Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
Dr. Marta Di Forti of King’s College London and the study’s lead author, warns “If you decide to use high-potency marijuana, you should bear in mind: Psychosis is a potential risk.” Additionally, it is unknown how frequently people could smoke lower-potency marijuana without raising the likelihood of psychosis, however, less than weekly use posed no risk.
Di Forti and her colleagues believe that in Amsterdam, approximately half of the new psychosis patients were associated with smoking high-potency marijuana.
Gage stated that is was possible that patients who have a family history of psychosis or other risk factors may be more susceptible to developing problems such as psychosis or schizophrenia if they used marijuana.
“That could be the thing that tips the scale for some people. Cannabis for them could be an extra risk factor, but if definitely doesn’t have to be involved. If you use cannabis, it doesn’t mean you are definitely going to develop psychosis.”