LONDON – High potency marijuana every day can increase the risk of developing psychosis by almost five times, according to the largest study to investigate potency impact on psychotic disorders.
The research adds previous studies that have found links between marijuana and psychological problems, yet marijuana is not definitely determined as a cause.
Psychotic disorders – where people lose contact with reality – are usually caused by factors such as genetics and the environment. But experts say the findings of the new study have implications for jurisdictions that legalize marijuana, warning that they should consider the potential impact on their psychiatric services.
"If we think there is something special about (high potential) cannabis, when it becomes more difficult to get hold of, It would be a useful action reduction measure, "said Suzanne Gage of the University of Liverpool, who was not affiliated with the New Study.
Researchers at King's College London and elsewhere analyzed data from a dozen sites in Europe and Brazil from 2010 to 2015. About 900 people diagnosed with a first episode of the disease in a psychiatric clinic, including those with insanity and hallucinations, compared to more than 1,200 healthy patients. After mapping the patients for their use of cannabis and other drugs, researchers found that it was more common to use marijuana among patients with a first episode of psychosis compared to the healthy control group.
The researchers estimated that people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis were three times more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis compared to people who never used the drug. For those who used high quality marijuana daily, the risk jumped to almost five times. The paper was published online Tuesday by the Lancet newspaper. It was paid by UCITS, including the UK Medical Research Council, the Sao Paulo Research Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.
"If you choose to use high potency marijuana, you should consider: Psychosis is a potential risk" Dr. Marta Di Forti, of King's College London and the study's lead author. She said it was unknown how often people could smoke lower marijuana without increasing the risk of psychosis, but that less than weekly use seemed to pose some risk.
Di Forti and colleagues estimated that in Amsterdam about half of the new psychosis cases were associated with smoking the high pot spot.
Gage noted that it was possible that people with a family history of psychosis or other risk factors may be more susceptible to developing problems such as psychosis or schizophrenia if they used cannabis.
"That may be the tip of some people," she said. "Cannabis for them can be an additional risk factor, but it definitely doesn't have to be involved. If you use cannabis, it doesn't mean you will definitely develop psychosis."
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