Marijuana use may speed psychosis
February 7th, 2011
05:56 PM ET

Marijuana use may speed psychosis

Using marijuana, or cannabis, may cause psychosis to develop sooner in patients already predisposed to developing it, and in other patients the drug may even cause psychosis, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"This finding is an important breakthrough in our understanding of the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis," according to the study. "It raises the question of whether those substance users would still have gone on to develop psychosis a few years later."

Patients with psychosis tend to lose touch with reality and are prone to hallucinations and delusions about what is happening around them.  Psychosis is frequently reported among patients with diagnosed mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

What is schizophrenia?

According to the study led by Australian researchers, in which data from 83 studies involving more than 20,000 patients were analyzed, marijuana  users experienced psychosis about three years younger than non-users.  Users of other substances (besides pot) experienced symptoms of psychosis two years sooner. Alcohol use  had no influence on development of psychosis, according to the study.

"Reducing the use of cannabis could be one of the few ways of altering the outcome of the illness because earlier onset of schizophrenia is associated with a worse prognosis," according to the study.  "An extra two or three years of psychosis-free functioning could allow many patients to achieve the important developmental milestones of late adolescence and early adulthood that could lower the long-term disability arising from psychotic disorders."

But experts say the complexity of interaction between genes and environment, and the possibility that cannabis is, in fact, a way to self-medicate when psychotic symptoms arise are not accounted for in this study.

The marijuana-schizophrenia link

"It is distinctly possible, in fact likely, that folks who experience initial symptoms turn to cannabis in an effort to control them, then end up having a psychotic break of some sort earlier simply because they had their first symptoms earlier," said Mitch Earleywine, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, who is also a marijuana policy expert. "This predicament makes it look as if cannabis preceded the psychotic symptoms when, in fact...folks with worse symptoms who are more likely to have an early break might simply be more likely to turn to cannabis."

Theories about an association between marijuana use and schizophrenia include several –sometimes interrelated - scenarios: The possibility that cannabis causes schizophrenia; that cannabis may cause people vulnerable to schizophrenia to develop symptoms; that cannabis may make schizophrenia symptoms worse; or that people with schizophrenia are more likely to use cannabis, according to the study.

Study authors suggest that this study, "lends weight to the view that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders," perhaps because of some confluence of genetic and environmental factors, or because using cannabis early in life may disrupt brain development.

"[This study] found that cannabis is associated with early onset of psychosis and that is most likely true but it doesn't answer the question of which way it goes," said Dr. Charles L. Raison, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Emory University, and CNNHealth's mental health expert doctor. "Does smoking cannabis early in life make you vulnerable to getting early psychosis or is the first manifestation of psychosis to do drugs and alcohol, or is it both?"

Do you have diagnosed schizophrenia? How well are you managing it?

Raison added that other studies suggesting a causal relationship between marijuana  use and psychosis disagree with this one.

Whatever the relationship between cannabis and psychosis, experts can agree that early use of cannabis is problematic.

"No one wants to see young people get heavily involved with any psychoactive substances," said Earleywine.

soundoff (1,357 Responses)
  1. Timb

    Alcohol does the same thing!!! Why does this report matter?

    February 7, 2011 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Terry Zelk

    Well mudbone, are you actively trying to get anything in the world that can some how have an adverse effect on a miniscule segment of the population criminalized?
    In the 40 years that I have smoked pot, most of the people I grew up with are dead from liver disease, lung cancer, prescription drug addiction and car wrecks from drunk driving. All of us plain lo' pot smokers that avoided all the legal poison most of our lives are growing old and in better health than straight people.
    So harp on about how bad weed is, you'll probably die from complications caused by some prescription poison your legal drug dealer (doctor) gave you.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mudbone9

      As my message stated "If you have never quit you will not understand and will vehemently deny this as bull crap". Have you ever quit for three months or more? Now be honest. If you have then you know what I am saying is the truth. If not then smoke on brother. Just don't force the legalization issue on me as it will change my world even if I don't smoke it anymore.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
  3. AlanMaui

    Actually the high from smoking marijuana, especially in occasional users, is a kind of psychosis. I think no one will disagree if we take a look at someone having a bad, a paranoid trip. But I think the high is still a kind of psychosis even when it is enjoyable. Psychosis can be either a bad trip or enjoyable. Although we usually reserve the label psychosis for something eval and bad, when the experience is fun and playful, even if it is a little on the delusional side we don't seem to need to label it. Two sides of the same coin. So yes there is a connection between psychosis and marijuana and smoking can make an otherwise unstable person even more unstable, or even put them over the edge. Smoking pot is not for everyone and some people should not smoke it, but if they do? Well life is full of all kinds of pitfalls, for all of us.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pothead

      You must be speaking of those that abuse the drug. Too much Valium will do what pot does. So what's the point? Pot should be legal or at least legally distributed for at least those that use if effectively and safely. The largest problem when discussing pot is keeping the tone to 'abuse or not abused and the abuser'. The majority of those that are working towards legalizing pot are not 'potheads'. Many said the micro-brewery would not work. Look at it now! A very controlled industry. Pot will be the same! Look for companies to invest in.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
    • Judson

      Actually your analysis belongs on the shelf with dime store psychology books.

      Functionally schizophrenia is related to both inflammatory pathways as well as glutamate over activity, which is alleviated by pot use. Hence the bit about self medication. The comparison of the two states is completely erroneous and your comments only highlight certain false scientific notions prevalent within the general population.

      February 8, 2011 at 04:30 | Report abuse |
    • Judson

      The fact that you believe Psychosis to be even remotely enjoyable makes sound like an idiot.
      Please don't ever voice your support of anything. I can't think of a single cause that needs a voice like yours.

      These people are self-medicating to improve their cognitive performance from a deformed state. Your belief that psychosis is somehow playful or elusive is degrading, annoying, and smacks of that pathetic inattentiveness that is becoming so characteristic of our American educational system.

      February 8, 2011 at 04:39 | Report abuse |
  4. childpsych

    Also, I just read the source article in a professional journal and CNN did a good job of paraphrasing it. Really.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. matt

    And how exactly does one predict the future and when a patient will develop psychosis with or without marijuana use? I am not a marijuana user, but I am a scientist, and this study is garbage.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Matt

    I found this article interesting a study by the Archives of General Psychiatry who is run by the American Medical Association who are basically private America healthcare overlord on how marijuana "may" speed up psychosis read it and you will realize just how far Health Insurance companies spend to swing so called "research" there way. They know the plant is a natural alternative to a lot of there products and they know its bad for business once its legalized.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      They are using this to scare people.... Cannabis is on the verge of being legal..... the United States Government already have pot farms in Montana or Minnesota, that how the G13 strain came out to the legal growers. They just get money from both sides of the melting pot, or from growing pot.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:32 | Report abuse |
  7. Terry Zelk

    childpsych, have you done any research on the effect of religion on young impressionable minds. I know a lot of blithering idiots that got that way by way of religious brainwashing. If pot is dangerous, then religion must be even worse. Lets outlaw that crap and start locking up people that intentionally spread that vile mind bending filth. control, control, control, control. You're not smart enough to run your own life, let the gov. or religion tell you what to think do and say for the rest of your life. Look at the ghastly grizzly evil that is done every day in the name of religion. Lets outlaw it and lock up all the preachers and burn all the holy books. Makes about as much sense as locking up people for weed.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. coolman

    studies have found this for a long time OLD NEWS !!!

    February 7, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      Not true.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:42 | Report abuse |
  9. Angel

    Free speech huh CNN? thanks for not showing my post...I said nothing wrong in it..just the truth..but I guess thats not allowed huh? Let me make a better statement that will be posted......

    Oh yes, everything this article says is true..wow....amazing...great read...thanks CNN!

    February 7, 2011 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. George

    I can see the tard potheads starting to cry over this. Admit it drug-heads, you're killing your own brain cells. Break the habit or enjoy what comes your way.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      Tard portheads? Drug-heads?
      Ok, you obviously have issues with pot smokers.
      Pot doesn't kill brain cells. No true study has ever found that.
      Don't lie.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I am for the legalization of Cannabis, and always will be, until I see true justice. They either outlaw tobacco and alcohol or they legalize Cannabis. and if they legalize Cannabis then they need to legalize heroin and cocaine for that it is far less damaging to an individual and to others around them, while alcohol and prescription drugs do far more damage to an individual and the people around them. and for anyone who doubts this go and look at the Criminal Justice report that came out about a month ago.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Oh and George, I did enjoy what came my way.... I am smoking it now

      February 7, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
    • Judson

      You clearly don't understand statistical correlations. You clearly have not kept yourself up to date on these studies. These studies were very poorly constructed (I.e. inability to distinguish between causation and self medication). Your comments also seem to show a complete lack of awareness concerning THC's neuro-protective benefits. Are you aware that smoking and drinking alcohol results in less brain damage than alcohol alone? THC is actually protective to a number of neuro-toxic substances. You might do yourself a favor and open your mind instead of your mouth.

      February 8, 2011 at 04:33 | Report abuse |
  11. Fernando1958

    the keyword in this article I haven't read is the word "may". Is always used in this kind of articles. "May kill", "May cause problems".... is more a legal word to avoid legal problems. Let's do some other examples:
    -if you go out of your home you "may" be hit by a car... solution: make illegal to leave your house.
    -if you take too many prescriptions pills you "may become addictive or even die".... solution: no more pharmacies.
    -if you drink too much water your kidneys "may" malfunction...... solution: drinking water will be illegal.

    see? you can conclude almost anything you want.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Chris

    oh oh, watch out folks Peg is bringing religion into this. Another thing that claims millions of lives and destroyed god only knows, how many peoples ambition.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mantaec

      Religion could be the number one killer on the planet. The Jews are aware of that! Muslims are aware and since 911 christians are aware in the states as they are in GB. You're right, religion is a killer.

      February 7, 2011 at 23:58 | Report abuse |
  13. muhrvis

    Interesting study, but it falls prey to a typical, common error in scientific research - a correlation being attributed as a causative relationship. Fail. People who use drugs are often those who are already emotionally fragile.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Terry Zelk

    Kids die from huffing gasoline. Why isn't it illegal, or at least restricted to persons over 21????? All those people out there with oxygen masks strapped to them didn't get that way from weed. Still they continue to smoke cigs, even when breathing straight oxygen, that is crazy. Saw a picture of a nut on oxygen that fried himself and family when his cig ignited the oxygen. Now there is something that should be addressed. Oh, I forgot, tobacco companies get gov. subsidies so it's not really a problem. Hmmmm

    February 7, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mad Science

    Over a hundred million Americans have tried marijuana. The asylums should be overflowing. I like TIME's article on this:

    "Still, none of the data linking marijuana use and psychosis can prove causality or sufficiently explain why rates of schizophrenia have remained stable or even declined since the 1950s, while marijuana use has increased exponentially. Unlike rates of cigarette smoking and lung cancer, which rise in tandem, marijuana smoking rates in the population do not correlate with higher rates of schizophrenia."


    February 7, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Angel

    Yes, but what about all the no violent "pot offenders" doing time behind bars with real criminals? no one thinks about them, until its your son or daughter or family member or even you....Divide and conquer...Still going strong!

    February 7, 2011 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Ryan

    This is as bad as "marijuana is a gateway drug"....why??? because marijuana use tends to precede other drug use! Oh, with that logic I will yell from the mountain tops that MILK is actually the gateway drug to hard drugs! or maybe even bread is to blame. These studies completely ignore certain profile qualities that can create correlations without one actually causing or exacerbating the other. people with mental illness try to ease the pain any way possible including self medicating and marijuana is pretty early on the list to try, b/c it does have medicinal qualities for certain problems for certain people...not everything and everyone though.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Michael

    "[marijuana] may cause psychosis to develop sooner in patients already predisposed to developing it." Really?

    February 7, 2011 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bildo

      Its like the logical nexus has been abandoned.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
  19. SouthBronx

    @Terry Zelk, dude why are you so enraged about this? Freaking out in every post and throwing ugly personal insults at everyone who disagrees with you doesn't help your case – it proves theirs.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Phil G.

    Are YOU smoking -THE- POT?
    Stop Now.
    Here's six different prescriptions,take them all and call me next week.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Angel

    Stress is the universal gateway drug to everything....Lets stop being such A$$ H*les and lets understand each other a little better instead of locking people up in a country were we are supposed to be "FREE" Smoking pot is as much a personal liberty as the goverment allowing people to smoke cancer sticks a.k.a. ciggarettes. I mean How Hypocritical is our society exactly...I would say as far as you can go!

    February 7, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. midnightrambler444

    The voices in my head and I are not convinced by this study at all.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Bildo

    I cant wait for a Wikipedia page in the year 2060 to rule studies like these akin to blood letting. Causation seems the least of anyone's worries. Look, lets just be realistic. Lets say your little study is true. Marijuana is highly accessible. Would you rather those pre-disposed to mental illness have to resort to criminal acts before their psychotic breakdown? Or does regulation seem the appropriate mechanism to observe the drug's effects? The logical answer provides for the safer result.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Don't fear the reefer

    Wasn't this the synopsis of "Reefer Madness?" I personally don't smoke and I don't give a crap if some people do. Just keep that crap to yourself.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Minor Leagues

    You smoke pot – you're a loser.

    Talk all the B.S. you want – anybody who hasn't seen people fry their minds on the crap is being willfully blind. I couldn't care less if you smoke as an adult, but spare us all the pothead baloney about "less harmful than caffeine". The only people you're fooling are yourselves and God forbid some poor kid who still has a chance to lead a useful life.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      Just take a look at what the Justice report says.. then come back and say something about caffeine vs. Cannabis

      February 8, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Hello, is your new name Ignorant?

      February 8, 2011 at 00:06 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Seriously, how many people have you met that became homeless after smoking pot?
      I can tell you that I've seen people on meth, and that does scare me. I think you are one of those people that sees someone high and thinks it is marihuana.
      Learn that there are different drugs with different levels of addiction, effects and consequences.
      I haven't met anyone that "fried their mind" smoking pot.
      No study has ever found any relationship between pot and brain damage.
      You are lying.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:07 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      I also know a lot of people who live useful lives and smoke pot.
      I don't know what kind of community you live in that you see this a lot.
      Probably is not drug use, just the effects of poverty.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
  26. Bildo

    "I couldn't care less if you smoke as an adult," compare with "You smoke pot–you're a loser." Great contradiction. Now I see why you'll never make it to the majors.

    February 7, 2011 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Minor Leagues

      What contradiction? You're a loser and I could care less.

      Smoke your brains out – one less person competing for good jobs. Don't spread your stupidity to the young ones.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
    • Bildo

      U.S. Const. Amend. I.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
  27. Post hoc ergo propter hoc

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc,
    Latin for "after this, therefore because of this", is a logical fallacy (of the questionable cause variety) that states, "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one."

    February 8, 2011 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. gnodges

    Complete garbage!! I smoke pot every single day, and I don't................they're coming after me, gotta go.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Anne

    That explains a lot about my ex.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Really?

    The inclusion of alcohol & other substances negates the defense of pot in the article. If pot had no bearing on earlier onset there would be at least some mentally ill choosing alcohol too, if it was only self medication that was sought. Why didn't they have a rate of early onset similar to the drugs & pot? Other illicit drugs also had a deleterious effect but it was doubled in pot. Pot's symptoms include paranoia which is also common in schizophrenia. Hmmm, this theory just may have merit.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Thomas

    Booze Has the same effect on ppl with mental disabilitys but a study done like this testing boozes has not been done yet?

    February 8, 2011 at 00:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. dave

    I'm old skool pothead myself but I do agree with this study from first hand experience. I believe its ok to smoke once a day but I've seen a few people who do it several times a day for years and just about everyone of them seems to goes insain.
    they become consumed by the fact that what they are doing is right and meaningful like they are accomplishing something & never stop talking about pot laws and other bs. It's the absolute most annoying thing to listen to when you are trying to get stoned.. we know already so stop repeating it! The worst part though is when they truly go insane and start believing in every conspiracy out there and have hallucinations that people are watching them such as the government or aliens. At this point is a inconvenience to life to them and ones around them.
    Don't get me wrong, I love pot on the regular but only once or twice a day if that. you can have too much of a good thing, don't abuse it and maybe one day it will be legal. I'd give my right nut to make it legal but all these abuses scare me.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      I do agree, I am a smoker have been for a good 17 yrs and got to say it should be done in moderation. For patients take as indicated, if its legal take it on the weekend or when your done with work in your own home. I used to be a heavy drinker, woke up and slammed a bottle of tequila before noon and one on the way home from work. messed my life up, then i just quit turned to cannabis has my main... since then I have been better off.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:38 | Report abuse |
  33. JohnDoe

    Another "finding" that completely ignores anything other than what they want to hear. More comments from people who unintentionally allow their bias to cloud their thinking and reasoning. Biased statements based on baseless, ignorant "observations," conclusions and stereotypes. More of "potheads are stupid" and "pot kills!" but the worst part about it is that you are so stubborn you will not look past the lies and stereotypes. What about the successful, intelligent potheads that are open and then the many more average joes who have to hide it? I've always wondered why anti-pot comments lack resources, but then I tried to find some. The few "studies" that exist without some sort of influence always state MAY. Obviously inhaling anything will be "bad" for you, but what is bad? More people die from tobacco, obesity and alcohol but yet I can easily access all of these. Weed MAY be dangerous for you but yet I can go to jail. At this point it shouldn't be about the effects of weed because there MAY be a few "risks" involved. It should be why are we allowing ourselves to be misguided by the powerful who can manipulate and influence any study or "War on Drugs" campaign.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. JS

    Smoking weed makes me feel good.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      me too, isn't it great. I'm smoking on some Phantom Menance

      February 8, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  35. AZRLS

    Andrew, and others: Marijuana smoke is a known carcinogen, more so than tobacco because it is inhaled deeply and held in the lungs. And for those of you who think marijuana has never killed anyone, Great Britain is now tracking the people who developed lung cancer and died from smoking marijuana. Not to mention, of course, the people accidentally killed by marijuana smokers who should never have been driving. For example:" The 16-year-old who died, along with two young friends, after putting his car into reverse and driving into a canal last year was impaired after smoking a large amount of marijuana, police said Thursday. Sean Maxey, 16, of Coral Springs, drowned inside his 2007 Volkswagen on Nov. 15. Two school friends, Robert Nugent and Anthony Almonte, both 16, also died in the crash.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      and they weren't on any other form of drug, because todays kids are all on some sort of prescription, like Hydrocodones, Ritalin, anti depressant and I'm sure theres more out there. Oh and here is where you made your mistake, you said "The 16-year-old who died, along with two young friends, after putting his car into reverse and driving into a canal last year was impaired after smoking a large amount of marijuana, police said Thursday". POLICE SAID, now if the police told you to jump of the Golden State Bridge because they said so. would you? thats another thing, buying the police force.... So many corrupt cops out there its sickening.

      February 8, 2011 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      The fact is this. There is not ONE case of a Marijuanna only smoker developing Lung Cancer, PERIOD!

      And how about we site the most relieable study to date that there is.
      Dr. Donald Tashkin, one of the top ANTI-drug researchers in the country, conducted a 30 YEAR study specifically on the effects of Cannabis and the lungs!
      What he found was no association between cancer and marijuana smoking and even a suggestion of some protective effect!

      You just can NOT dispute the facts.

      February 8, 2011 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
  36. gardenbaglady

    This was hilarious, thanks for the comments. I can hardly quit smiling............

    February 8, 2011 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply


    I think they honestly already had problems to begin with. This is just a bunch of propaganda in a desperate attempt to get people to vote against future cannabis legalization initiatives that will be on the statewide ballots for 2012. Ignore it and vote yes. Thanks !

    February 8, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris

      Thanks back. toke toke toke

      February 8, 2011 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
  38. bhmike17

    I have schizophrenia. I don't use pot. I tried it one time and it didn't do anything but made me go to sleep. I've been psychotic especially when I'm off medication (for all you anti medication people out there). I have known other schizophrenics that have done a lot of pot. To a person they said it was not good for them. Most of them were off medication and turned to pot because they thought it made them feel better but in the end it really screwed them up. I guess there is no way to tell which comes first but I can tell you that street drugs and drinking are not good for those of us that have psychosis. And there was one person that said you can not have on eposide of psychosis. That is not true. There are some mental illnesses and physical illnesses where you can have a one time episoide of psychosis.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Kyle

    "Psychosis"??????? That term died about 20 years along w/ Freudianism

    February 8, 2011 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Greg Gilbert

    And coffee can increase the risk of heart attack and I even had a patient today who had a liver transplant because he used too much ibuprofen. This is all old news. I never took care of someone that was in the hospital from smoking too much marijuana. Legalize it. It's safer than tylenol!!!! Had a few overdoses on that too.

    February 8, 2011 at 00:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. kpns. Creativity flourished. I prefer ganja over red wine. A glass a night, of some great tasting

    It's nice to enjoy a blunt amongst friends instead of a bottle. I prefer ganja over red wine for my nightly toast. Don't take my creativity for insanity, sucka. (or yours for that matter).

    February 8, 2011 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Scott A

    Okay...tack on some anti-gay slurs into the study and it would make a typical Anita Bryant work of art (you can just hear her saying "drugs are like that too" in response to this study. Anything "may" speed psychosis...making an entire article devoted in blasting something many sick people depend on for medicinal purposes when there's nothing else to help them is not one of CNN's proudest moments.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Chris

    just think if they did legalize it, our economy would boom, jobs would be created, our alternative to oil would be found, trees would be saved, the U.S. would be more peaceful. Last year in Red Bluff Ca. a small town to a lot, had there first annual hemp festival, we had our 215 "which is a pass to legally grow" and not one violent outbreak happened during the three day event. Everyone sat around to eat good food, smoke there crop, talk among people, and listen to live music. Later on that evening at the local bars, where alcohol was very retrievable, there where stabbings, fights, and car crashes. Weigh the options people.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Chris

    Should we make religion illegal... just think how many people have a psychosis episode there, no i see Jesus or wait i here him speak to me..... oops sorry folks I've started toking.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Psychiatrist_Here_

    THC is actually a natural antipsychotic, it causes the release of anandamide, where low levels of anandamide cause psychotic states.

    09:30 30 August 04

    Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

    A cannabis-like substance produced by the brain may dampen delusional or psychotic experiences, rather than trigger them.

    Heavy cannabis use has been linked to psychosis in the past, leading researchers to look for a connection between the brain's natural cannabinoid system and schizophrenia.

    Sure enough, when Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne, Germany, and Andrea Giuffrida and Danielle Piomelli of the University of California, Irvine, looked at levels of the natural cannabis-like substance anandamide, they were higher in people with schizophrenia than in healthy controls.

    The team measured levels of anandamide in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 47 people suffering their first bout of schizophrenia, but who had not yet taken any drugs for it, and 26 people who had symptoms of psychosis and have a high risk of schizophrenia.

    Compared with 84 healthy volunteers, levels were six times as high in people with symptoms of psychosis and eight times as high in those with schizophrenia.

    "This is a massive increase in anandamide levels," Leweke told the National Cannabis and Mental Illness Conference in Melbourne, Australia, last week. And that is just in the CSF. Levels could be a hundred times higher in the synapses, where nerve signalling is taking place, he says.

    Cause or effect

    But were the high anandamide levels triggering the psychotic symptoms or a response to them? Leweke and his colleagues found, to their surprise, that the more severe people's schizophrenia was the lower their anandamide levels.

    The team's theory is that rather than triggering psychosis, the substance is released in response to psychotic symptoms to help control them. People with the worst symptoms might be unable to produce sufficient anandamide to prevent them.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Psychiatrist_Here_

      Demyelination causes schizophrenia. Demyelination stems from oligodendrocyte loss/death. Oligodendrocytes die from too much dopamine. Dopamine gets released through glutamate channels. Glutamate dysfunction yields schizophrenia. Anandamide lipids, are omega-3, signal IL-6 signaling trauma/recovery to brain. Need GABA to inhibit Glutamate release, to stop dopamine release, to prevent oligodendrocyte death, and resulting demyelination, while restoring anandamide signaling to maintain brain homeostasis to prevent schizophrenia onset.

      Demyelination is however, reversible.

      February 8, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
  46. Gene

    Where are all the 60 year old psychotic baby-boomers from the summer of love??? LOL This study reeks of disinformation. Reefer Madness is still alive folks!

    February 8, 2011 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Lily

    It's ridiculous how many people are denouncing this study as "flawed" when not one of you has read the original paper or analyzed the research methods. The conclusions reached are not to your liking, so you're pretending to know how to examine a research paper critically when in fact you have no clue. In reality, studies like this are extremely valuable because they identify important questions to be explored in future research. And studies like this that cannot reach an absolutely certain conclusion are the norm. Science is so advanced and complex now that we don't get to have certainty MOST of the time; what we get is a probability that a hypothesis is true. Sorry, but all of you who are crying "Bunk!" and "Flawed!" are obviously under-educated and have no idea how the scientific method works. Try getting an education - and being honest with yourself about your desperate desire to believe marijuana is harmless - and then maybe you'll have something valuable to contribute to the discussion.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Psychiatrist_Here_

      I think you missed the whole point of the article and medical research. This is just a stupid news article written by some self righteous person that thinks they understand neuropharmacology. It's very simple ok, schizophrenia is genetic, and it's related to multiple sclerosis, in the sense that the schizophrenic brain undergoes demyelination. Myelin biosynthesis and glutamatergic dysfunction are central to the pathology of schizophrenia, this starts to happen during the teens (ventricals, frontal lobe changes, decreased mass). Glutamate receptors are central in the neuroinflammation of the demyelination. Anandamide, the lipid, actually protects against this demyelination, cause it causes the release of IL-6, letting the body know there's trauma. What you need to get rid of it, is to bind a medication to the glutamate receptors, ie. GABA which inhibits glutamate. Smoking pot release as much anandamide as smoking a cigarette. Smoking hash releases the amount of anandamide that is similar to that of a cigar. As you can see all the cigarette-cigar smokers are quite dangerous, that's why they were recently banned in city and neighborhood parks. Too dangerous to be around kids/humans, they're prone to their constant questioning attacks.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse |
    • Psychiatrist_Here_

      What I meant above, is that you need to control the level of glutamate release, to inhibit it. This is the cause of the demyelination, which is what causes schizophrenia (seeing things, hearing things, catatonia). Glutamate release can be easily inhibited by GABA, which to some extent anandamide can exert some type of action. However, if you have too much glutamate, you will end up releasing dopamine, through the glutamate-ion gates, which cause dopamine to be released.

      Thus glutamate overactivity, causes release of too much dopamine (crazy high, paranoia), anandamide comes in to modulate, stop it, tells body something is wrong. Need GABA, to prevent glutamine induced dopamine release (simple ion channel chemistry). If you stop this, then the demyelination will stop.

      Very simple.

      February 8, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
    • Psychiatrist_Here_

      The brain is composed of billions of neurons, each of which communicate with each other using long information corridors known as axons and dendrites. Myelin sheaths insulate some axons, which allows them to operate faster.

      These sheaths are composed primarily of omega-3 fatty acids, which the human body is incapable of producing on its own.

      Because of this, in order to promote the growth of myelin sheaths, people must include ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets while at the same time balancing their consumption with omega-6 fatty acids, which inhibit the absorption of omega-3s.

      Eat foods abundant in omega-3s. Sources include flax and hemp oil.

      Another new use for hemp oil, THC oils. Hence their medicinal value......

      Growth of the Myelin Sheath

      February 8, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  48. YourMama

    Jared Loughner was an avid pot user also, and we all know how his life turned out.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Psychiatrist_Here_

      Vice President Al Gore flunked out of a leading Tennessee graduate school at a time when he was a heavy marijuana user, according to academic records, and look how he turned out. He invented the internet, the ozone hole, and the doomsday clock.

      February 8, 2011 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  49. Truth

    Alcohol leads to alcoholism; sugar leads to obesity. Moderation in everything. I can live with a little psychosis. Stark sanity is too taxing.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Budman

    I can go to the beer store, grab a couple of 24's, and literally drink myself to death. Government has no problem with alcohol being legal. I can go to a pharmacy and pick up a pack of Tylenol, down them all, and die. Government has no problem with pharmaceuticals being legal. I can go buy a pound of weed and smoke every last bud right down to the last pull.....and I would be hungry. The government has a problem with that, so marijuana is illegal.

    February 8, 2011 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jake

      lol liked your post

      February 8, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
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