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.
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.
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"Alcohol use had no influence on development of psychosis, according to the study" OF COURSE NOT...However they didn't study the 400,000 deaths, the drunk drivers or the reason daddy used to beat up on mommy all because of ALCOHOL.
Weed obviously has no side-effects. It opens your mind and makes you more creative which is why potheads are such brilliant and productive members of society. Think of all the inventions that wouldn't exist if weed wasn't around to inspire people to act. All of you naysayers are just ignorant.
lol, your comment is one giant contradiction. If your suggesting that weed has no side effects, than people on weed wouldn't have invented something based off of being stoned. If pot can have positive side effects, it can also have negative side effects. Nothing is that wonderful. It could also be that the mad geniuses that created all those things on weed were smoking weed because they were mad geniuses and needed a way to self medicate, which is a positive things. There are too many factors to say that pot has no negative, or positive side effects. However, it's much much safer than most substances that are legal. Legalize weed!
You're just ignorant, man. Weed illicits changes, but only positive ones. You wouldn't even be on this website right now if it weren't for the creative powers that weed gave to Al Gore. Why don't you stop doubting weed's power and make a computer out of hemp? It's cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the sillicone-based rig that you're using now.
Oh please. Another study released and talked up by folks who have a vested interest in keeping pot illegal. When they've replicated the study with alcohol and other available drugs, then they might have something to talk about. Pot is the least of their worries; alcohol and meth should be way ahead of it. Both are more likely drugs of choice by psychotics and far more likely to make them do something stupid or violent.
Have them steer well clear of new pharmaceutical drugs is the key. If you've ever read the discussion pamphlets, they always begin with "we believe", or "its really not clear", or something along that line of reasoning. They really don't know how or why any of their chemicals they push work or even if they work at all or if they are doing more harm than good. A natural substance would be a much better bet, in my honest opinion, because it cannot be disproved that one's symptoms would not have worsened all on their own anyways. A double blind study is impossible with these types of mental manifestations. Emory is full of bs, that's for certain.
You should listen....us "pot" somkers are not going to stop. I
f legalized and taxed we could balance our Budget.
Eat right, exercise, and smoke marijuana. You will be glad you did. Enjoy life, this study is for mindless non-smokers still plugged into the matrix.
haha thats what i do and it works for me!
someone needs to turn it into a religon
I had a friend who ended up being schizo and marijuana made it much worse. I am sure it is no coincidence that the very time he was the most heavily using Marijuana was the time he developed it.
OMG! Not REEFER MADNESS???
tis tis tis tis tis, now if you smoke it you advance to a new level of cool, you become hip.
Schizophrenics often have symptoms years before a formal diagnosis. One of my best friends in high school developed schizophrenia. He also smoked a ton of pot, but he was already starting to show symptoms of mental illness prior to his pot habit. He went from being a normal high school honor student & band geek to stoner in danger of failing to schizophrenic unable to care for himself. I don't believe pot made him schizophrenic, I believe he was starting to lose it during his junior year of high school, but rather than recognize the symptoms, it was far easier to categorize him as a stoner who just wanted to skip school and smoke pot all day. It was 3 years later that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that was after a really awful downward spiral. It seems to me like schizophrenia often afflicts those who are very bright and have a lot going for them, and their parents and love ones would like to blame something- like drug use.
This is a hilarious pharmaceutically funded study. Yeah pot is soooooo bad. Yeah right, compare it to your average percription drug. You can smoke weed, live a very happy life and laugh at all the people who dont smoke. Or you can take some crazy pharmaceutical that requires more pharmaceuticals to deal with the side effects and live a numb, opressive and perscibed life. Mabey we should compare the sucide rates of marijuana users with that of percribed anti-depressant users. How about sucide rates of drinkers compared to marijuana users. I would be willing to bet that weed would be found to be way less harmful to human life. I am tired of people acting all high and mighty because they take perscription medications or drink instead of enjoying some pot, chilling with friends, thinking, and confronting their problems.
If the pharmasutical giants and perfected synthetic THC you better beilive that stuff would be legal. Its good stuff!
BIG STEVE....I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This society that is against smoking the canabis should light up and then tell us how they all feel. Us "Pot smokers" do not go around stealing money from our family and friends, or B & E's, or losing our jobs because they steal from there too......just to go get our "Pot". SEE THE BIG PICTURE PEOPLE AND AS BIG STEVE SAYS LEAGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!!! Do you not understand how much the government could make on taxing Canabis alone?!?!?!?!?! Hello Congress, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!
Apparently, using pot makes you a defensive know-it-all.
We had a presentation in one of my classes yesterday from a person who entered college and began heavily smoking pot. He developed psychosis within a year. Once he accepted that he had delusions, stopped using drugs and entered treatment, his psychosis went away and he hasn't had it recur in the 4 or 5 years since then.
You sure it wasn't a tumor? It could be a tumor.
i must admit the i am a casual pot smoker, and to this day i still feel fine, not saying that i haven't had a bad day in my life, what i am trying to say, is that the bad days Ive had did not come from the fact that i smoke pot but simply that fact that i had a bad day, i smoke to relax, same as a tea drinker would drink tea, or cigarette smoker, smoking a cig, i'm pretty sure i'm not the only one that feels this way, but i feel like this world is moving way to fast, with a lot people being asleep at the wheel, and when people, one by one start geting tired trying to keep up with the "bullet train" we call society, we start thinking that there a problem with them, start trying to explain why they are so different from the norm. if we all were just a little bit, just a tiny bit nicer to each other, you'd start releasing that you don't care whether people smoke or not cause there a lot more bigger carp to deal with such as where is bin ladin, or global warming, or that fact the global population growth rate can not be sustained by 2025, or better yet why not worry about how are you going to put food on the table for the kids tonight. or we can complain about why pot smoker smoke when it bad for you(right)
It seems to me that the headline of this article, not the study is biased here. The fact is "Marijuana use may speed psychosis" is a much more intriguing and exciting headline than the more accurate, "Pot and psychosis seem to be connected in some way, but we don't know how." This article is completely upfront in acknowledging that correlation does not equal causation and that if causation is implied, there is more than one direction that causation could go. Pot and psychosis do appear to be correlated. What that correlation indicates, if anything, is a matter that requires further study.
HAHA chindokae...Lets point out all the bad things with weed or (marijuana). But don't worry about cigerettes. Why can people smoke cigs knowing it will kill them eventually. But can't smoke weed which is less harmfull. It's proven it is less harmfull, and doesn't affect you as much as alchol. Doesn't make sense to me.
I do agree weed does open up ones artistic creativity...I painted some of the most mystical paintings while on weed and I painted some very dark images as well...I stoped smoking it because it made me PARANOID,Heart palps and I could'nt sleep because I started to hear voices in my head all jumbled together like in a crowded room....NOW I know damn well some of you people out there know what I'am talking about.As for me now give me a good bottle of wine some mello jazz and I'AM CONTENT......FREE YOUR MND AND YOUR AZZ WILL FOLLOW,THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS WITHIN-(Parliment/Funkadelc)
I dig the parliament reference.
As a non-smoker even I find this article hard to take seriously. "[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," does not confident whatsoever. No datum are cited. The article and the quotes within it are chock-full of maybes, possiblys, and doubling-back to make sure no actual conclusions are propounded. In fact, "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." No Z factors were accounted for? The possibility of cannabis being a way to self-medicate wasn't factored in? Where did these people get accredited? Phoenix University Online?
Ah, and at the end of the article we find the true message. "Whatever the relationship between cannabis and psychosis (gimme a break), experts can agree that early use of cannabis is problematic." Oh, okay, so now we have an agreement on something. What is it we agree upon? That there is a scientifically certifiable health or social concern that marijuana measurably aggravates? No, that's not it. Just some personal concerns combined with subtle projection onto the reader: "No one wants to see young people get heavily involved with any psychoactive substances."
Chalk another one up for inflammatory, inaccurate journalism and paid-for scientific results.
Read the history of cannabis. Make sure to cover 1937.A lot of big players in that arrangement.CNN this is a bs report.Aussie i know you had some bad luck and need USA Help but.... YOU would think for all the uses of the man-made drugs they have found;something would be positive about cannabis.It is; we just don't have a study to prove it.It is almost like it isn't a drug at all.Your body will expel toxins.30days later still in the body?The only legal use is the ones that drug companies can try to copy? How many more do we but in jail ? We have allowed charade to go on long enough.Educate yourself.If you are a model citizen.On a jury trial that no one is harmed.Think about it.
If your going to leave weed illegal. Then shouldn't alchol and cigerettes be illegal? But, that won't happen...
there's too much money to be made.
The government makes to much money off of alchol and cigerettes. But the crazy thing is they'd probably make more off of taxing weed, and not to mention the fact that weed related crimes would drop. Because why would you buy it from a dealer when you can get it at the headshop down the road thats not tampered with?
Everyone watch this movie i found on netflix its called "The Union". Now b4 you shoot htis movie down all im asking is for you to watch it. It will show you some things you didnt know about this "great argument".
Looks like in some studies puberty accelerates it.....
I have yet to see anyone mention the preservatives and additives that have been put in our food for the past 50 years. Does anyone think this may have something to do with the increase in psychotic behavior and ADHD?
Hears my chance to dance my way out of my constrictions....gonna keep moving down the valley way..with the groove as our only guide... we shall all be moved..feet don't fail me now... can I get it on the good foot good god!!!!(Parliment/Funkadelic).Make it legal,tax it but just be ready for a wave of Crazies running down the street for no apparent reason at all..oh yeah and while your trying to catch them start training and hiring people to deal with them which will boost the economy MORE MEDS,MORE BEDS,MORE BREAD!!!!! Can I get an AMEN SOMEBODY???
In what will likely be seen as something of a Freudian slip by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said recently in a Mexican news interview that the United States cannot legalize drugs as a means of fighting the black market because "there is just too much money in it." http://dailypaul.com/156399/clinton-says-too-much-money-in-legalizing-drugs
EVERYTHING is a business model.
stop assuming pot make people crazy, your sound like a person who hates swimming because your friend had a bad experience, you have no clue what pot does, but because Tom, Dick, and Hairy said it make you crazy, you believe, get a grip, find some fact out for yourself before you, start thinking your a genius, and for the rest or the world if scientist start saying that they found out the the sun is blue, your not just gonna agree, you find out for your self, in other word educate your self, find out for your self's, it wont kill you, unless ur a serious mental case
To the misinformed poster that say smoking pot causes cancer.
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. Cannabinoids fight and prevent cancer.
Did anyone involved in this study, think of this question? The fact that marijuana is illegal, could cause a deep seated psychosis. Getting busted is Always on your mind, after all Uncle Sam says it's still has no medicinal use.
Well, I don't know who their "guy" is, but if whatever he's selling you leads to schizophrenia then you might want to find another "guy", because that's definitely not just cannabis.... I mean, if you get the right stuff, I'm willing to bet a significant amount of Cheetos Puffs, that you will in fact feel anti-schizophrenic..... And you will see things clearer and less delusional than you've ever seen before.....
society is the problem, violence and drug are just by-product of the actual problem
Hey Gabe you talkin to me???Look here dude I bet I'am old enough to be your daddy,and I've got a lot of former friends to back up my opinions...some who said when they stopped smoking it they calmed down...now on the other hand I know some who it has'nt affected YET. And if you talk like you spell YOU NEED TO STOP SMOKING AS WELL....much love baby buba.Now it did help with the migraine headaches But the negative side effect are not worth it.Peace
Pot smokers are too paranoid to harm anyone . Even if they were crazy before they smoked pot. POT IS GODS WAY TO GO GREEN!!
I really don't want my children to use marijuana, however, the new "legal" alternatives are so much more dangerous. I live in louisiana and you can go to just about any gas station or head shop and buy "potpourri" or "bath salts" that are advertised to be legal marijuana alternatives. As a former marijuana user and current father I had heard a lot about how kids are getting hooked on this stuff and wanted to experience it myself. I purchased a small 3g foil bag of "legal inscence" and took one small hit. Before I knew it, I was feeling extreme paranoia and minor hallucinations. I ended up vomiting in the kitchen sink and tossing what was left of the stuff in the garbage. There is no age limit to purchase this stuff and you can literally get it anywhere here.
From doing a little research before my purchase, I found that this stuff is created by taking a benign herb and spraying lab formulated chemical compounds over it. It has recently been all over the news that these new legal drugs are pushing otherwise healthy individuals to violent outbursts, and in some cases suicide. When the state pushes a ban on one of these chemical compounds, before you know it, another more dangerous one is created to take its place. I have never seen a single study on the effects of these compounds, or heard of any regulation by the FDA or otherwise concerning their open sale, especially to minors.
If marijuana was legalized and regulated, it would likely put an end to these expensive and extremely dangerous alternatives that have invaded the school systems and homes in my area.
I had to smoke one just to make since of what is being said. I have never seen anything that wasn't there. People are crazy and stupid without smoking, so this study means nothing. Study why stupid parents breed stupid kids.
Shame of CNN for putting up this reefer madness propaganda crap. Notice how they use the word "may" a lot and there are no solid facts here.
Ok, so I recently got a DUI. It was the dumbest mistake I've ever made. In my opinion alchol is more of a problem the pot. Granted there is a lot of pot related crime, but alchol kills more people. Do to DUI and making stupid decision because of the alchol. Not to mention alchol breaks up and ruins families. Not always, but a lot more then pot ever has.
Since you are here and wrote this entry Im assuming you didnt kill anyone while you were driving drunk which is good. I wouldnt want to have to hate you for your actions if you had.
These reporters, as well as these obviously biased researchers make me want to vomit in my metaphorical intellectual underpants.
What is the FIRST rule of research, you (meaning those involved in the articles) completely comprised neo-academic frauds...
CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION!!! (and never speculate concerning the data)
THIS is why I walked away from an 80,000$ Psychology degree.
Completely leveraged and biased excrement.
This study should be placed alongside the "marijuana causes brain damage and kills brain cells" study that the researchers forced upon unsuspecting monkeys, and Reagan then conveniently used as a launching pad for the "War on Drugs".
We have an enemy people. This is not a test run.
t.brown buddy you being how ever old you are is not the issue the fact that you and your 20 friends or so do not compare to the 6.4 billion people on the planet, and if you weren't so concerned about the way i spell you'd release that if 100 people were to eat fish and 10 of them got sick, or just couldn't handle it, it wouldn't mean the fish is bad for everyone, now i'm not saying everyone should be able to handle pot, what i am saying is that just because YOU and your friends cant handle it (by all mean stop smoking it), doesn't mean it bad or causes everyone who smoke's it to go crazy, so if you don't mind stop think the world revolve around you and your friends and what happened., and stat thinking a little bigger
u said everything i wanted to say thank
This study is stupid, this is like saying that drinking milk may lead into becoming an alcoholic. Lame study made by ignorant people.
States should pay anyone who has marijuana (the drug) sources to give the product away. This would satisfy demand sufficiently that supply would not be so profitable, and the crime associated with the drug would disappear. Experience would show whether this policy could be extended to other addictive drugs. It should be illegal to sell any amount of marijuana for use as a drug, either by individuals or by government agencies. There should be no penalties for using it; this is an individual choice with no effects on any but the user.
Marijuana is bad because it left the inner-city and came too close to home in the suburbs and high society as the other drugs did.. Marijuana is no worse than cigarettes and alcohol..
Besides, why are people still doing these test about marijuana? It's illegal leave it at that.. I mean you tell me it causes or could cause psychosis, based on what, what is your proof? How did you answer this hypothesis? Is this more leverage that states why it should remain illegal?
I mean I don't care, people are going to get high no matter what the law says, thats only because they are human and they should have the right along with you, to pilute your body.. I choose not to.. but when you take away a humans choice, he/she will rebel and do what the law prohibits.. Your body belongs to you, so you should be able to mutilate it if you like..
These test didn't answer the hypothesis it only says it could cause psychosis, just like I could win the lottery.. I mean psychosis doesn't just come about from smoking marijuana.. Their has to be post traumatic stress, a event or genetic.. It doesn't just happen to people who smoke marijuana, this sounds like some REFER MADNESS!
I mean who were your test subjects? Your research is flawed if you are basing it on patients who turned up to have psychosis/schizophrenia then question them did they use marijuana they say yes and you deem marijuana rapidly increase these diseases is silly.
Nobody knows what causes schizophrenia and to tie it to marijuana use is a stretch.. neurotransmitters, dopamine and glutamate problems with these brain chemicals are related to schizophrenia...
And the way medical experts say all illegal drugs cause everything.. I guess you didn't waste tax money on this research..
For all of you that think pot cannot trigger or contribute to a psychosis episode...you have obviously never been around a person who suffers from schizophrenia. I have lost the love of my life because of this stupid 'natural' drug. The pot messes with the dopamine and seratonin levels and causes the person to become WAY off balanced. It's a heatbreaking thing to watch.
So I don't understand, why would you let the love of your live do drugs, if he/she has a psychosis problem or Schizophrenia, I don't understand.. Because I'm sure he/she was not lost from smoking one joint.. You had to witness him/her doing this several times, but you condoned it.. Not saying it's your fault and I empathize. But if someone already has problems or mental issues, they shouldn't be using any drugs except what the FDA has for the condition.. Loved ones and family members shouldn't allow it to happen..
Look at Fourloko the drink. They are going to ban that now because somebody or some stupid people drank way to much and blamed it on the drink. Come on, the problem is people like to have something to blame and point the fingure at for the worlds problems. To many people now days are weak and can't take responsibillity for there actions. It takes one person to ruin something for everyone because they made a stupid choice and can't own up to it...
Whomever wrote this article is on dope also
The "logic" employed in this article is flawed and unscientific. Employing this kind of crooked logic, one could say there are some crazy people that listens to classical music, therefore classical music must make people crazy. These are bad assumptions, not good science.
Man I could argue this topic all day, but I have been for years and nothing has changed. So, whats the point..
im really sorry for your loss, and im really not tryin to be rude just want a little more info, like what would someone allow someone with schizophrenia to somke pot to begin with, why not treat their symptom first how ever long it takes, and what if we had better technology to better pridect or detect someone with schizophrenia wouldnt we be better able to treat it.
Kesha you and Gabriel keep smoking.I did'nt mention 20 friends or so, you did, I have many more aprox two thirds of the Sr High class smoked it rich ,poor,black,white and everybody in between and I did'nt say everybody went crazy. NOW CAN YOU IMAGINE 6.4 BILLON SMOKING POT????? What condition would the world be in then.. SWEET PEACHES! The WORLD NEVER WILL OR HAS EVER REVOLVED AROUND ME SKIPPY.I'am just voicing an opinon based on facts, AND I dated a doctor who worked in an mental hospital and gathered much info from her on this.So you guys smoke up and have a ball.Now think a little biggeryou say, WELL I DID and that why I'am retired now living well and can waste some time playing with you guys....no harm done Peace be with you guys Live well and be in good health.
Hey just wanted to let you know that the drug of choice for those in power who run the world in cocaine.. Believe it or not it's true.. I would prefer if I piluted my body to have the side-effects of marijuana then cocaine.. So 6.5 Billion people smoking pot is no different then the people in power using cocaine..
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