Marijuana is Connected to Psychosis and Schizophrenia

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11717A study from the University of Pittsburgh which denies the mental health hazards of marijuana is surprising, since there are many other scientific studies pointing to a causal or trigger relationship between marijuana use and psychosis potentially developing into schizophrenia. The Pittsburgh study is limited by its small size; reliance on self-reporting and lack of diversity.  In fact, the sample size of 408 was 55% African American and included virtually no Hispanics or Asians.  It began in 1987, when the THC in marijuana was lower.  Read Dr. Christine Miller’s article on Marijuana Myths.

Research in the UK[i] reveals than one in four serious mental disorders are a result of “skunk” (i.e. high THC pot) including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Another study of youth in Australia and New Zealand showed teens who used cannabis 7x more likely to attempt suicide, a serious concern which should alarm anyone.

Cannabis Cup competitions sponsored by High Times magazine have pot growers competing to see how high they can increase THC content in their product. These events over the last three decades have made “skunk” pot the norm here in the U.S. In the last 30 years the psychoactive ingredient THC in marijuana has increased six-fold according to Smart Approaches to Marijuana.[ii]

Old-fashioned marijuana  or hash which contained the component  CBD, also called cannabidiol, did not have as many adverse effects. Or, at least the adverse effects didn’t come on so quickly as they can with today’s highly potent pot.  CBD has been largely bred out of the marijuana grown in California, while the THC content has climbed from about 4-6% in 1996 to today’s “skunk” which averages 16%. Concentrated hash oil can be as high as 96% THC, and is being packaged and sold in quantities that are potentially lethal.    California’s Emerald Triangle provides 60% of the US marijuana market, according to some of the state legislators. Potent Weed

An oft heard claim is that marijuana is safer than alcohol. A Finnish study of 18,478 psychosis patients found the highest risk of schizophrenia (46%) was among those with cannabis-induced psychosis, as compared to amphetamines (30%) and alcohol (5%). [iii]

An Australian study [iv] revealed that 4 out of 5 people with schizophrenia were heavy cannabis users during adolescence.  Dr. Campbell, who conducted the studies, said that “….. many people used cannabis for years before succumbing to schizophrenia.  The psych wards are full of these people.”

The British Medical Journal article of 23 November 2002 — the best long-term study  of marijuana and schizophrenia — proves that the mental illness susceptibility is not only a problem with the high-THC marijuana and “dabs” used today. It involved more than 50,000 Swedish men ages 18-20 and followed them 26 years. It factored in variables such as socio-economic status, low IQ, other drug usage, cigarette smoking and existing personality traits.  “Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia consistent with causal relationship. This association is not explained by use of other psychoactive drugs or personality traits.”  The study involved the low-THC cannabis of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.   With the old-fashioned marijuana of that time, it was determined that the risk for developing schizophrenia increased once a person used pot 50 times.  For those who never used pot at all, there was zero chance of developing schizophrenia.

 A Danish study of 7,075 individuals followed from 1994-2005 showed that not having a familial link to mental illness is not protection against cannabis-induced psychosis.   “The risk of schizophrenia and cannabis-induced psychosis and timing of onset were unrelated to familial disposition” is a conclusion from “Familial Disposition for Psychiatric Disorder,” by Mikkel Arendt et. al.  See the Archives of General Psychiatry as published by the American Medical Association in 2008.  In short, the health hazards and brain damage for marijuana users under age 25 are well documented. One California mom, Jody Belsher, made a documentary film, The Other Side of Cannabis, which explores the marijuana-psychosis connection.   It is surprising that academic journals would spend time refuting what the medical professionals from all over the world admit.  Another article, 10 Marijuana Myths, has an extensive, detailed section of footnotes.

[i] http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article – 2953915/Scientists-cannabis-TRIPLES-psychosis-ris-Groundbreaking-research-blames-skunk-1-4 new mental disorders.  14 February 2015.

[ii] https://learnaboutsam.org/the-issues/big-marijuana-claims-vs-the-science/#_edn16

[iii] http://www.psychiatrist.com/JCP/article/Pages/2013/v74n01/v74n0115.aspx

[iv] Dr. Andrew Campbell of the NW Mental Health Review Tribunal, Daily Mail (UK), The Australian. Nov 22, 2005


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20 thoughts on “Marijuana is Connected to Psychosis and Schizophrenia”

  1. I noticed recently regarding the Dylan Roof trial, insanity pleas will be ruled out and not admissible, or something to that effect.

    Though I do understand the legal system and the medical profession view drug abuse and mental derangement differently, I am baffled why our country can’t grasp that this case is not exclusively about racism and hate.

    Instead, as I see, drug abuse and resulting mental derangement from prolonged abuse, ARE very relevant because without the regular use of marijuana, and the daily use of cocaine it’s now revealed (which can’t be good for the brain either!), Roof may never engaged in that terrorist act.

    In fact, I see this case is primarily about drug abuse and resultant mental disturbance that lead to this horror for whatever reason, like probably ALL similar terrorist acts.

    The concept is simple actually. Folks from all walks of life can develop prejudices or anger about anything. Normally people discuss, sometimes argue, but generally they do not get so angry they decide to kill others.

    Now, add foreign, toxic chemicals to their brains, specifically THC because this one chemical seems to have ubiquitous commonality in the vast majority of terrorist acts (9/11, Boston Marathon, OKC, Orlando, Dear, Holmes, Loughner, etc, etc). The mind reacts to marijuana because THC interacts and overrides the pleasure/reward neurotransmitters. The mind in turn feels good and euphoric for a bit which makes marijuana so popular.
    But there’s no free lunch. Drugs skew and distort the chemistry and neural circuits of the brain. It really shouldn’t be a wonder, it’s a no-brainer actually, that perhaps a smaller percentage of users develop ‘distorted’ thought processes.

    Combine that with some innate hate and anger, the potential actions of the mentally deranged person become elevated. And in some cases, those individuals act unreasonably on their urges, such as blowing up marathons, or buildings, shooting up schools or movie theaters or gay night clubs, decapitating friends, or shooting up a church.

    Of course, there is no alternative universe to compare potential outcomes, but we as a society MUST wonder if Roof had not used all that marijuana, and cocaine, if this horrific tragedy in Charleston, SC would have ever occurred. Marijuana misuse is relevant in the case, and rather than being dismissed, really should be the primary discussion point, in my opinion.

  2. Today’s headline says it all;

    “4 More Charged in Case of David Grunwald, Alaska Teen Allegedly Killed for Smoking Friend’s Weed”

  3. I just finished watching one of Dr. Christine Miller’s lectures. She has studied this subject from all angles. Awesome stuff, she gets it and is not afraid to tell the world!

    I would love to see Dr. Miller’s insight expressed in national publications, books or on television or radio programs. How about a full length interview with Rebecca on the Costa Report radio program, for instance?

  4. Just today in the news is a homicide in Massachusetts allegedly by a pot smoking 15 year who decapitated a friend.

    This kind of madness is happening over and over again, all around the country. Teenagers are supposed to have arguments, at worst fist fights, not go about murdering one another. However, when it comes to homicide, marijuana is invariably part of the equation.

    Looking at the message boards that responded to this story, there are a few folks out there who are seeing the eerie correlation, who do see the light! Finally, word is getting around. Very encouraging.

    Their posts indicate they too have suspicions about the potentially negative role marijuana may have with the brain.

    Just think about the science: the pleasure reward center of neurotransmitters in the brain is severely disrupted, the very areas that control behavior, mood, empathy and inhibition. There are a lot of big red arrows pointing at cannabis as the mind deranging culprit.

    Take for instance the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing, one described as a “Daily Stoner”, and the fact they also killed over a marijuana deal two years prior, where the sprinkled marijuana over the dead bodies as some kind of creepy ritual. Seriously, is it religious fanaticism, or mind derangement from marijuana abuse?

    And didn’t Massachusetts just legalize marijuana? Good grief!

    I recommend to ANYBODY out there: Just google search any of these heinous crimes and see what connection to marijuana you can also find. I think your discovery will knock you on the floor. Marijuana and violent, homicidal behavior are so connected, it’s insane! Try Tsarnaev, McVeigh, Roof, Dear, Loughner, the Nice terrorist, the Paris and Brussels terrorists, Eric Rudolph, Megan Huntsman, etc. Or any new heinous crime that comes along. Pretty soon you can predict with about a 90 percent accuracy that marijuana is indeed connected.

    We need national dialogue and we need to have a lot of alarm bells chiming so the public knows what’s going on!

  5. I am the father of a teenage boy and also a practicing lawyer. The day I found my son high was one I was honestly expecting, being that now many teens try cannabis at some time or another. I can attest to there being effects on memory while high on the drug but not on the long term. The way I see it that during these times, if you are going to be a social kid in high school instead of keeping your head in the books you will eventually find yourself at some form of a party where there will be a lot of alcohol and a lot of other drugs including marijuana. If I were to choose any of them it would be pot and I hope that the parents of many children would hope the same because other drugs like xanax and alcohol are much worse. Having to get a call from the hospital that my son had been found at a party unresponsive because of alcohol poisoning and needed to get his stomach pumped immediately was horrifying. I have seen first hand that alcohol is much more dangerous than marijuana on multiple levels and I am sure you have too. However you slice it, teens will be teens and drugs are for many kids is something that will be apart of them in some form while they are growing up. Additionally as a lawyer I feel as though much of this sites content is blatant statements with no substantial evidence. It is hard to convince a jurry when the other guy actually has something to work with. Additionally I feel that children with extreemley strict parents or parents who set high expectations for their children are somewhat to blame for much of the stories on this site about how children have been “addicted” to cannabis and have destroyed their very own lives and the lives of the ones around them. Before you put the blame on pot you should look at youslef as a parent. The things you say or do to your child can have a much greater effect than you think and can incline them to try drugs and get away from you and all the hurt you put on them.

    1. You are very judgmental and seem to have insights into the parents and how they parented. We don’t know your reasons for saying they were too strict or that they were responsible for hurting their children.

      In turn, we will be judgmental about you and wonder why you never
      warned your son against binge drinking. Activists are recommending that marijuana is a substitute for binge drinking. Both are unnecessary. People don’t have to drink or get stoned, and plenty of
      adults do neither. On our website, we come right out and say that we expect children to experiment and that they will try drugs.

      We would never use or recommend Xanax for anxiety. Try yoga instead.

      Have you read all the academic articles linked on to Dr. Christine Miller’s Ten Myths article? We maintain is that

  6. It is interesting that none of the many modern studies demonstrating anti-psychotic/anti-anxiety properties of CBD were referenced here. Nor was the concern amongst researchers that the link between pot use and Schizophrenia may actually be partly the product of reverse causal, that is, that many people with the disorder self-medicate to relieve early symptoms. It was also alluded to by another commenter that the rate of the disorder has been flat for decades, despite large increases in use. Like so many issues in life, there seems to be a polarized following of pro and con believers. You would be more credible if you were more balanced.

    1. CBD is an extract. It is not marijuana. Furthermore, marijuana today has far less CBD, now that the THC has been manipulated to be a higher percentage.

      1. On an unrelated note to this whole article, I would just like to voice an opinion. After looking through much of your articles after being leaded here from a facebook post I have noticed that many of the articles voice how their children have started smoking pot and have destroyed their very own lives and also the lives of others including parents. being that I has once a teenager not to long ago. I think back to the times when I was in high school. My parents put so much pressure on me to get good grades and get in to a good college. Additionally some of the things which parents say to their children can be very damaging to them even though the parents don’t think they are doing anything wrong. This is much of the reason that children commit suicide or start smoking. They feel used and unloved and thus decide to try and get away from it. So moms next time you say something to your kid be respectful of them and have some empathy.

        1. We do not disagree with you about too much pressure being placed on our children and teens. We believe the pressure for good grades and getting into good colleges is overdone. However, for you to assume that is entirely the cause of marijuana and other drug use for most teens is wrong. When we post stories of high achieves who have been lost to psychosis and schizophrenia, we do not believe it is the academic pressure that causes these incidences. We believe it is directly related to pot use, one of the few known causal pathways to schizophrenia.

          We believe the marijuana users, the Drug Policy Alliance and the MPP promote marihuana as too good to be true and mislead our children.

  7. Shouldn’t their have been an increase in Schizophrenia diagnosis in the public since pot use has also increased in the public?

    1. We haven’t found any record that there is tracking of schizophrenia diagnosis. If you know a place, then please guide us. Mental Health diagnosis are very imprecise. Sometimes mental illnesses are fluid, going from bipolar to schizophrenia to schizo-affective disorder. What is clear is that many episodes are triggered by marijuana use. Check out the links on this webpage, particularly the video by Christine Miller, http://www.momsstrong.org

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