marijuana-mental-illness

Does Marijuana Cause Mental illness?

The THC in cannabis can destroy critical neuronal pathways in the developing brain, which can result in permanent brain changes. The worst case scenario is psychosis that becomes permanent and is then considered schizophrenia, a life-long, debilitating disease. No one can predict in advance who will be susceptible, as some can experience symptoms after a few times of use.

The mental health harms of cannabis are well known to scientific researchers. Professionals say the evidence found in peer-reviewed studies is undeniable: THC in cannabis, even in low concentrations, can cause psychosis. And out of the drugs that can cause a temporary episode of psychosis, marijuana/cannabis has the highest conversion rate to chronic psychotic disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia.

 

Symptoms of psychosis are: paranoia, feelings of doom, irrational thoughts or behaviors, delusions, confusion, hearing voices or seeing people who are not there, and inability to communicate coherently.

Cannabis Induced Psychosis (CIP)  is listed in the DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual used by medical professionals for assessment and diagnosis. 

The MomsStrong.org campaign is inspired by the unfortunate deaths of three young men. Founder, Lori Robinson, along with Sally Schindel and Ann Clark want the world to know their sons’ suicides are directly related to the mental health harms…caused by their sons’ marijuana use. The MomsStrong.org website is devoted to educating the world about the scientific research into cannabis-induced psychosis and features dozens of personal stories of mental health risks and harms of marijuana. You can read Shane’s, Brant’s and Andy’s stories on the Our Stories page.

MomsStrong warns:

Regular use of cannabis can increase the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia.

Young people are at greatest risk.

Dr. Christine Miller is the Science Advisor to MomsStrong.org. Miller is a Molecular Neuroscientist with a PhD. Pharmacology. She researched the causes and nature of psychosis for thirty years of her career.

Dr. Miller says, “The causal link between marijuana use and the development of psychosis is quite simply the most well-replicated, high-impact finding in schizophrenia research today. Given current use rates and the strong potency of the drug available, it stands to be responsible for a larger proportion of schizophrenia cases than any other established factor. Who may be at risk cannot be reliably predicted. The time is long overdue for the surgeon general and American neuroscientists and psychiatrists, along with their universities and professional societies, to inform the public and for journalists to pay heed.”

Lori Robinson tells her son’s story.

Dr. Christine Miller on cannabis & psychosis.

What the Science Tells Us

There are hundreds of peer-reviewed, scientific articles that prove the causal links between marijuana use and psychotic outcomes such as schizophrenia.
Marijuana use generally comes before the psychosis, not vice-versa, so self- medication is not likely the cause. Continued cannabis use and risk of incidence and persistence of psychotic symptoms

The consensus is that use of marijuana with a THC content over 10% increases the risk of a psychotic disorder by 4-fold:  Meta-analysis of the Association Between the Level of Cannabis Use and Risk of Psychosis.

Frequent use of more potent products results in more cases of schizophrenia. Proportion of patients in south London with first-episode psychosis attributable to use of high potency cannabis.

Cannabis intoxication becomes Cannabis-Induced Psychotic Disorder once certain severity and duration criteria are met and  CIP is heavily associated with future schizophrenia diagnoses:  Cannabis and Psychosis Through the Lens of DSM-5.

A person suffering from marijuana-induced psychosis is over 18-times more likely to lash out violently. But individuals with psychosis from non-drug causes and who are medicated with antipsychotics but not using marijuana or other recreational drugs, do not pose a  great risk for violence.

The causal relationship of psychosis with marijuana is outlined in a paper on the International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis website: Applying the Bradford Hill Elements of Causation to Cannabis Causing Psychosis.

For more, see Summary of Literature on Marijuana and Psychosis on MomsStrong.org 


Psychosis Testimonials


One Man’s Psychosis Story
During a psychotic break, Gabriel attempted a dangerous feat he never would have otherwise. He ended up losing his hand and much more.

The Struggle to Overcome Psychosis

Adam is experiencing Cannabis Induced Psychosis, hear him describe active psychosis and his testimony of hope for healing.



Support Groups

Marijuana Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mar-Anon – Mar-Anon is a 12-Step program designed specifically for those who are affected by another’s marijuana use.

Every Brain Matters Community  Use this link to see the current list of meetings.


Take Action- 3 Things You Can Do

Mounting reliable evidence is proving that cannabis is very destructive to brain health. Yet, the marijuana industry continues to peddle misinformation on a wide-scale level. It is important that parents and drug prevention activists share this science-based knowledge and protect our society from avoidable mental illness.
1. Write your elected representatives and share your concern about the cannabis-psychosis link.

2. Share Your Story with MomsStrong.org.

3. Share this important Think Ya Know article with 10 friends.