Tag Archives: psychosis

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. 

Continue reading Does Marijuana Cause Mental illness?

Going Green: The Physical, Mental, And Emotional Problems Associated With Marijuana

By Ben Johnson, an article which appeared on the Daily Wire as Going Green: The Physical, Mental and Emotional Problems Associated with Marijuana

In an era when the Left obsessively fights against “misinformation,” at least one subject has evaded their concern: Although scientific studies indicate that marijuana is associated with profound mental illnesses, emotional problems, and physical diseases, a shocking number of Americans believe that weed is harmless or helpful — possibly even a natural cure for cancer.

The media frequently parrot the talking points of billionaires George Soros, Peter Lewis, and John Sperling, who spent an estimated $71.3 million between 1996 and 2016 to promote drug legalization, in the process creating the image of marijuana as a benign natural remedy. Websites like Vox.com promote that narrative, telling readers, “Overall, marijuana is a relatively safe drug. … marijuana’s harms appear to be relatively small.”  Media malpractice has led to a new pandemic of Americans ingesting increasingly high-potency marijuana, unaware of the consequences.

Billionaires changed the public perception

After a precipitous fall during the “Just Say No” era of the 1980s, marijuana use has been rising, especially among America’s young people. In 1992, the number of children between the ages of 12 to 17 who had used marijuana in the last month stood at 4%. In 2019, that rate more than doubled, to 9%, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a large part of that has been the push for drug legalization/decriminalization begun that year by George Soros. After Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, the number of total users increased by nearly two-thirds.

Positive public relations help the marijuana industry

Marijuana’s positive PR has proven particularly successful among the most desperate and vulnerable Americans. Almost one in four breast cancer victims smokes marijuana, and “49% of cannabis users believed that medical cannabis could be used to treat cancer itself,” according to a new study published by the American Cancer Society. A separate study found that 80% of “high-impact articles” on social media “were false news that proposed cannabis as cancer cure.”

Psychological illnesses emerge as a result of marijuana use

That should be concerning for a panoply of reasons, since numerous studies show that marijuana use can harm people in (at least) the following ways:

Psychosis and schizophrenia: Several studies have found that smoking marijuana may trigger mental illnesses, including psychoses like schizophrenia, especially in people already predisposed to develop them. “[C]annibis use, primarily THC in cannabis, in genetically predisposed or at-risk populations, leads to earlier diagnosis of psychosis/schizophrenia,” found a systematic review of existing research conducted by Shweta Patel and colleagues, and published at the peer-reviewed Cureus Journal of Medical Science. “THC in cannabis also makes schizophrenia and psychosis symptoms worse and causes more relapses and hospitalizations.”

Theirs was one of numerous studies linking mental illness to marijuana consumption. “Ten studies [have] found a significant risk of young cannabis users developing psychosis,” reported the Scientific American in 2017. “Cannabis use during puberty is a major risk factor for schizophrenia,” said Hannelore Ehrenreich of the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine at the 2017 World Psychiatric Association’s World Congress. Robin Murray, a professor of psychiatry at King’s College in London, found that nearly one out of every four cases of schizophrenia he researched involved the use of high-potency marijuana. There is a “strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders,” the American Psychiatric Association summarized in 2019.

Pot use increases anxiety and paranoia

Anxiety and other psychological issues: Ironically, although many people use marijuana to reduce anxiety, it may make the problem worse. A 2017 study found, in the words of Psychology Today, that smoking marijuana “increased feelings of paranoia, anxiety, visual illusions, strangeness, inattention and slowed time, as well as poor performance on tasks related to memory and response inhibition.” The culprit is THC, which “appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses and increase anxiety at higher doses,” according to the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. The potential for harm has increased, as the mean THC concentration of marijuana nearly doubled between 2008 and 2017.

Socio-economic problems multiply with pot

Shorter life expectancy: Men who used marijuana heavily in their teen years are 40% more likely to die by the time they reach the age of 60, according to a massive study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. “Swedish researchers analyzed the records of more than 45,000 men beginning in 1969 and 1970,” reported CBS News. “The scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm reported that 4,000 died during the 42-year follow-up period, and men who’d used marijuana heavily at ages 18 and 19 were 40 percent more likely to die by age 60 compared to guys who hadn’t used the drug.” Their findings upended previous studies that found no such linkage.

Becoming poorer, with more relationship problems: Regular marijuana users end up in “a lower social class than their parents, with lower-paying, less skilled, and less prestigious jobs. They also experience more financial problems, more problems at work, and more relationship difficulties,” according to a study that followed 1,000 regular marijuana users from age 18 to 38.  Individuals who reported regular cannabis use and persistent dependence experienced downward socioeconomic mobility, more financial difficulties, workplace problems, and relationship conflict in early midlife,” according to Magdalena Cerdá of the University of California-Davis, Health System, and Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt at Duke University, whose study appeared in Clinical Psychological Science, the peer-reviewed journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Pot triggers loss of memory and brain aging

Memory problems, and brain aging: Regular marijuana users had a harder time remembering new information, according to a team of researchers who studied nearly 3,400 American marijuana users over a 25-year period. Marijuana usage can reduce decision-making ability, memory, and psychical control in the short term, and some negative effects may persist for life.

Harvard Medical School explained that “there’s no question that marijuana … can produce short-term problems with thinking, working memory, executive function, and psychomotor function (physical actions that require conscious thought, such as driving a car or playing a musical instrument). This is because marijuana’s main psychoactive chemical, THC, causes its effect by attaching to receptors in brain regions that are vital for memory formation, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex.” While the full effect of long-term use is unknown, a 2016 UC-San Francisco study found that even past use of marijuana made people less likely to remember words in adulthood.

After examining 62,454 brain scans, researchers found that cannabis abuse accelerated brain aging by 2.8 years, a contributing factor to developing Alzheimer’s Disease, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Prior papers have suggested that marijuana can damage the brain. What surprised [us] was how low blood flow was in the brains of our cohort – virtually every brain area had reduced blood flow on perfusion imaging in relation to marijuana use,” said Dr. Cyrus Raji, who co-authored the study.

Marijuana use causes specific serious physical diseases

Lung diseases like asthma and bronchitis: “Marijuana smoking is associated with large airway inflammation, increased airway resistance,” according to a synthesis of scholarly research produced by the U.S. government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, “and those who smoke marijuana regularly report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than those who do not smoke.” NIDA also cited studies showing that marijuana may suppress the body’s immune system, increasing the chances of developing pneumonia and chronic bronchitis.

Testicular cancer: Several studies have found a positive correlation between marijuana use and the development of testicular cancer, especially among “heavy” users who had smoked pot at least 50 times in their lives. One review of scholarly literature cautions the existing evidence is “low-strength,” because so many marijuana users also smoke cigarettes — but they still find weed inhalation increases the likelihood of developing testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT).

Other cognitive functions decline with pot use

Possibly lowers intelligence: Some evidence indicates that marijuana use decreases the intelligence of people who take it. The most consequential study comes from New Zealand (the Dunedin study), where researchers followed marijuana users from age 18 to 38 and found that people who began using marijuana in adolescence lost between six and eight points from their IQ – and quitting does not reverse the intelligence lost. Future studies disputed this somewhat, as researchers discovered cannabis users “already had significantly lower IQ scores. Put another way, cannabis did not drag down their IQ; it was already low.” To put that colloquially, researchers are now pursuing the chicken-and-egg question of whether adolescent marijuana use makes people stupid or if stupid people choose to use marijuana.

Inability to feel joy: Researchers warn about higher THC levels causing cannabis-induced “anhedonia” — a medical term which means the “inability to feel pleasure” in Greek. “Over years, the regular use of cannabis has substantially increased among young adults, as indicated by the rise in cannabis use disorder (CUD), with an estimated prevalence of 8.3% in the United States,” said a March 2021 study in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology. “Research shows that exposure to cannabis is associated with hypodopaminergic anhedonia (depression), cognitive decline, poor memory, inattention, impaired learning performance, reduced dopamine brain response-associated emotionality, and increased addiction severity in young adults.”

On the other hand, researchers in Canada found a marked increase in “emergency department consultations for cannabis-related mood disorders, as well as suicide and intentional self-harm” after the nation legalized recreational marijuana in October 2018. This may stem from marijuana’s addictive components altering the person’s approach to the brain’s reward circuitry after a flood of dopamine.

False memories fuel misinformation

Creating false memories: Any media interested in combating misinformation would condemn the rising rate of marijuana use, since “[c]annabis seems to increase false-memory proneness,” according to a March 2020 study from The Netherlands.

Marijuana use harms non-users, too

Innocent bystanders: Although drug use is often presented as a personal decision, the harm caused by marijuana extends beyond the user alone. Aside from the toll of innocent victims when marijuana users drive under the influence, the American Lung Association warns, “Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly-inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more.” Their biggest concern is about “vulnerable children in the home.”

Contrary to MSNBC and CNN hand-wringers, the real disinformation comes from paid propagandists, scientists on the take, and billionaires who (for whatever reason) are promoting a drug that appears to inhibit Americans from exercising the cognitive functions necessary to be independent citizens. The effort to whitewash drug abuse is typical in a world that demands pleasure with no consequence. But that world doesn’t exist — a fact too many people find out too late.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment.  (Editor’s Note:  Parents Opposed to Pot does not identify with conservative or liberal politics, because deliberate misinformation comes from both sides of the aisle. Its principals and followers include independents and people who belong to both political parties. )

The link between cannabis concentrates and psychosis | Guest View

By Lauren Davis, published in the Edmonds Beacon, February 18, 2021

In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502, legalizing cannabis. Back then, the black market was dominated by dried cannabis flower, with a potency of approximately 10%.

Dried cannabis flower is biologically limited to about 30% potency, and I-502 capped the potency of edibles at 10%.

But in an oversight of extraordinary proportions, there was no potency limit established for cannabis concentrates like THC-infused vape oils, shatter, and dab wax. Enter science, industry, business investors, and profit motivation and, today, concentrates with 99 percent potency are readily available at cannabis retailers.

According to researchers, these concentrates are “as close to the cannabis plant as strawberries are to Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts.” Cannabis concentrate sales have soared from 14% of the market share in 2015 to 37% in 2019.

I have devoted my professional and legislative career to mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Spurred by reports of youth with cannabis-induced psychosis filling emergency departments and psychiatric wards and high school students having psychotic episodes after dabbing (inhaling), I began to delve into the research on cannabis and psychosis.

The literature is both definitive and damning. Washington’s leading cannabis experts at the University of Washington and Washington State University recently released a consensus statement summarizing the science:

“High potency cannabis use can have lifelong mental health consequences, which often manifest in adolescence or early adulthood. Daily cannabis use, particularly of high potency products, increases the risk of developing a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia, and is related to an earlier onset of symptoms compared to people who do not use cannabis.”

During the 2020 legislative session, I introduced a bill to cap the potency of cannabis concentrates at 10%. This figure matched the limit for edibles and was a starting point for negotiation. The bill included an exemption for patients using high potency concentrates for medical purposes.

I had numerous meetings with cannabis industry representatives, and no one was aware of the psychosis link. Though they disagreed with my proposed solution, industry leaders were emphatic in their commitment to coming to the table as thoughtful partners to address this issue.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, instead of proposing more palatable policy solutions as promised, cannabis industry representatives testified before the House Commerce & Gaming committee that the research implicating cannabis in psychotic disorders is unfounded.

Borrowing from the well-worn playbooks of their forefathers, big tobacco and opioid manufacturers, cannabis business leaders attempted to poke holes in the science and offer alternative explanations.

In 1957, tobacco industry director Clarence Cook Little wrote: “No one has established that cigarette smoke, or any one of its known constituents, is cancer-causing to man.”

Sixty-three years later, cannabis industry leaders testified to our legislature that “cannabis use [is] not independently associated with psychosis.”

Modeling after Purdue Pharma, the opioid maker that wrote that addiction “is not caused by drugs … it is triggered in a susceptible individual by exposure to drugs,” the cannabis industry tried to offer a counter theory – that it is people who have a genetic predisposition for psychotic disorders who are developing them and then using cannabis to self-medicate.

That theory has been debunked by studies that account for family history and still show a significant increase in psychotic disorders from cannabis use.

I never anticipated the cannabis industry would enthusiastically agree to a low potency limit. I only expected them to make good on their word – to show up as earnest partners in addressing their product’s role in one of the largest emerging health crises of our time.

When the industry’s opening move is to spit on the consensus of the scientific community in the spirit of climate deniers, it’s difficult not to question the sincerity of their espoused commitment to public health.

I’ve introduced House Bill 1463, which caps the potency of cannabis concentrates at 30% and raises the age of purchase for concentrates from 21 to 25. Washington’s cannabis industry now has a second chance to act with integrity and come to the table as problem solvers.

It is only the fate of our children with which we are gambling.

Rep. Lauren Davis (D-Shoreline) serves northern King County and a portion of Edmonds in the 32nd Legislative District. She was the founding executive director of the Washington Recovery Alliance and taught UW’s graduate mental health policy course.

Falsehoods About Legal Marijuana Exposed by Parents Group

Warns Virginia Legislators Not to Ignore the True Costs and Harms

Merrifield, VA—February 8, 2021–Opponents to the Virginia bills which will permit 400 retail marijuana shops and home grows in neighborhoods around the state, are hearing some alarming arguments in favor of the idea. Parents Opposed to Pot (PopPot), a drug prevention campaign, responds to the erroneous information currently being accepted by some legislators.

The reasons constituents are being given for supporting the legislation (SB 1406 and HB 2312) are in bold. What follows are the PopPot rebuttals:

There has not been an increase in the use of marijuana in states with legalization.

The recently released SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH 2018-2019) shows that drug use doubles when a state legalizes. MomsStrong.org recently published a helpful chart of this data.[1] In the state of Colorado about 20% of teens use marijuana regularly, and half of those teens have progressed to the more dangerous high THC concentrates. These psychoactive drug products manufactured and sold by the marijuana industry include vapes and edibles.[2] In jurisdictions where there is a high density of marijuana shops the rate is even higher. In Pueblo, Colorado, known as the Napa Valley of marijuana, the youth rate is 35%, and in Denver the rate is 25% for teens.[3]  Teens were not using these products before legalization.

Continue reading Falsehoods About Legal Marijuana Exposed by Parents Group