Does Marijuana Cause Psychosis?

marijuanaDoes marijuana cause psychosis? The debate rages as both sides compare for and against the legalization of marijuana. Some scientists and individuals claim that pot smoking can and will cause debilitating life-long psychosis, but studies are also showing that this may not be the case.

On one hand, in The British Journal of Psychiatry, the 2001 study, “Psychiatric Effects of Cannabis,” found that subjects experienced panic, anxiety, depression and psychosis after smoking marijuana. Adolescents with schizophrenia were more vulnerable to symptoms, prone to relapse and generally better off not going near cannabis.

On the other hand, in the journal Schizophrenia Research, a 2014 study reveals that only those who are genetically disposed to psychosis are prone to develop problems. It is apparently not the smoking of marijuana itself that causes this problem. So, again we ask, does marijuana cause psychosis?

This is not a simple question. The answer is even more complex. There obviously needs to be further study and the research itself needs to be looked at to determine if it is viable. There are many people who promote the legalization of marijuana because it can significantly benefit certain health conditions, particularly MS, and there are many others who are against it.

A Huffington Post article argues that smoking marijuana only leads to early onset of psychotic symptoms by 2.7 years in those who are already susceptible to psychosis. Furthermore, people likely to develop schizophrenia are more apt to turn to drugs such as pot. Finally, cannabidiol, a cannabis compound, may negate the symptoms of psychosis. So, does marijuana cause psychosis?

According to a LiveScience article, there are two chemicals found in marijuana that have opposite effects on the brain. THC causes problems with the brain’s ability to distinguish between stimuli that should be ignored and those that should not, whereas cannabidiol has the opposite effect. The results of this study are found in the journal archives of General Psychiatry.

The question of whether marijuana causes psychosis still remains, but the answer is becoming more cleaer. It appears that marijuana does cause schizophrenia in adolescents who are already at risk for it. Long-term use of the drug has also been shown to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. However, it seems that cannabis can potentially help, also. So, in other words, people who see visions of unfriendly caterpillars may not want to participate in the smoking of pot.

Is there enough evidence to show that marijuana is a gateway drug, that it makes one lazy and unproductive, and that marijuana leads to criminal behavior and is bad for the lungs ? Well, no, there really is not. Is there enough evidence to suggest that marijuana causes psychosis, enough to stop the legalization process? Probably not. In fact, there is not enough data either way to make any significant assumptions. The point is thus moot. Nevertheless, the effects of marijuana use needs to be investigated further by scientists. Those who like to debate such things should keep in mind that the answer is still yet to be determined.

Opinion by Nicole Drawc


BJ Psych
Schizophrenia Research
Huffington Post