Tags:

Study Underlines Cannabis Link to Psychosis

Tuesday, 01 Mar 2011 07:07 PM

 

* Using cannabis, or marijuana, can double risk of psychosis

* Experts call for "thoughtful approach" to cannabis laws

By Kate Kelland

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters Life!) - People who use cannabis in their youth dramatically increase their risk of psychotic symptoms, and continued use of the drug can raise the risk of developing a psychotic disorder in later life, scientists said on Wednesday.

In a 10-year study of links between cannabis use and psychosis, Dutch researchers found that cannabis use almost doubled the risk of later psychotic symptoms.

Experts commenting on the results said the major challenge for health authorities was to deter enough young people from using cannabis so that rates of psychosis could be reduced.

"This study adds a further brick to the wall of evidence showing that use of traditional cannabis is a contributory cause of psychoses like schizophrenia," said Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, who was not involved in the research.

Wednesday's findings, published in the British Medical Journal, echo research last year which found that young people who smoke cannabis for six years or more are twice as likely to have psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions. [ID:nLDE61R0LZ]

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, particularly among adolescents, and is increasingly linked to added risks of developing mental illness.

But scientists say it is not yet clear whether the link between cannabis and psychosis is causal, or whether it is because people with psychosis use cannabis to self-medicate to calm their symptoms.

For this study, a team of Dutch researchers led by Jim van Os from Maastricht University studied a random sample of 1,923 adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 24 years.

The study took place in Germany and the researchers separated out anyone who said they were already using cannabis and excluded those with pre-existing psychotic symptoms so they could look at links between new cannabis use and psychosis.

They found that so-called "incident", or new, cannabis use almost doubled the risk of new psychotic symptoms, even after accounting for factors such as age, sex, socio-economic status, use of other drugs and other psychiatric problems.

They also found that in those who were already using cannabis at the start of the study, continued use increased the risk of persistent psychotic symptoms. There was no evidence for self-medication effects since psychotic symptoms did not predict later cannabis use, they said.

Peter Kinderman, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, said the study suggested authorities should take "a cautious and thoughtful approach to cannabis legislation."

"It's important to remember that psychosis is a very complex bio-psycho-social phenomenon...but this important paper certainly reminds us that there's a strong link to the use of cannabis," he said in an emailed comment. (Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Ted Nugent: Bryant Gumbel Tells 'Lies' About NRA

Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 18:07 PM

Musician Ted Nugent thinks television host Bryant Gumbel doesn't understand guns and should have done his research befor . . .

Huckabee Shocked by Use of Profanity in Workplace

Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 17:00 PM

Mike Huckabee left his job hosting his own show on Fox News Channel earlier this month, and says one of the biggest cult . . .

Breitbart Report: Texas Islamic Tribunal Dispenses Shariah Law

Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 16:35 PM

An Islamic Tribunal of four attorneys is operating in Dallas where it issues voluntary rulings on civil disputes, accord . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved