Tags: cannabis | marijuana | use | teens | psychosis | mental illness

Potent Marijuana is Leading to Psychosis in Teens

marijuana buds in big glass jars
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 11 January 2024 02:03 PM EST

Diagnoses for cannabis-induced disorders were more than 50% higher at the end of November than in 2019, Truveta, a healthcare analytics company found. A combination of more potent cannabis and more frequent use are contributing to the higher rates of psychosis, especially among young people.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the increase in psychotic incidents is due to more teens and adults using marijuana and the fact that the marijuana is now many times more potent than strains common three decades ago. It’s also adding to the burden of caring for people who developed mental health and addiction problems during the pandemic.

“This isn’t the cannabis of 20, 30 years ago,” said Dr. Deepali Gershan, an addiction psychiatrist at Compass Health Center in Northbrook, Illinois. The average THC content, the main ingredient in marijuana that produces the psychoactive effect, was 15% in 2021, up from 4% in 1995. Many products advertise THC concentrations of up to 90%.

Even one psychotic episode following the use of cannabis was associated with a 47% chance of a person developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, according to a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The risk was highest for people ages 16 to 25, and higher than for other substances including amphetamines, hallucinogens, opioids, and alcohol.

Nearly a third of adolescents reporting for checkups at Boston’s Children’s Hospital say they are using cannabis, and a third of children using cannabis report experiencing hallucinations or paranoia, according to the study.

“This is attacking young brains,” said Dr. Roneet Lev, an emergency room physician at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.  Psychotic episodes following cannabis use could be more likely to lead to chronic psychiatric problems than those following consumption of other illicit drugs. Legalization efforts have made cannabis more readily available in much of the country.

According to the Child Mind Institute, many teenagers consider smoking pot — often considered a “soft drug”— a rite of passage no more dangerous than taking their first sip of wine or beer. But research commissioned by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, confirms that prolonged length of exposure and age at the beginning of exposure may all be risk factors in triggering a first episode of psychosis. Where mental illness, especially schizophrenia, exists, the report concludes that heavy and prolonged use of marijuana may make symptoms worse. 

Some studies show that smoking marijuana is linked to developing schizophrenia or other disorders that involve psychosis at a young age. This matters, say experts at the Institute, because disorders that start early often get worse as the child gets older. Unfortunately, stopping the use of marijuana will not make the disorders go away.

Dr. Karen Randall, an emergency room physician from Pueblo, Colorado, told the Journal that she moved from Detroit with plans of retiring in an area locals call the Napa Valley of cannabis.

“I see more psychotic people here than I did in Detroit,” she says. “We’re just making this huge population of people who we can no longer fix.”

Lynn C. Allison

Lynn C. Allison, a Newsmax health reporter, is an award-winning medical journalist and author of more than 30 self-help books.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
Diagnoses for cannabis-induced disorders were more than 50% higher at the end of November than in 2019, Truveta, a healthcare analytics company found. A combination of more potent cannabis and more frequent use are contributing to the higher rates of psychosis, especially...
cannabis, marijuana, use, teens, psychosis, mental illness
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2024-03-11
Thursday, 11 January 2024 02:03 PM
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