Cannabis And Mental Health: The Downside

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    Aug 14, 2011 9:48 AM GMT
    Information sourced from Journal Watch:

    The Latest Word on Pot and Susceptibility to Psychosis

    A meta-analysis indicates a specific association between cannabis use and earlier onset of psychosis. Marijuana evokes psychotic-like symptoms in susceptible individuals (see JW Psychiatry Mar 14 2011), and cannabis use may be associated with an earlier age of onset of psychotic illness. But does marijuana cause psychosis, or are the people who are destined to become psychotic more likely to use the drug? With more than 16 million regular pot smokers in the U.S., the question is important. This meta-analysis of 83 studies of the age at onset of psychosis involved 8167 psychosis patients who used psychoactive substances and 14,352 nonusing psychosis patients. The results confirmed that the age at onset of psychosis was almost 3 years earlier in cannabis users than in nonusers. Alcohol use was not significantly associated with earlier onset of psychosis. Studies with a higher percentage of cannabis users reported an earlier mean age at psychosis onset. The association was not explained by sex, schizophrenia versus affective psychosis, study methodology, or, to a lesser extent, patient age at the time of the study. Comment: Because alcohol use was not associated with a younger age at onset of psychosis, the results do not suggest that people who are going to develop psychosis just start using drugs earlier than people who are less vulnerable to psychosis. Still, it is not known whether people who would not otherwise become psychotic might develop a chronic psychosis after prolonged cannabis use, as has been noted with amphetamine use. Also unknown is whether the risk results from a primary toxic effect, from an interaction of cannabis with dopamine metabolism or with an intracellular signal, or from an effect of the drug on brain maturation in adolescents. Regardless of pathogenesis, even if a psychotic illness is to develop anyway, avoiding marijuana may delay its onset or reduce its severity.

    — Steven Dubovsky, MD Publis
  • wild_sky360

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    Aug 14, 2011 12:17 PM GMT
    One of my ex's was convinced that smoking relieved his psychosis. Of course, which came first?

    I have 3 people close to me that smoke every day, throughout the day. They all seem to do it as a form of self medication, rather than recreation. In fact I can't even tell when they're under the influence. Each of them claim it improves the most ridiculously unrelated ailments. Who's to say though. As a schedule one substance, proper research has not been done.

    If I had even a small hit of that drug, it would ruin my entire day.
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    Aug 14, 2011 8:47 PM GMT
    I have a friend who claims LSD helps cure his depression.

    I won't question experience.
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    Aug 14, 2011 10:43 PM GMT
    Every drug has effects... some of them beneficial, some of them harmful.... It depends on the dosage and the person (genetics) as well as other drugs taken, and what diseases you are trying to cure..... the above study did not take into account other diseases or dosages or drugs these people were taking .. if it did, it was not stated.... many drugs which are good for some people (coffee if you have low blood pressure) are bad for others (coffee if you have high blood pressure)... you cant talk about a drug as if its in a black box.. there's a reason why marijuana is used as medicine, and why alcohol is used as a disinfectant... this does not mean they do not have noxious effects, be it physically or mentally, such as liver cirrhosis or alcohol psychosis.... the latter are not cause by a glass of wine a day.... everything has to be taken into account when it comes to correct drug usage
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    Aug 14, 2011 11:01 PM GMT
    A friend of mine from college essentially lives on weed. It baffles me, but he claims that it helps him to remain focused. He's high five or six days of the week. icon_eek.gif

    For me, occasional use of the drug is fine. I only have one life to live, right?
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Aug 14, 2011 11:08 PM GMT
    What does MD Publis mean?
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Aug 14, 2011 11:20 PM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidI have a friend who claims LSD helps cure his depression.

    I won't question experience.


    Ditto..regarding both drugs.

    I can imagine how psychedelics might snap one out of a negative mind rut. It seems more than a little dangerous though for the risk of amplifying the depression. But, approved drugs for that purpose have the same stated side effects listed...suicide being one of them. So, who's to say. Let doctors be doctors. Many good one's are sidelined or even destroyed for bucking the establishment, regardless of successes.


    A good doctor will not ignore anecdotal experiences of actual patients, in favor of so called evidence based medicine. All that cliche often means is that a well funded study was conducted by those with a strong financial interest in the outcome.
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    Aug 17, 2011 9:08 PM GMT
    I used to really enjoy cannabis when I was much younger. But on the rare few occasions I've tried it in more recent years, there was all sorts of paranoia and self-criticism, effects that I didn't have back in the 1980s. I suppose it is possible that I changed, but I think it has more to do with the pot they grow today. As I understand it, it's much stronger, and more importantly, the ratio of THC to Cannabidiol (CBD) is vastly larger. Apparently, the CBD can moderate the negative psychological effects of the THC. In any event, whatever the reason, I am totally over the stuff.
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    Aug 19, 2011 11:42 AM GMT
    I've been a user for decades and have suffered no ill-effects from it. Body chemistry differs from person to person, so too does the way a drug interacts with it. What works for me may cause another person problems. I don't drink because I don't like the way alcohol makes me feel, all woozy and sick -- but I've never gotten paranoid or schizo from pot.

    And I would WAY prefer to have sex stoned than I would drunk or on crystal meth....
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    Aug 19, 2011 11:46 AM GMT
    I don't quite get how the analysis indicates an association between marijuana use and earlier onset of psychosis but seems to shoot down any explanation. It leaves things very open-ended and doesn't answer very many questions.