Smoking Marijuana Increases Chance of Developing Psychosis
Several recent studies have suggested an associative link between cannabis use and psychosis stressing an increased vulnerability during adolescence. This increased risk has everything to do with stress on the developing brain. The most recent study in the “Archives of General Psychiatry”, released on-line in advance of print.
Marijuana, while sedating in some, causes an increase in anxiety levels and paranoia in others. Use of M.R.I. testing showed that heavy use of marijuana caused brain abnormalities quite similar to those seen in people with schizophrenia. In those individuals who already have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, the brain abnormalities were shown to be more pronounced. Also a major concern was that the damage occurred in areas of the brain related to auditory and language function as these areas continue to develop during adolescence.
In marijuana, the concentration of THC, the plants psychoactive compound, is relative to the development of addiction. The stronger the concentration of the THC, and the more marijuana smoked, the greater the risk of dependence. Those individuals who suffer from one of the mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, can have an exacerbation of symptoms including mania and rapid cycling.
The bottom line to all who choose to indulge, especially young people, do so with the knowledge that risks are involved. We hear a lot about pot being harmless, or not a big deal such as cocaine or heroin. However, it is a psychoactive drug changing the actions of the brain. All such drugs have risks involved in their use and caution should be taken.