Researchers have long suspected and partially confirmed a link between pot and psychosis. For many
years, as public support for marijuana legalization and distribution have increased, researchers have
been investigating this connection to find out if there are any potential health risks from marijuana.
While many scientists often assumed that the relationship between these two issues stemmed from
marijuana’s cause of psychosis and related mental health issues, a new study, picked up in an article
from Reuters, Dutch researchers have discovered that the relationships may be bi-directional.
The new research, lead by Merel Griffith-Lendering, has shown that not only can marijuana addiction be a
precursor for psychosis in adolescents, but psychosis can lead adolescents to use marijuana later in
life. In the study, Griffith-Lendering and her colleagues used information on 2,120 Dutch teenagers,
who were surveyed about their pot use throughout adolescence, at ages 14, 16 and 19. The teens were
administered a psychosis vulnerability tests that asked – among other things – about their ability to
concentrate, their feelings of loneliness and whether they see things other people don’t.
Overall, the researchers found that 940 teens, or about 44 percent, reported smoking pot, and there
was a bidirectional link between pot use and psychosis. This basically means that either pot use may
precede the onset of psychosis, and that psychosis may precede the use of pot as well. For example,
using pot at 16 years old was linked to psychotic symptoms three years later, and psychotic symptoms at
age 16 were linked to pot use at age 19. This was true even when the researchers accounted for mental
illness in the kids’ families, alcohol use and tobacco use.
Pot and Psychosis
Though this new study does not claim that either marijuana use or psychosis is a cause of the other, it certainly leaves us, as concerned citizens, and certainly as addiction specialists, to call for much greater caution when it comes to marijuana use.
As a specialized addiction treatment center, we at Sovereign Health are acutely aware of the effects that Marijuana can have on people, and this study, as well as others like it, simply provide more evidence that many of the effects of Marijuana are complex, under-studied and may be quite dangerous.
Though we recognize that marijuana may be perceived differently by others both in and out of the field of addiction, we at Sovereign Health continue to worry about its effects and view this research as confirmation that we must deal carefully with marijuana. At Sovereign Health we view pot as a potentially dangerous substance and that addiction to it is something that can be dealt with with our marijuana treatment program. We view this type of research as a positive step in discovering the variety of effects that marijuana can have and we encourage the field of bio-medical research to continue investigating the effects of marijuana and other substances so that we can understand the full effects they have.
Blog Post By:Jared Friedman