March 23, 2005

13% of schizophrenia from cannabis

A newspaper story today quotes a leading researcher in the area of cannabis and mental illness as saying that he believes about 13% of schizophrenia cases (in The Netherlands) have been caused by cannabis use. Dr. Pat McGorry, a top researcher on this topic in Australia (click for interview) has estimated that around 8% of cases of schizophrenia (in Australia) are linked to cannabis / marijuana use.

The news story is based on a report in the British Medical Journal that showed those who used cannabis as a teenager had a 10 per cent chance of developing psychosis by the age of 26. The general public have a 3 per cent risk.

The conclusions were based on a study by the Institute of Psychiatry in London of 759 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand, between 1972 and 1973.

The newspaper article states: "Dr van Os, a psychiatrist at the University of Maastricht, investigates the effect of marijuana on people's brains - particularly adolescents' brains. He and other researchers have been building a scientific case that, for some teenagers, smoking cannabis leads to serious mental health problems in later life, including schizophrenia."

"Dr van Os claims that marijuana is responsible for up to 13 per cent of schizophrenia cases in the Netherlands. He said the figure will only increase because cannabis use among teenagers was increasing in many countries, the age at first use was falling and the strength of cannabis was rising."

For the full Story: Cannabis use 'trigger for schizophrenia'

More information: Schizophrenia and Cannabis / Marijuana


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