November 22, 2005

4 out of 5 People w/Schizophrenia Heavy Marijuana / Cannabis Users?

A new study out of the Australia revealed that Four out of five people that developed schizophrenia (in their study) have a history of using marijuana / cannabis.

Steve Doughty, the social affairs correspondent for the Daily Mail, reports on a long-term research project from Australia that has revealed that four out of five with schizophrenia were regular cannabis smokers when they were teenagers. Between 75 and 80 per cent of patients involved were found to have used the drug habitually between the ages of 12 and 21.

Dr Andrew Campbell of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal, who did the study, warned of a hidden epidemic of cannabis-induced psychosis with hospital psychiatric wards full of people who had smoked cannabis as adolescents. He called for a national campaign about the health problems and dangers associated with the teenage use of marijuana.

Andrew Campbell, of the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal, warned that a hidden epidemic of cannabis-induced psychosis could make the so-called soft drug more dangerous than heroin.

"It's much safer to take heroin -- you can live to be 90 with heroin," Dr Campbell said.

A five-year review of the histories of mentally ill patients in NSW who had been committed to an institution or needed compulsory treatment found four out of five had smoked marijuana regularly in adolescence.

"That's 75 to 80 per cent of the people who are getting long-term psychotic disorders who are not getting better," Dr Campbell said. "That's four out of five who were healthy, they could smoke, they were not sensitive to the stuff, then they hit the wall.

"It can take up to five or six years. It's an epidemic, and in some ways we're blind to it."

Dr Campbell has kept records of his work reviewing the histories of these incurable patients and believes the results show the need for a national campaign about the health problems and dangers associated with the teenage use of marijuana.

"If you can just keep the kids off cannabis until they're 21 and they've got the keys to the door," he said.

"There seems to be a vulnerable period at critical adolescence. Give it to an adult -- people still get stoned, but you get over it."

Monash University psychiatry professor Paul Mullen told The Australian there were several overseas studies that backed Dr Campbell's findings.

In particular, a Swedish study had shown young men joining the army were more likely to suffer from schizophrenia in later life if they had smoked cannabis regularly in adolescence.

Professor Mullen said scientists knew the early stages of schizophrenia caused people to be more likely to take drugs at a young age, but researchers had so far not been able to prove the drug abuse was causing the earlier onset of schizophrenia.

"Most of us believe it may be bringing on schizophrenia earlier than it would have otherwise occurred," he said.

"In some unfortunate people who are heavy users, they would have gone through life with the vulnerability but it would never have been exposed."

Dr Campbell said his work showed that many people using cannabis experienced years of normality before succumbing to the psychosis associated with schizophrenia. In men, it mostly happened in their late 20s, while in women it could be as late as their 40s.

"The psych wards are full of these people," he said.

"There's a very clear division -- there's the cannabis group and the non-cannabis group."

Dr Campbell said one study in Britain and The Netherlands had shown a base rate of schizophrenia in Wales of 11 per 100,000 people, compared with a rate in London and Amsterdam of 60 to 70 people per 100,000.

Sources: Daily Mail (UK), The Australian


I totally agree with this study because my son began to smoke marijuana at a young age. Of course, as a parent, I didn't know. My son had his first acute attack when he was 22 years old. He's 25 years old now, and stays in the hospital pretty much. He keeps going off his medication, and goes for the marijuana. I don't think his disease would be so bad if he just stayed away from the drug in his younger years, and his disease could be control now if he would just stay away from marijuana. I can say this because as parents we kept him away from the drug temporary, and he did ok with his medication. It scares me to think that society thinks marijuana is harmless. It seems like to me more people are getting this disease, and you have to ask yourself "why?"

Posted by: Jeani Fuller at November 26, 2005 08:12 PM

I've never done drugs (except ritalin for ADD as a child) yet I developed schizophrenia.

Posted by: Michael Sabino at December 4, 2005 04:06 PM

From the research I’ve seen the quoted statistics are bunkum!

According to Living with Psychosis: An Australian Study 1998 and the 1998 National Drug Strategy Household Survey the comparison of recent cannabis use (used in last year) between Australian schizophrenics and the population in general.

Recent Use of cannabis in the Australian Population (over 14) Versus Australian Schizophrenics (1998). 1

Australian population 18%
Aust. Schizophrenics 35%
Australians aged 14-29 36%
Aust. In Northern Territory 36%

In general, schizophrenics in Australia use all psychoactive drugs at a rate 2-4 times higher than the population in general. (Tobacco use is 73%) However, this can be partially explained by the fact that drug users in Australia tend to be young and male, and so are schizophrenics, which also partially explains the Northern Territory figures.

These figures come from the most respected polls in Australia.

Posted by: dr john jiggens at December 26, 2005 04:04 PM

wow i did not know any of that my dad has schizophrenia and he does weed i need to talk to him about that
thanks alot

Posted by: karen at February 2, 2006 06:11 AM

My mother and sister has schizophrenia and the adults in each situation try to blame some or most of it on drugs (not just marijuana) I myself, obviously with the gene somewhere in me, have done lots of drugs and I am not schizophrenic. Thankfully, now I'm clean, but that's my opinion on the matter anyway!

Posted by: Carol at April 27, 2006 09:16 AM

This site is very interesting, I am going to have to look up drinking as well. My daughter's father would be fine when he was sober, but when he started drinking, he became rambuncious, angry, and, not until I was pregnant, became abusive. He actually had to use coke to calm down and mellow out when drinking (before I was pregnant). Anyhow, he would argue with 'someone', but I would be the only one there, and he wasn't arguing with me. We are aware he is a sociopath; but I have always wondered about him possibily being schiz.
If anyone has had a similar situation, I would be interested to hear about it. Oh, he also had a grand idea that he was in the Marine Corp Recon for four years... he will not admit he was lying; he was seriously NEVER in the military. He had VIVID stories, acted flashbacks in the middle of the night, he would even talk about the Marine Corp when he was sober... But he also knew who to talk about it around, and not to. Like his parents, we were not to talk about it around them because it upset them, and they knew they were not allowed to discuss it because they had been briefed that they couldn't! This was definately a freaky situtation for me. I don't know if these are just his crazy dissolusions from his sociopathic tendencies or what... but man, am I glad to be out of that, my daughter and I are now completely safe, there is no way I would allow her to be in danger. So, if anyone has any ideas, let me know!

Posted by: Danica at May 19, 2006 06:46 PM

I only wonder if schihrenics result from marijuana or marijuana causes schizophrenia. I find myself wondering if I have the disease because my grandfather was diagnosed and I have sympoms, along with a history of marijuana use. I hope to consult with a therapist on the matter, please email if you have any comment.

Posted by: Alisha V at June 16, 2006 10:51 PM

If cannabis does cause or exacerbate schizophrenia; is the person affected by it curable or is it permanent damage?
Kind regards

Posted by: Sara at August 21, 2006 06:33 PM

Promodal symptoms are likely to contribute to drug use. Those, even in the earliest onset stages, who use drugs be it marijuana or crack cocaine, are typically using them as self-medication because they aren't recieving the help they need or as much help as they need.

Beware of the methadology of these studies. They are much more frightening than marijuana. Studies can verify what they are looking for. The saying "lies, damn lies & statistics" is valid in the scientific community as well. You get the results you're looking for.

I will say that marijuana has the strongest mental and physical effect on me (paranoid schizophrenic) than any other drug. Meth and crack cocaine while blowing oxycodone does not have the strong effect of marijuana. I speak, unfortunately, from experience. This is where I give the case some leeway. It's somewhat valid. But beware of bad (biased) "science".

Schizophrenic, though not 1 drug use experience prior the the first acute episode--not until 1 1/2 years in after in fact.

Posted by: N/A at September 7, 2006 01:52 AM

Well, my husband and myself used marijuana in college heavily and my husband started to exhibit symtoms last year. Although, looking back in college I definitely see that he had symptoms but they didn't really become visible for 12 years. Makes me believe the studies.

Posted by: Awoods at October 18, 2006 11:41 AM

I am 19 years old now. I was a troubled child in the sense that I had terrible temper tantrums, tortured and killed animals, bullied kids at school (regardless of the fact that I was always the smallest in the class), was a big pyromaniac, etc. This was all going on early on, maybe around 8 years old. I know I was not smoking marijuana at this time. I have very recently been looking into why I am always so miserable, and have come up with a very strong match for sociopathy. I brought this to the attention of my family, and went to see a doctor. He diagnosed me with depression right away, but said there is likely something a lot more serious. I did not mention the research I have been doing. I have to go in to see a psychiatrist when my bottle of anti-depressants runs out. I have been smoking marijuana all day every day for about 3 years. I smoke before I go to school, work, family dinners, job interviews, weddings, anniversaries, you name it I'm stoned for it. I do not feel that marijuana causes the condition to worsen in any way. However, I do know that I am constantly on the brink of suicide when I don't smoke, I can't sleep when I don't smoke, I can't even eat. I'm sure some of this is due to my habitual use of the drug, but then there's the anxiety too.

Anway, I might be rambling so i will just say, it is very good to have this out in the open but it is really eating away at me inside and I cant wait to go in and talk to the psych. Marijuana is one of the few things getting me through this whole ordeal, another being my mother. If it weren't for marijuana, I may have been dead a long time ago, but we will see how my mind works when I have something else to control the sociopathy.

Posted by: Scott at February 11, 2007 02:12 PM

A friend of mine has been recently hospitilized for schizophrenia. His symptoms came on very sudden although now that i look back social withdrawl has been going on for a while. The thing that scares me is that he smoked pot from the time he was 13 heavily to now (at 16). That being said, i think this article totally backs up his situation. If all this research is being done with marijuana induced schizo, then why have i just now come across it after weeks of researching it? If it is researched to be true, then more people need to be made aware of it!

Posted by: becca at February 12, 2007 01:42 PM

I dont know for sure from a doctor but Im pretty sure I am schizo and I know its from pot. Its weird cause it actually is like opening up a whole new world it sounds bad to say but u no most times people get schizophrenia its cause something bad happens to them or there really paranoid like on weed but for me I feel that Im very mentally strong and the answer is not medicine or stopping from smoking weed it is meditation and the down sides can be beaten with spirituality. I smoke weed about once a week but im only 16 eventually Ill do it even more but I have overcome my paranoia and fear and now every time I smoke it is just an eye opening experiance which I never knew excisted and the real problem with schizos is that they know in their head deep down that they are right, but everyone around them who knows there schizo tells them there wrong and they beleive it cause at the time they cant form the words to describe what is going on in their head, but take it from me if they could make out what there thinking deep down they know you're all crazy, schizos are the only sane people. Haha

Posted by: Crazy Bone at March 19, 2007 12:27 AM

i never did drugs and i developed schizophrenia...but i did start it a few years ago (WEED) way after i was told of my illness though...not was the dumbest thing i have ever done..the weed didnt cause my illness but it has made it almost imposible for me to go out side. im going to stop....but i feel like theres no hope for me anyway...

Posted by: comic at May 18, 2007 01:48 PM

Yea this whole article makes a lot of sense. two weeks ago i smoked weed and im 15. but like a week later i started having panic attacks and feelings of unreality. Ive already missed a week of school. Ive went to doctors but they're not very clear on whats going on they just gave me medicine to treat schizophrenia. but i wouldn't think weed would cause it so fast (within a week).

and before i smoked the weed my life was perfect i had never any mental problems or anything

Posted by: matt at September 29, 2007 08:31 PM

hey up, im simon and if these studies are correct, im due the onset of schizophrenia any time soon. ive been thinking inside that im losing my mind. i dont feel or think the same as i used to,i had my first toke when i was eleven id say smoked an 8th once every two weeks..up until the age of about 13 when i became insanely dependent on the drug smoking at least an 8th a day until now im now 16..very rarely in the last 4 years have i gone with out it.
i hate the stuff its quite literally ruined my life i got two g.c.s.e's i raerly go into work....let me know if i really need to quit right now?
i was savi nit for new years but im pretty scared.

Posted by: simon at November 14, 2007 05:28 PM

my son started using dope at school when he was 14-15 abut i was unaware of this , due to never having any contact with the drug myself. I now have a 26 year old son with drug induced schizophrenia and our life has been turned upside down with paranoia and psychotic episodes. The first of these came in 2001 when he wanted to kill himself and his sister but I dont know what the reason for this was, except that it was dope induced. After a 4 week stay in a psychiatric hospital and a year of "recovery" he was back at work, but continued to smoke. His sisters and I know all the signs of his abuse with marijuana and can tell when he has used more or when he is trying to stay off of it. 2006 brought us another episode but it was the build up that kills the family. We dispare over what it does to him, just to see him smile is worth the world.This time the voices were telling him that our food along with his was being poisoned and so for weeks he came home to eat because his food was dangerous and ,we now know , our food might have been contaminated and he had to make sure we were all ok.
I cannot comprehend how he must feel with his mind trying to think for its self and having to deal with voices coming from all angles telling him that he is going to be killed and followed constantly. then there is the voice that tells him that we are being poisoned, how many voices I dont know , but his poor face looked so anguished and tired it made me feel so desperate for him . He eventually tried to suicide again but his plan was foiled by the fact that he was scared for us, ( being poisoned or killed )so he took himself to the local police station, and spent the next 6 weeks in a psychiatric hospital. So here I am 2 years later and nothing much has changed, he has been on anti psychotic drugs since his first episode and has been told that the only way he will ever get better is to stop smoking, but doesnt. I keep trying, as a mother its what I do because I love him and want him back, He missed his teens to dope, and now he is missing his life.

Posted by: julia thomas at February 23, 2008 01:56 PM

Brad could no longer take the torment and passed away on 20th March 2008

Posted by: julia at March 23, 2008 03:01 PM

Thanks for a beautiful site! I have added you in elected!
Necessarily I shall advise your site to the friends!
Best wishes for you!

Posted by: Jayes at June 19, 2008 04:04 AM

Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?
(you may use HTML tags for style)
* indicates required