April 30, 2007

Scientists Show How Cannabis / Marijuana May Trigger Schizophrenia

Britain's news sources, The Independent and the BBC, report that scientists have shown how "THC", the active compound in cannabis (marijuana), can trigger psychosis and schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.

The study was announced at the 2nd International Cannabis and Mental Health Conference currently taking place in London where scientists from around the world are presenting the latest research on the effects of cannabis on the brain.

The conference program and summaries for all the research presented are available online as a pdf file (here), so you can get a more accurate idea of what the studies have found.

The computer scans used in the study have revealed that THC significantly reduces activity in the frontal lobe - a part of the brain responsible for coordination and emotional behavior.

There is an increasing sense of urgency in being able to definitively state how cannabis can trigger psychosis and schizophrenia since doctors cannot predict with certainty which people might be vulnerable to this effect, aside from those with a family history of such problems. In the United Kingdom, there is currently a rise in the use of a potentially devastating, exceptionally potent new form of cannabis called "skunk".

More than 22,000 people in Britain needed treatment for cannabis use in 2006. Cannabis use resulting in emergency hospital admissions have doubled in the past five years.

In another study that was being announced this week in London, England it was revealed

"scientists found that marijuana worsens psychotic symptoms of schizophrenics.

Doctors at Yale University in the U.S. tested the impact of THC on 150 healthy volunteers and 13 people with stable schizophrenia. Nearly half of the healthy subjects experienced psychotic symptoms when given the drug.

While the doctors expected to see marijuana improve the conditions of their schizophrenic subjects — since their patients reported that the drug calmed them — they found that the reverse was true."

A new campaigning group, Talking About Cannabis, is being launched in London which will lobby the Government to tackle the crisis.

Read the articles:

Cannabis 'disrupts brain center - Scientists have shown how cannabis may trigger psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia. (BBC)

Cannabis harms mental health, scientists warn

Pot May Cause Psychotic Symptoms (Time Magazine)

Related Reading:

Schizophrenia risk Increased by Cannabis / Marijuana Use

Drug-induced Psychosis up 400% in Australia
Cannabis Use / Schizophrenia Correlation Being Studied
UK Charity Pushes for National Cannabis / Marijuana Education on Link to Schizophrenia
Public Education Program on Marijuana / Schizophrenia Link Working (in Australia)
Cannabis Abuse May Lead to Earlier Schizophrenia Onset, Worse Outcome
Cannabis and Psychosis (schizophrenia) and the COMT gene


I wish so much for the day when that evil will be completely under control. I know that some people enjoy it and it doesn't do them any harm, but my borther developed schizophrenia after one bad episode on marijuana and still suffers the consequences - ten years later. I can not regret enough that at the time even I was encorouaging him to smoke it, saying that "it was nothing" and that "it couldn't do him any harm". It almost distroyed his, and mine and life of my whole family.

Posted by: Marija at April 30, 2007 11:12 PM

I have been saying this for 12 years, since my son was diagnosed. Privately psychiatrists and psych nurses know this but because it's taken so long to prove it scientifically it has not been publisized.

Posted by: Elda Quinton at May 1, 2007 12:37 AM

A Psychiatrist in Winnipeg, Manitoba put in the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He mentioned Schizophrenia,I was in the Psychiatric ward in the year of 2004. I was put under the the Public Trustee, Order of Commiteeship, the psychiatrist even said I cannot make treatment decisions calling me incompetent.I had alot to deal with. Britney Spears has helped me alot, I love Britney Spears, I listen to her music everyday in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thank you Elizabeth Vagi, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Posted by: Elizabeth Vagi at May 3, 2007 08:07 AM

marijuana is so ubiquitious that it is hard to keep any schiz person from it. they feel it calms them. but i know it is not a good thing for any schiz. so many advocate its use and yes, it is good for glaucoma and wasting illnesses but i wish they would declare its dangers too. it is so frustrating that so many young people do this because this what and all they do. most aren't affected except it causes no motivation and wastes the day. but to those sensitive for schiz it triggers a lifetime of torment and pain. it wish this information was in the mainstream...

Posted by: Ginny Breeland at May 5, 2007 01:23 PM

I am currently 16 years old male. I smoked all of when I was 15. I didn't know what was wrong with me (Ex. depressing thoughts, not knowing how to be social, being myself, can't remember, worrying all the time, life seemed overwhelming). I was smoking heavily everyday. I thought I was okay and it was just me going through puberty (sounds strange I know). I felt I was alone. I have not been diagnoised with Schiz. yet. Around Febuary of this month after months of wondering when I would once again feel like myself I decided to stop smoking on the off chance it would change something. It made it good for awhile but every now and then I'll have really bad depressing thoughts that interfere with my life. I talked with my mom (she does not live with me, but 1,000 miles away in another state) and told her I haven't been feeling like myself and needed someone to be there for me. I felt alone, I described her my worries, memory loss...she told me about her history of Schizophrenia and Anxiety. I never knew she had this, I did research, saw that cannabis triggers Schiz. If I could go back I would have never EVER smoked if they was any chance that I would be the old me in any way shape or form. It's very sad to anyone who has it, I don't know what to do but research learn as much as I can then see what treatments are available. I read that age 15 is where cannibis is most dangerous to trigger Schiz..well look where its got me...I pray to god this reaches someone and changes they're mind. And I read above that doctors knew about Cannibis as the cause but not going main stream because theres no scientific evidence ? Theres 6.1 million people in the U.S. with Schiz and 13% "TRIGGERED" not caused but triggered, which means if they never smoked theres a good chance nothing would have ever of happened, but 13% of those 6.1 Million wouldn't have if doctors would hurry up and release some information...were beggin you !

Posted by: Schiz at July 2, 2007 09:23 PM

I am not glad to hear about these findings but perhaps this could help authorities reconsider the legalization of these drugs. They don't have long term positive effects...

Posted by: Narc at March 18, 2008 02:21 PM

Wow. My best friend of 15 years' boyfriend has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He just snapped at work last week. This HAS to be why. He always smokes pot. It's disgusting. I would never hang out with her when she was around him.
Now, I know that this isn't as horribly devastating as my friend thinks it is. I should print this and show her what marijuana can do to a person.

Posted by: Amber at June 12, 2008 10:05 AM

Post a comment

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