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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Marijuana's Link to Psychotic Problems

In the last decade the entire country has started to gain a different perspective on the dangers of marijuana, with more and more people viewing pot as not being all that harmful despite the fact that it is used more than any other drug. While marijuana may have some medical benefits such as treatment for chronic pain, it is still an addictive substance with the ability to change how one's mind functions on a chemical level. As the drug becomes more popular and more readily available for everyday use, it is also being researched more than ever in order to determine the short and long term benefits and side effects. Researchers may have found a link associated between marijuana usage at a young age and psychosis, with the major question focusing on whether marijuana causes psychosis or whether or not people with psychosis use cannabis to self medicate their symptoms.

The study took place in Germany headed up by a Dutch team of researchers investigating the association between cannabis use and the incidence and persistence of psychotic symptoms over a ten year period using a random sample of 1,923 adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 24 years. Their findings do not look good for chronic marijuana users, after considering factors such as: age, sex, socioeconomic status, drug use, and other psychiatric problems - they determined that incident cannabis increased the risk of later incident psychotic symptoms by almost half. What's more is the fact that the individuals using marijuana from the beginning to the end of the study decade had increased their risk of persistent psychotic symptoms.

According to the study's authors:

"These results help to clarify the temporal association between cannabis use and psychotic experiences. In addition, cannabis use was confirmed as an environmental risk factor impacting on the risk of persistence of psychotic experiences."

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