Is there a connection between pot and schizophrenia? A long-held medical belief that there was is being challenged by new science.
Many in the pro-pot movement claim that marijuana has no harmful lasting effects, but scientists have long claimed there was a connection between pot and psychosis. Some new science calls this into question.
Studies have repeatedly shown that people with schizophrenia are about twice as likely to smoke pot as those who are unaffected, CNN reports. The data also suggests that those who smoke cannabis are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as nonsmokers. There was even an alarming research review published in 2007 that seemed to conclude that trying marijuana just once was associated with a 40 percent increase in risk of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. The problem with that is, while marijuana use has become much more widespread, rates of schizophrenia have remained the same, affecting approximately one percent of the population.
A Study on Marijuana and Schizophrenia
One new study seems to add to the voices saying there is not a correlation. CNN reports that Dr. Serge Sevy, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, looked at 100 patients between the ages of 16 and 40 with schizophrenia, half of whom smoked marijuana. Sevy and colleagues found that among the marijuana users, 75 percent had begun smoking before the onset of schizophrenia and that their disease appeared about two years earlier than in those who did not use the drug. But when the researchers controlled for other factors known to influence schizophrenia risk, including gender, education and socioeconomic status, the association between disease onset and marijuana disappeared.
The facts aren’t quite that cut and dried, though. Confusing the matter is the affinity many schizophrenics seem to have for marijuana, seeming to point to some sort of connection, however tenuous. Then there are other issues to consider. Some studies have found better cognitive functioning in schizophrenics who smoke pot compared to those who don’t. That’s the opposite result found in the normal population following pot use. It just goes to prove that where schizophrenia and marijuana use are concerned, there’s still plenty to learn.
If you or someone you love is battling a marijuana addiction, call La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.c