Marijuana Can Cause Schizophrenia – FACT or CRAP Part 10

Is the following statement FACT or CRAP?

10. Marijuana can’t cause mental illness.

Answer: CRAP

Marijuana use can increase your risk of psychosis and schizophrenia 2- to 4-fold. Meta-analysis of the Association Between the Level of Cannabis Use and Risk of Psychosis

Marijuana use during the fragile adolescent years increases the odds a person will get schizophrenia, a severe mental illness characterized by distorted perception, paranoia, and psychosis (delusional thinking and/or auditory hallucinations). Using potent marijuana frequently when young can cause Cannabis-Induced Psychosis (CIP), a schizophrenia-like psychosis that isn’t true schizophrenia. But if the user doesn’t immediately stop using marijuana and has repeated CIP incidents, the psychosis can convert to permanent schizophrenia. Users are frequently misdiagnosed as schizophrenic or bipolar, but when the person is sober from marijuana, the psychosis can often resolve as the brain heals from the assault.

We’ve know about a connection between marijuana and schizophrenia for hundreds of years. Doctors have written about strange psychoses in patients who use marijuana, even the “weak” stuff. However, researched debated the direction of causality for decades, because there was the possibility that a predisposition for schizophrenia caused some people to use marijuana, rather than vice versa, or that some other cause triggered both.

By the late 2010s, however, the debate was resolved. We now know for certain that marijuana users are 2-4 times more likely to become schizophrenic than non-users. As proved by Marti di Forti et al in 2019, there is a 5-fold increase in the likelihood of psychosis if the person uses high-potency (>10% THC) daily. The likelihood is dose-dependent, which means the more marijuana you use and the higher its potency, the more likely it could happen. Because today’s potent marijuana products can contain up to 25 times more THC than “Woodstock” pot, it’s far more likely to happen.

Schizophrenia is rare enough that even a two to fourfold increase in frequency among users remains a relatively small percentage. Multiply it by millions of users, though, and the actual number of people with schizophrenia swells dramatically. Scientists in Denmark just proved in its population of 7 million people the incidence of schizophrenia went from 2% in 1994 before marijuana to 8% in 2010, after marijuana. The study removed people with a family history or current incidence of schizophrenia, as well as those currently experiencing depression or mental illness, so it could even be higher. So the question of proof and causation between marijuana use and schizophrenia is no longer a question.

Of course, if you do have a history of schizophrenia in your family, your odds are greater of coming down with the disorder if you use marijuana. But you don’t have to have any genetics for schizophrenia to become psychotic from marijuana, as we saw from my son, Johnny. We have no history of mental illness and psychosis in our family, and Johnny had no risk factors in his genes when tested such as COMT. However, he became psychotic after years of dabbing and vaping concentrated marijuana oils. Do you want to roll the dice with your brain and your life?

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