Tag Archives: psychosis

Teen pot use linked to psychosis

Australian researchers have identified a possible link between long-term marijuana use And psychoses in teens in a study of nearly 4,000 young people. The use of marijuana was associated with an increased risk of hallucinations, delusions and other psychoses.

In the study, whose findings were published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Queensland followed 3,801 people born in Brisbane between 1981 and 1984.

About 17.7 percent reported using cannabis for three or fewer years, 16.2 percent for four to five years and 14.3 percent for six or more years.

Those who had six or more years of use were twice as likely as those who never used cannabis to develop a psychosis, such as schizophrenia, and four times as likely to get high scores in clinical tests of delusion.

Of the 1,272 subjects who had never used marijuana, 26 (2 percent) were diagnosed with psychosis. Of the 322 who had used it for six years or more, 12 (3.7 percent) were diagnosed with the illness.

The authors point out that further study is needed as their research did not take into account such factors as family history and a predisosition to psychosis before marijuana use began.

However, encouraging your kids to avoid all illicit drugs, including marijuana, is a step toward helping them become and stay highly healthy. By the way, you can mean more about marijuana in my book Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook.

Long-term marijuana use can double risk of psychosis in young people

Young people who smoke cannabis or marijuana for six years or more are twice as likely to have psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions than people who have never used the drug according to recent research. The findings adds weight to previous research which linked psychosis with the drug — particularly in its most potent form as “skunk” — and will feed the debate about the level of controls over its use. (BTW, I have an entire chapter analyzing marijuana in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook.)

Here are some of the details of the research from Reuters Health: Despite laws against it, up to 190 million people around the world use cannabis, according to United Nations estimates, equating to about 4 percent of the adult population.

John McGrath of the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia studied more than 3,801 men and women born between 1981 and 1984 and followed them up after 21 years to ask about their cannabis use and assessed them for psychotic episodes. Around 18 percent reported using cannabis for three or fewer years, 16 percent for four to five years and 14 percent for six or more years.

“Compared with those who had never used cannabis, young adults who had six or more years since first use of cannabis were twice as likely to develop a non-affective psychosis (such as schizophrenia),” McGrath wrote in a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry journal.

They were also four times as likely to have high scores in clinical tests of delusion, he wrote, and a so-called “dose-response” relationship showed that the longer the duration since first cannabis use, the higher the risk of psychosis-related symptoms.

A study by British scientists last year suggested that people who smoke skunk, a potent form of cannabis, are almost seven times more likely to develop psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than those who smoke “hash” or cannabis resin.

Previous studies had also suggested smoking cannabis can double the risk of psychosis, but the British study was the first to look specifically at skunk. Skunk has higher amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC which can produce psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

McGrath said, however, that “the nature of the relationship between psychosis and cannabis use is by no means simple” and more research was needed to examine the mechanisms at work.

As part of his study, McGrath and his team looked at links between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms among a group of 228 sibling pairs and found the association still held. This suggests other influences like genes or the environment were less likely to be responsible for the psychosis, they said.

A international group of drug policy experts published a book earlier this year arguing that laws against cannabis have failed to cut its use but instead led to vast numbers of arrests for drug possession in countries like Britain, Switzerland and the United States, which cause social division and pointless government expense.

Fish oil may stave off psychiatric illness

The AP reports that “fish oil pills may be able to save some young people with signs of mental illness from descending into schizophrenia,” according to a study published in the February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. For the study, investigators “identified 81 people, ages 13 to 25, with warning signs of psychosis,” then randomized 41 of them “to take four fish oil pills a day for three months” at a “daily dose of 1,200 milligrams.”

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reported that “for a year after” the study “was completed,12 weeks of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fish oil reduced progression to full-blown psychosis in a large group of adolescents and young adults,” while simultaneously improving “many of the symptoms that identified these young patients as likely schizophrenics and bipolar disorder sufferers.” In fact, “roughly 5% of those on fish oil went on to develop full-blown psychosis during the study period, versus 28% of those who got psychotherapy alone.”

WebMD reported, “No other intervention, including psychiatric” medications, “has achieved as much for so long after treatment stopped.” Unlike antipsychotic medications, “fish oil pills have no serious side effects.”

Reuters noted that fish oils may be used someday to stave off or even prevent psychotic or bipolar illness as well as substance abuse disorder and depression.

You can read my other blogs about fish oil here: