45 Comments

  1. psychosis

    POSTED MARCH 07, 2011, 11:03 AM , UPDATED NOVEMBER 30, 2011, 2:28 PM

    Ann MacDonald
    Contributor, Harvard Health

    Teenagers and young adults who use marijuana may be messing with their heads in ways they don’t intend.
    Evidence is mounting that regular marijuana use increases the chance that a teenager will develop psychosis, a pattern of unusual thoughts or perceptions, such as believing the television is transmitting secret messages. It also increases the risk of developing schizophrenia, a disabling brain disorder that not only causes psychosis, but also problems concentrating and loss of emotional expression.
    In one recent study that followed nearly 2,000 teenagers as they became young adults, young people who smoked marijuana at least five times were twice as likely to have developed psychosis over the next 10 years as those who didn’t smoke pot.
    Another new paper concluded that early marijuana use could actually hasten the onset of psychosis by three years. Those most at risk are youths who already have a mother, father, or sibling with schizophrenia or some other psychotic disorder.
    Young people with a parent or sibling affected by psychosis have a roughly one in 10 chance of developing the condition themselves—even if they never smoke pot. Regular marijuana use, however, doubles their risk—to a one in five chance of becoming psychotic.
    In comparison, youths in families unaffected by psychosis have a 7 in 1,000 chance of developing it. If they smoke pot regularly, the risk doubles, to 14 in 1,000.
    For years, now, experts have been sounding the alarm about a possible link between marijuana use and psychosis. One of the best-known studies followed nearly 50,000 young Swedish soldiers for 15 years. Those who had smoked marijuana at least once were more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those who had never smoked pot. The heaviest users (who said they used marijuana more than 50 times) were six times as likely to develop schizophrenia as the nonsmokers.
    So far, this research shows only an association between smoking pot and developing psychosis or schizophrenia later on. That’s not the same thing as saying that marijuana causes psychosis.
    This is how research works. Years ago, scientists first noted an association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Only later were they able to figure out exactly how cigarette smoke damaged the lungs and other parts of the body, causing cancer and other diseases.
    The research on marijuana and the brain is at a much earlier stage. We do know that THC, one of the active compounds in marijuana, stimulates the brain and triggers other chemical reactions that contribute to the drug’s psychological and physical effects.
    But it’s not clear how marijuana use might lead to psychosis. One theory is that marijuana may interfere with normal brain development during the teenage years and young adulthood.
    The teenage brain is still a work in progress. Between the teen years and the mid-20s, areas of the brain responsible for judgment and problem solving are still making connections with the emotional centers of the brain. Smoking marijuana may derail this process and so increase a young person’s vulnerability to psychotic thinking. (You can read more about how the adolescent brain develops in this article from the Harvard Mental Health Letter.)
    While the research on marijuana and the mind has not yet connected all the dots, these new studies provide one more reason to caution young people against using marijuana—especially if they have a family member affected by schizophrenia or some other psychotic disorder. Although it may be a tough concept to explain to a teenager, the reward of a short-time high isn’t worth the long-term risk of psychosis or a disabling disorder like schizophrenia.

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  14. The ONLY reason california legalized weed is because the taxpayers of the state are leaving faster the governer brown nose can import illegal aliens in the state. This was a last ditch effort to keep crapifornia from bankruptcy. Now all the cali youth are going to be completely brain dead! What a bright future for that state. Good luck!

  15. Legalize and Tax all drugs.  Remove the Criminal element and teach society how horrible and wrong it is to do them. Drugs rob the Human Soul and Wrecks people.  Marijuana is an extremely bad drug that should not exist, but since its here don't smoke it or eat it in any way shape or form and avoid people who smoke it.

  16. Legalizing Drugs is a great idea for taxes and to take the criminal element out of them, but of course they are still very wrong to do!  Whisky, Gin, Rum, and Vodka are all legal, but there is no way anyone should drink them!

  17. All you people that are excited about legal pot.. Do you want to put your child On a bus with a stoned driver? Do you want your teenager to be on the road with people getting high? Do you want to trust in someone that is stoned to take your wife or family across town in a yuber car..? Think about it..

  18. I cannot believe how far in decadence we have come, OMG, legalizing weed. I dont give a damn what anybody says, YES it is a gateway drug man, who am I?? a fully recovered drug addict (heroin) and 6 time ex convict, I dont give a damn what anyone says weed IS a GATEWAY drug, had it not been for weed I would have never turned to a life of crime, maybe not everyone but all the addicts I ran with and met ALL said weed was the gateway, remember the Roman contemporary who wrote "TO MUCH LIBERTY CAUSES CHAOS AND DISORDER"

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