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Medicine Science

Link Between Marijuana and Psychosis Goes Both Ways 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-far-out-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of a study out of the Netherlands (abstract) about the link between psychosis and marijuana use. The researchers wanted to examine what caused the relationship — was marijuana use leading to psychosis, or did those suffering from psychosis have a higher tendency to seek out marijuana? As it turns out, they found evidence for both. From the article: "... using pot at 16 years old was linked to psychotic symptoms three years later, and psychotic symptoms at age 16 were linked to pot use at age 19. This was true even when the researchers accounted for mental illness in the kids' families, alcohol use and tobacco use. Griffith-Lendering said she could not say how much more likely young pot users were to exhibit psychotic symptoms later on. Also, the new study cannot prove one causes the other. Genetics may also explain the link between pot use and psychosis, said Griffith-Lendering."
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Link Between Marijuana and Psychosis Goes Both Ways

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  • So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:30PM (#42398785)

    So, we learned nothing of value except that studies like this have inconclusive results. Oh, and teenagers can experience psychosis before, during and after using drugs.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:36PM (#42398843) Homepage

    So the only clear conclusion is that we need further study. Which will be made more difficult by the criminalization of the substance in so many jurisdictions where that research could be performed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:41PM (#42398879)

    "The researchers wanted to examine what caused the relationship — was marijuana use leading to psychosis, or did those suffering from psychosis have a higher tendency to seek out marijuana?"

    Just because one event happens after the other doesn't prove ANY causation in this case - even the summary lifted from the article clearly points this out, and in fact the author of the article makes no claims as to cause.

    And calling it a "bidirectional link" is mostly pointless, it's only "bidirectional" in temporal sequence. It's still completely possible that it is totally unidirectional in cause and effect, ie. as one of the quotes at the end states, increased usage may just be a risk factor for existing (possibly undiagnosed) psychosis with genetic basis.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:45PM (#42398923)

    Marijuana/Cannabis is not for everyone, alcohol is not for everyone, we all have personal preferences.

    I know cannabis has helped keep me sane. I've found it far more beneficial than the concoction of of man-made, side-effect heavy, possibly lethal pharmaceuticals that the doctor would prefer I took daily.

  • Re:So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jetra (2622687) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:48PM (#42398951)
    So is puberty.
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:51PM (#42398979)

    "Both of the above" is not the same as "inconclusive".

  • Re:So (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Immerman (2627577) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:56PM (#42399029)

    Griffith-Lendering said she could not say how much more likely young pot users were to exhibit psychotic symptoms later on

    Sounds like a sign of a BS study to me - either your sample size and methodology are sufficient to show a numerical correlation, or they're not. If they are, then it's *really* easy to specify the degree of correlation - aka how much more likely it is that a person in group A will also be B. If not, well then your study didn't actually find a statistically significant correlation, did it?

  • by m.shenhav (948505) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:01PM (#42399081)
    ..... where weed IS decriminalized.
  • by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:04PM (#42399095)
    I personally find studies out of Amsterdam to be the most unbiased in the world. Remember that it's tolerated there, not promoted, like cigarettes in America, for instance, by the tobacco lobby.

    If the drug does cause psychosis, then society as a whole can react to it accordingly. Conversely, if people with psychosis are attracted to the drug, then there must be an underlying reason for that.

    I look forward to seeing what else comes of this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:20PM (#42399201)

    There are many existing studies that have already proven several things about marijuana use:

    1. Smoking (anything) raises your risk of oral and lung cancers, including marijuana.
    2. Marijuana lowers IQ in developing brains, e.g. children and adolescents. If you've seen the kind of permanent damage neurons experience after smoking marijuana, this is hardly surprising.
    3. Marijuana causes psychosis in healthy people and worsens it in those with existing conditions.
    4. Marijuana is addictive. It's a hotly debated point but the fact is that many people really struggle to stop using it and relapse.

    Denying or arguing any of these points would seem fruitless in light of medical evidence, yet people insist on claiming marijuana has no side effects and is completely harmless. That's a great pipe dream, but we'd have to assume it is literally the perfect drug and works in a way that no other drug has ever done. Sadly, that's just not the case. Like any other drug it has its pros and cons.

    Marijuana advocates reject all criticism, and assume all scientific studies are somehow flawed or are the result of anti-marijuana conspiracies. To them marijuana _has_ to be the perfect drug, even if reality contradicts that viewpoint. Sounds crazy, but it's roughly what you'd expect from people who are no longer living in our reality.

  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:21PM (#42399215) Homepage

    I'm not the GP, but I do know that some prescription antidepressants have known side effects that can include violent psychotic breaks and strong suicidal ideation.

    That's not conspiracy talk, that's printed on the box.

    Having said that, I'd honestly like to know more about this link between marijuana use and psychosis. I know everyone here has already dismissed it, but this is the sort of thing people should have pretty good answers on. It's not a new theory, after all. Show us the results. Good ones. We'll go from there.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:24PM (#42399233) Homepage

    yet none of them has found any serious and life threatening illnesses caused by weed smoking/eating compared to alcohol, alcohol mixed with Tylenol, pharma drugs, side effects of chemical leeching out of every day plastics or even walking down the road and breaking a leg. YET they try and try and try and....

    How about some food allergies http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db10.htm [cdc.gov] Peanuts can be deadly too..

  • by Harvey Manfrenjenson (1610637) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:31PM (#42399295)

    Sorry for the double post, but I just thought of another important (to me, anyway) objection.

    All the pot smokers in the study have one major attribute in common: They started their *regular* drug use *early*-- many of them at age 16 or before. Which frankly, is probably not the best thing for a developing brain. It's also a socioeconomic red flag that suggests a lot of confounders: these kids came from the wrong side of the tracks, they've had crappy and neglectful parenting, they've dropped out of school or are on the verge of doing so.

    So it's not especially surprising or interesting to see correlations between early onset of drug use with 'psychosis' and other vague terms of mental disability. You'd expect to see a similar correlation between 'psychosis' and teenage onset of regular beer-drinking.

  • by ewieling (90662) <user@NoSpam.devnull.net> on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:38PM (#42399353)
    LSD with her therapist present or MDMA with her therapist and the kid present. Marijuana is not the only currently illegal drug with serious medical uses.

    http://www.maps.org/
  • Re:So (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @08:32PM (#42399899)

    I'd be more inclined to listen to pro-drug arguments if they were rational and not based on feelings or false promises.

    I have never used pot and have no plans to, regardless of legality, so I don't have any direct emotional investment in it. However, I do not care if others do it or not, and I don't want my tax money wasted on some people's witchhunts to deal with it.

    I don't see why there needs to be a more complicated argument than that. There shouldn't be any irrationality or false promises needed. Half the time I see overly extensive arguments in favor of such things, it is to counter similar overly extensive negative arguments, neither of which should really matter in the end.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:22PM (#42400245)

    " 1) People with psychological issues seek pharmaceutical drugs to help them stay calm and not screw up their lives even though they are hearing voices and other psychotic issues."

    Trust me, as a person who is in this group of people who become psychotic when exposed to marijuana smoke/plant fumes, you do not seek out grass when you are feeling psychotic. You know that it makes the symptoms worse. You may seek out drugs like tranqs and E and opiates... but not grass.

    Marijuana is a trigger for a pre-existing illness, it isn't a cause but it's a trigger. This is proven quite well in my eyes because I have had it happen to my life I've been tested medically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:27PM (#42400287)

    "...that can include violent psychotic breaks."

    As a person who has experienced psychosis many times please don't correlate violent and psychotic together. Psychosis is more common without violence than with, by a huge magnitude. Those who become violent "Hearing the voice of God telling them to kill a school full of kids" are not representative of *MOST* of us, just a tiny fraction numbering on one hand.

  • by germansausage (682057) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:52PM (#42400471)
    As far as i know the active ingredient is the same as it has always been. You have modern strains of weed that might produce more of it, but so what. We have always had the ability to concentrate high levels of THC into things like hashish and pot oil. The dose you ingest has always depended on what you smoke and how much. Three fat stogies of 1978 Columbian gold or one medium sized J of 2012 Northern Lights and you are in exactly the same place.

    Its like arguing that wine is twice as bad for you as beer because it contains twice the percent of alcohol.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @09:53PM (#42400473)

    Well, personally, after 35 years of regular marijuana smoking , I'm still not in Mensa, but neither was Einstein, we both sit in only the top 4%.
    I don't find marijuana so much expanding as I find it a quiet place to study, a land of engineering fully loaded, and a gift directly from God himself, who makes no mention of regulation.Right there in the first book of Genesis. "All the seed bearing plants"
    Sounds like you just run the same tape you heard, out your mouth like all the rest of the sheeple who can't think for themselves but were told it was BAAad, BAAad, BAAad.
    I attribute mind expansion to Psychedelic drugs and pay little attention to agenda funded research.
    Life is far too short to let others decide it for you, let alone do any other thinking for you.
    If you haven't paid attention, evolution takes care of those who can care for themselves, the rest we just let nature weed out.
    When nature starts weeding out potheads, then we will see whose is the superior mind.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @10:01PM (#42400533)

    I have direct experience. As a teenager I was prescribed a drug ostensibly for one reason, but it was listed as treating severe anxiety.

    After just 48 hours I had a missing day. My friends say that I want basically "insane" and acted like a manic 6 year old. No violence, no aggression, no hostility. Just super goofy and hyper wanting to do everything. Flushed the pills down the toilet.

    That guy that shot up the TDK theater, was on psychiatric drugs, as well as the Newton kid.

    You cannot overstate that enough. The SHIT is on the side of the boxes people.

    I've tried weed several times, and on some vacations, was high morning, noon, and night, for several days. I experienced no delusions or hallucinations. Just the munchies. I did not feel like jumping off a bridge, or doing some crazy shit like you've seen in the Hangover or some teenage craziness movie.

    Granted it may be anecdotal evidence, but at my age, just about every weird moment and adult has explained to me did not come from recreational drugs but pharma drugs or severe overuse of alcohol.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @11:27PM (#42401041) Homepage Journal

    Ever wondered how much less shitty the world might be if people like yourself just minded their own business?

    Potheads want to smoke? What does it cost you, exactly? Put a price on what it actually costs you, for potheads to light up. No, you can't count the exorbitant costs of maintaining the DEA, the narc squad at your local police department, or the drug interdiction teams at the state level. You can't count all the costs involved in smuggling drugs. Those costs are created by nosy bastards who can't stand the idea that potheads might want to get high.

    Pot can be grown in backyards for little to nothing. The pothead grows his own, dries it, rolls it, and smokes it at almost no cost to society, but people like yourself want to get involved. Why? Let the dopehead do his thing. That mellowed out bastard poses NO THREAT to you and yours.

    So, just maybe you're partly right. Maybe if he spent all that energy and resources on bettering himself, or helping the community, the world just might be a little better.

    Then again - I've met a lot of dopeheads who were veterans. They've already given to the communities across America. Leave them the hell alone!

    Whatever their reasons for smoking pot, that's THEIR problem, not yours.

    Shut up, sit down, and learn some tolerance. Maybe the potheads will allow you to sit with them, eat some munchies, and sing 'Kumbayah'. Think about it. Free munchies and some comaraderie. You don't even have to light up, they aren't as prejudiced as you are.

  • by crunchygranola (1954152) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @12:15AM (#42401265)

    There are many existing studies that have already proven several things about marijuana use:

    1. Smoking (anything) raises your risk of oral and lung cancers, including marijuana.

    In fact studies show the opposite for marijuana.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=large-study-finds-no-link [scientificamerican.com]
    Cannabis smoking appears to protect against lung cancer. This study is now seven years old, and an even larger one fifteen years ago found the same thing:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1018427320658 [springer.com]
    Can't be cannabis interfering with your ability to process information. I guess we will just have to chalk it up to prejudice and willful ignorance.

    3. Marijuana causes psychosis in healthy people...

    Link please?

    4. Marijuana is addictive. It's a hotly debated point but the fact is that many people really struggle to stop using it and relapse.

    Meaning... you know there is no real support for this, but you want to throw it out there as a claim anyway. You do know that by this same standard tanning is addictive too, right?

    Marijuana advocates reject all criticism, and assume all scientific studies are somehow flawed or are the result of anti-marijuana conspiracies. To them marijuana _has_ to be the perfect drug, even if reality contradicts that viewpoint. Sounds crazy, but it's roughly what you'd expect from people who are no longer living in our reality.

    Looking glass time. You are describing your own rejection of scientific evidence.

  • by bogjobber (880402) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @04:40AM (#42402273)
    You are vastly underestimating the prevalence of marijuana use. Check this [nih.gov] survey out. 36 percent of high school seniors report having smoked marijuana in the past year, 23 percent in the past month, and 6.5 percent are daily users. These *are* the kids that are taking AP Calc and gunning for the Ivy League.

    You are correct that disadvantaged or troubled kids are statistically more likely to be using drugs, but everything you say after "socieconomic red flag" in your original post is so wildy off base it almost seems like you're trolling. Very successful people are regular marijuana users, most of those people started in their teens, and they are not in any way statistical outliers. The idea that a teenager smoking marijuana implies that they had poor parents or are on the verge of failing out of school is absurd.
  • causation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @04:46AM (#42402301)

    They statistically have factored out all other known causes and then compared to a "natural" percentage of both marijuana by itself, and at psychosis by itself. It turns out that there still is a statistical association between the two. Since there indeed is no clear causation, they say "suggests that there is a bi directioal association". I may not be a native English speaker, but even I can see rather clearly that they aren't saying that one causes the other. They have merely statistically proven that there is a common factor

    Now, if I had to guess, I'd say that getting high up to a certain rate would stop the mind raging on of those that have psychosis. However, smoking too much would cause anyones mind to start going places that would be a cause for psychosis in itself. In medical terms: "self medicating" THC tends to give unwanted side effects if you get the dosage or timing wrong. The proper dosage varies from individual to individual and can differ depending on the circumstances and time and can sometimes be zero. That doesn't make it any different from any other psycho-active substance, whether it being administered through medical care or by personal experimentation.

    People that are either high or in a psychosis usually aren't the best judge of what's good for them, so resorting to more THC, since it's "what makes them feel better". is usually the option they choose. That would be a likely explanation for these results, but again, it's just a guess; no scientific research was done to come to this conclusion.

  • by jhol13 (1087781) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @05:18AM (#42402375)

    Why the fuck I get this same bullshit link every time someone shows there is likely causation? Do you really think those researchers do not know your "link"?

    Deal with it, cannabis is bad for you. Maybe less so than alcohol, but it is bad.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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