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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.

    • 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?

      • Re:So (Score:5, Informative)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @10:11PM (#42400599)

        You misinterpreted her statement. The correlation is, in fact, given in the abstract (relevant quote below). What she says she cannot do, because the study did not examine it, was how likely young pot users were to exhibit psychotic symptoms later, i.e. when they were not young (they only covered between 13 and 19 years old, looks like).

        Findings
        Significant associations (r=.12-.23) were observed between psychosis vulnerability and cannabis use at all assessments. Also, cannabis use at age 16 predicted psychosis vulnerability at age 19 (z=2.6, p<.05). Furthermore, psychosis vulnerability at ages 13 (z=2.0, p<.05) and 16 (z=3.0, p<.05) predicted cannabis use at, respectively, ages 16 and 19.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      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.

      And if we knew the results of the study up front, we wouldn't have needed to do the study in the first place. As much as some people like to believe this is some sort of conspiracy theory to keep grant money flowing it's completely natural that at times you find that the results are inconclusive, it's only with 20/20 hindsight you can say it was pointless.

    • by v1 (525388)

      So, we learned nothing of value

      it's just a reminder that "correlation is not the same as causation". In simpler terms, when you notice that you have a Y when you are studying an X, it doesn't mean Y contributed to X. Sometimes it means X contributed to Y. (and sometimes they mutually reinforce each other)

      It'd be like finding a link between eating doritos and smoking pot, and thinking the doritos were contributing to the pot smoking. That one's a bit more obvious, but in any event you can't just automatica

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:31PM (#42398803) Homepage
    Which is more likely: 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.

    2) Drugs cause the problems - but no one ever noticed before.

    3) Some idiot won't even consider option #1 and go right option #2 - without any evidence at all, let alone proof.

    Note, I have kidney disease - and as such do not take pot, drink alcohol or do any other drug without my doctor's express advice. My body can't handle it - but I'm not stupid enough to think other people have the same problem I do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Big Pharma is scared shitless of the prospect of Marijuana legalization. Both the Alcohol and Pharma lobbies have a lot to lose with the legalization of Marijuana.

      Speaking of big Pharma, I wonder how many of the recent modern spree killers were prescribed and taking psychotropic drugs around the time of their killing sprees? Is it possible that had they been smoking marijuana without taking taking Paxil and Zoloft, they'd have just played a lot of games and eaten a lot of twinkies rather than murdering?

      --

      • Why would they be scared of it? Legalization would mean they can monopolize on it. You'll see all sorts of patents on marijuana like with food crops.

        • You think big pharma would get to it before Monsanto or Phillip-Morris? I'm pretty sure either one of them would be all over it long before big pharma got there.
        • by TheCarp (96830)

          The thing is... Big Pharma could capitalize on placebo if it were ethical and they could patent it (I might even argue that they already do given the actual effectiveness of some drugs).

          The problem is, if pot is good for something (or even if it isn't but it helps someone feel better so they shut up) then anybody can supply it. Nobody, except Phillip Morris and their ilk, could possibly ensure that they will profit big from it, when they have to compete. Their business is competing to discovery and patent,

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          Not hardly.

          Monsanto (which deserves to die horribly) makes it money through legal terrorism, and intellectual property that is difficult to reproduce.

          Pharma drugs as well require strict protocols and experienced factories to produce their products, and are not easily knocked off. Sure as heck, not done so without consequences, sometimes lethal.

          Weed?

          I could grow the plant on my porch and possibly have a higher quality product than what would be available at the pharmacy down the street. Unlike bootleggers, i

    • by eggstasy (458692) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:42PM (#42398889) Journal

      Well, let's skip pot and talk about the HARD drugs, such as coffee :)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimulant_psychosis#Caffeine [wikipedia.org]

    • 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.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        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.

        I know next to nothing about marijuana... is it still consumed primarily through smoking?

    • by caluml (551744)

      What happens when you do do something that strains your kidneys?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      " 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

    • by bcrowell (177657)

      Which is more likely: 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.

      2) Drugs cause the problems - but no one ever noticed before.

      There are all kinds of possibilities. Your #1 actually doesn't seem to fit, since they observed that the time-sequencing of the events worked both ways. Having psychotic symptoms at one time was correlated with smoking dope at a later age, but smoking dope was also correlated with psychotic symptoms later.

      Some other possibilities:

      3) Some genetic or environmental factor tends to cause both marijuana use and psychotic symptoms. (The summary explicitly mentions the genetic possibility.)

      4) Smoking marijuana is

    • by bug1 (96678)

      4) Addict subconsciously believes any argument that might help satisfy the addiction.

  • 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

    "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 tempor

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by germansausage (682057)
        1. Smoking (anything) raises your risk of oral and lung cancers, including marijuana.

        So vape it or bake it into cookies or whatever. You don't have to smoke it.

        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.

        Citation pls. Also who says kids should have it? This is for grownups only, same as tobacco and alcohol.

        3. Marijuana causes psychosis in healthy peopl
      • 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.

  • Given humans have been using weed for millennia and it's used recreationally all over the world, surely this means something? Even anecdotally, most people would know of several cases of hospitalization/institutionalization due to cannabis use if this drug was a real threat.
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:40PM (#42399367) Homepage Journal

      well, there's plenty of cases where people blame weed for stupid shit they've done - so you'd have no trouble finding institutionalized people who would claim their cannabis use caused them to become institutionalized and well, you'll find plenty of people who were institutionalized to jail for it of course too - though strictly speaking in those cases it's the law and other people who have caused them to be institutionalized and isolated(again compounding possible mental locks and general unhappiness with life).

      just as there's plenty of cases where people blame alcohol for the stupid shit they've done. AA is full of them.

      still, if an alcie goes to doctor because of anger issues/unstability(that they blame on drinking) around here it's quite usual they're given diazepam. which would be all good if they weren't unstable alcoholics and the pams just enhance that. giving them a bag of weed would be much better, at least if someone is going too deep with weed they're not 99.99% of time going to hurt anyone, themselves or others, except through inactivity. someone with anger issues gets alcohol+diazepam psychosis and someone is going to get hurt - via physical assault.

      this study doesn't really surprise me at all though, it's even on the "no shit sherlock" level, it's so blatantly obvious. still, it's nice that they bothered to make a real study about that unhappy people seek a fix.

      I don't drink anymore due to health issues(pancreatitis is a bitch that wont let her eye off you) and would be very glad if they legalized weed around here. Sure, it might make you spend a lot of time thinking with yourself and laughing at stupid shit along the way but quite frankly what's so bad about that?

      Psychosis as a term is so fucking all over the place that it's almost useless as a word too, since it can mean fucking anything - even me wanting to emphasize things with "fucking" is a form of psychosis if you ask the right idiot. basically most weedsters use psychosis as a word for being bored nowadays(they're out of weed it's "psychosis", they got some good weed but nothing fun to do while smoking it and it's psychosis again! they smoke enough that they're practically sleeping and that too then is psychosis.) - it's so fucked up thanks to the prohibitionists. hell, even being drunk is "psychosis" nowadays, fucking pansies.

    • "humans have been using weed for millennia and it's used recreationally all over the world, surely this means something?"

      Yes, it means that so far, marijuana hasn't caused humanity's extinction.

  • It's not exactly related to TFA, but my girlfriend has been diagnosed with post-partum psychosis a year ago.
    She's been treated with many different medications that didn't work that well.
    The end result is that she's been in a clinic for 9 months out of 12, and I've been a solo dad meanwhile.
    She often looks like a zombie, and still hear voices even though she's under heavy medication.

    Any advice from a fellow geek?
    Any happy-ending related story?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Coming from somebody who suffers from schizophrenia, I'll tell you the drugs never helped kill the voices or the thoughts of paranoia. They worked as a tranquilizer, I was taking Clozapine in the end (all the milder drugs did nothing for me and in many cases made it worse). The only thing that helped was learning to cope with the voices and paranoid thoughts, and put them where they appropriately belong (in the garbage). Lots and lots of therapy.

      The unfortunate reality is I lost about 6 years of my life

    • 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/
    • by towermac (752159)

      I went through the same thing. Families often hide this well, but you'll generally find a strain of it in the family. When they grow up, it takes something to kick it off. Men usually "get" it at 18 - 21; just the tribulations of growing up is often enough to do it. Women often hang on quite some while. I suspect early birth control, possibly combined with pot use, can stave off the onset of inherited mental illness. Both of which stop abruptly upon pregnancy. And then childbirth, the single most emotional

  • So, does that mean that there is a positive feedback loop? Sounds like a rather disconcerting notion for any person concerned.
  • by stms (1132653)

    So you're saying Psychosis causes marijuana to grow? This is going to do wonders for the grow op I have in my basement [xkcd.com].

  • 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..

  • That people with issues seek out ways to numb themselves from them and not even know it?

    Kidding aside, i'm impressed that they were not just doing a 'study' to push an agenda. that is far too common these days.

  • 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

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "is probably not the best thing for a developing brain"
      speculation.
      " It's also a socioeconomic red flag "
      nope. But please, constinue with your wild ass statemnets based from 1950.

      " these kids came from the wrong side of the tracks"
      define wrong side of the tracks.

      " they've had crappy and neglectful parenting"
      Based on.. what? Oh right, the do pot therefore they were neglected and drop outs.

      WTF?seriously, did you just crawl out of a rock from 1950? You sound like an episode of Batman.
      "You can't blame them Robi

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:36PM (#42399341) Homepage Journal

    the data was inconclusive; which means exactly that.

    • by skine (1524819)

      How was the data inconclusive? It seems to me that the data is as conclusive as a single study can be.

      It shows that there isn't a simple relationship where either one causes the other, or the other causes the one. In that respect, it may be similar to alcohol, where people tend to drink more when they're depressed, and alcohol is a depressant.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        How was the data inconclusive? It seems to me that the data is as conclusive as a single study can be.

        It shows that there isn't a simple relationship where either one causes the other, or the other causes the one. In that respect, it may be similar to alcohol, where people tend to drink more when they're depressed, and alcohol is a depressant.

        Well, in over 30 years of smoking weed and knowing people that smoke weed, I have NOT found one person to have Psychosis.
        Yet in over 40 years of living I have found a shit load of religious people that have Psychosis.

        This study is a nice idea, but it has no bearing at all on reality.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @07:52PM (#42399477) Homepage Journal
    What if being a teenager causes marijuana use. Or maybe marijuana use causes being a teenager. Mmm no, given all the aging hippies in Boulder, I think we can rule out the latter...
  • If people who were psychotic at 16 sought out pot at 19 then clearly pot causes the brain to release tachyons and cause psychotic breaks in the past. Its the only plausible explaination.

  • So many lies, for so long, for all the wrong reasons, what is the truth?
    • by Nyder (754090)

      So many lies, for so long, for all the wrong reasons, what is the truth?

      This is your brain (frying pan).

      This is your brain on drugs (egg frying in that frying pan).

      You know, I stopped believe in what adults told me as a child. Why?

      They said Santa was real, he isn't.
      They said The Tooth Fairy was real, she's not.
      Easter bunny? Not real.
      This will hurt me more then it will hurt you? Lies!
      Do as I say, not as I do? Set a better example!
      Babies come in storks!

      With adults spending a lot of time lying to children, is it no surprise when they don't believe you about anything?

  • But from the headline, I'm excited to see that psychosis causes marijuana. Groovy!

  • by Nyder (754090) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @10:13PM (#42400609) Journal

    and this sort of shit cracks me up.

    I looked up the meaning of psychosis: Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions); Seeing or hearing things that aren't there (hallucinations).

    That describes religious people, not stoners.

    I've known people that smoke weed for over 40 years, and none of them see shit that isn't there. None of them believe in false stuff, except the religious ones. Most the others have businesses, jobs, responsibilities they take care of.

    I've known druggies that lost reality after ODing on coke or heroin, but I have NEVER seen anyone do that on weed.

    What I gained from the article was kids that have psychosis are more likely to use drugs, which doesn't surprise me. I was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia when I was in my mid 30's. Growing up I had no idea why people heard me say different things then I was saying, why people always took what i said or did at it's worse instead of how it was intended and why I had a hard time functioning socially with people. During my 20's I did a shit ton of drugs. I gave up, I didn't understand why I had problems with people. Drugs (heroin) made me feel better, or made me not care for a bit, made life a bit more bearable (so i thought). After I found out about my dyslexia and ADHD and got help for that, I understood finally what the problem had been. I had no problem quitting my heroin addiction after that. In fact, in almost 10 years since I found out, I've been clean. (I don't count weed as a drug like heroin, coke, benzo's, etc).

    Funny how people have been smoking weed since it's been around and in over 100 years of recorded medical history we still get stories like this, that really have nothing to do with anything.

  • by xanadu113 (657977) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @01:15AM (#42401547) Homepage
    Where can I find the pot that causes psychotic symptoms, 3 years before I even smoke it! Must be truly amazing!

    Did I miss something? =)
  • Nonsense! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @09:05AM (#42403031) Journal
    Pot has absolutely nothing to do with psychosis. The voices say so, too.

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