More states in the US are legalizing the use of marijuana and in particular the use of it medicinally giving it an aura of healthfulness where in fact there are some serious health risks involved with its frequent use. And the risk of having a psychotic episode is one of the more troubling side effects.
A new study which was published in The Lancet Psychiatry revealed that the frequent use on a daily basis of the weed especially in high potency dosages increases the odds of a users risk of later having a psychotic episode.
There have been past studies that have shown the association of frequent use of pot and the risk of the user losing touch with reality which is known as psychosis. But now this most recent study especially confirms the use of high potency cannabis with later development of psychosis.
‘High potency cannabis’ are pot products that have more than 10 percent tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is the compound found to be responsible for the drug’s psychoactive effects.
And these ‘high potency cannabis’ products or THC are more commonly available in the current market and is cause for concern for the greater risk of psychosis happening in society today.
Researchers found that in three European cities of London, Paris and Amsterdam where THC is more commonly available, there was a higher rate of psychosis than in all the other cities in the study across Europe and one site in a city in Brazil. There were 11 cities involved in the study and 901 people aged 18 to 64 who were diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis between the six years from May 2010 through April 2015.
The individuals in the study were asked about their habits and their use of marijuana, when they started and the kind of cannabis they used, explained study author Marta Di Forti, who is a psychiatrist and a clinician scientist at King’s College London.
Because the people in the study told researchers the type of weed they used, researchers were able to determine the THC content of each product through information that had been gathered by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction and national data from the different countries involved in the study.
The results were that those who used pot on a daily basis were three times more likely to experience a psychotic episode and almost four times greater. when compared to people who didn’t use pot. The study also found that people who started at the age of 15 to use cannabis elevated their risk of psychosis more than those who started using pot in later years.
Whether people use cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes, the public needs to be aware of the risks and what to look for and ask for help should they come across anyone with characteristics of a psychotic disorder says Dr. Di Forti.