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A number of studies have found a significant relationship between marijuana use and the development and worsening of schizophrenia symptoms. Studies have not yet established a causal relationship, however, strong correlations have been found between THC (marijuana's primary psychoactive ingredient) and brain abnormalities that lead to symptoms seen in schizophrenia.
It is believed that marijuana triggers schizophrenia in people who already have a genetic vulnerability to the disease. Unfortunately it is impossible to accurately identify this predisposition before the damage of marijuana is done (a family history of mental illness is one indicator)
Young people who regularly use marijuana increase their risks for schizophrenia - the younger the person at the start of smoking cannabis / marijuana, the greater the risk and severity of tschizophrenic symptoms that will develop.
Cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis by up to 700% for heavy users, and that the risk increases in proportion to the amount of cannabis smoked and more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia up to 15 years following consumption when compared to their peers who never smoked cannabis.
Using cannabis while the brain is still developing boosts levels of the chemical “dopamine” in the brain, that regulates how arousal and stress are managed and thereby increases the risk of “schizophrenia” and “depression” being triggered. Without the effects of cannabis, such a person might live their whole life without ever experiencing mental health problems.
It has been estimated that between 8% and 13% of people that have schizophrenia today would never have developed the illness without exposure to cannabis.
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