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Supposed Marijuana And Schizophrenia Link “Overstated”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 16, 2010

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    Clinical evidence indicating that marijuana use may be casually linked to incidences of schizophrenia or other psychological harms is not compelling, according to a scientific review published online by the journal Addiction.

    Investigators at the University of Bristol, Department of Social Medicine assessed the potential health risks of cannabis, particularly whether use of the drug may be causally linked with mental illness.

    Authors wrote: “We continue to take the view that the evidence that cannabis use causes schizophrenia is neither very new, nor by normal criteria, particularly compelling. … For example, our recent modeling suggests that we would need to prevent between 3000 and 5000 cases of heavy cannabis use among young men and women to prevent one case of schizophrenia, and that four or five times more young people would need to avoid light cannabis use to prevent a single schizophrenia case. … We conclude that the strongest evidence of a possible causal relation between cannabis use and schizophrenia emerged more than 20 years ago and that the strength of more recent evidence may have been overstated.

    In 2007, an analysis in the British medical journal The Lancet estimated that experimenting with marijuana could increase one’s risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life by some 40 percent. Following this report, Parliament in 2008 voted to reclassify marijuana as a Class B substance, making its possession punishable by up to five years in prison.

    University of Bristol researchers also criticized Parliament’s reclassification of the drug, which took effect earlier this year. They concluded: “The only important possible benefit of prohibition is prevention of cannabis use. There is little or no evidence that it effectively achieves this benefit. Patterns of cannabis use in the population appear to be independent of the policy surrounding use, and criminalizing individual cannabis users does not appear to modify their use in a healthy way.

    Overall, investigators determined that marijuana’s most significant health risk was its association and reinforcement with tobacco smoking.

    44 Responses to “Supposed Marijuana And Schizophrenia Link “Overstated””

    1. CannabisTV says:

      If cannabis made you go psycho, we’d see that represented in the general population, and we don’t see that. A large percentage of the population consume cannabis on a regular basis, just as people use coffee, energy drinks and such every day.

      To watch great videos on the reality of the current cannabis industry, or to share with friends and family, check out CannabisTV.org or CannabisTV.blip.tv

    2. Daniel Tourigny says:

      It’s tough to get straight scientific answers sometimes when it comes to cannabis, due to its (inappropriately) political nature.

      From a health perspective, though, it makes sense that hybrid cannabis may not be optimal, particularly as created via man’s ego-dominated mind state. (And in fact the ego-dominated state looks to re-enforce its own insanity in its creations.)

      I’m the first to admit that the thought of “the ultimate” or “what’s the new thing” is appealing…but perhaps the movement away from cannabis’ natural chemical balances is NOT optimal for human health. This statement would apply to any plant that’s been hybridized.

      I would love to see cannabis treated more like “just another plant” so its study can be focused on instead of political back-and-forth ideologizing.

    3. law enforcement is the real enemy says:

      please nothing is going to happen especially since so many americans in power actually want to curb our freedoms not expand them which is why cannabis legalization will never happen unless we advocated for legalization escalate this movement

      when those in power harm and hurt so many of its citizens its time we pay back these organizations in kind

      the govt is regulating and criminalizing things they have no right. they delve in to millions of lives in the fact that those in govt believe that gays shouldnt get married, this is the same with cannabis regulation, who are they to say what people do with their personal lives, and the choices they make especially when it holds no consequences to anyone.

      the govt has no right to regulate the free will of the people

    4. CJ says:

      So.. this article is very sketchy and i wondering if someone could explain whether it does or doesn’t cause Schizophrenia ?

    5. Gavin says:

      Has anyone thought that maybe the reason that marijuana would be associated with schizophrenia is because some schizophrenics were smoking in order to get some relief from their symptoms? Some may have misunderstood the relationship there, and assumed that the marijuana was making the people schizophrenic. There must be some unbiased clinical trial somewhere, with certified non-schizophrenics smoking out and seeing if they develop the psychosis. Now to be perfectly fair, most crime is committed by “sane” people, so if this is a tactic to scare us away from legalization, “Don’t legalize or the crazies will get you,” it can be safely ignored.

    6. Matty says:

      What truly surprises me is this: Unless a person is a proactive supporter of cannabis, they don’t ask questions. They take people’s words for it. There are a series of questions which always need to be asked. Among that list: What prior, non-marijuana-related tendencies or underlying issues might these particular people have had prior to being diagnosed with schizophrenia? Describe in specific detail what, at minimum, entails schizophrenia and what those so diagnosed exhibited relative to schizophrenia symptoms. Was the study highly controlled? What was the prior mindset and setting of the schizophrenics before they were ill? Were the people studied carefully chosen (which can be done to alter results) or picked at random? Is there truly a causal link with cannabis? (Apparently not) Is cannabis attributable on any level to schizophrenia or is it possible that these were (again) carefully chosen people or just a lucky batch of schizophrenics (Unlucky for them, really) who happened to have at one point consumed cannabis? In either case, is it not possible for such a ‘link’ to be chance? The list goes on. Also, the percentages are weird. If schizophrenia is likely to increase 40%, is that only while high (altered states of mind, no matter how healthy, will not fit into what is psychologically [and arbitrarily] known as sane) or is that permanent? Also (And this is where it comes apart and shows it for the confusing mess it is to begin with), just what the hell were my imaginary chances of succumbing to schizophrenia before consumption. Clearly, there’s and ‘after’ percentage so there must be a ‘before’ percentage. One person could already have a 80% chance of developing schizophrenia prior to consuming cannabis. Whatever imaginary number one applies to percentage increase, post-consumption, that 80%-er is going to wind up in a mental institution somewhere down the line.

    7. asdf says:

      see also:

      Thomas Szasz

      R.D. Laing

      The Myth of Mental Illness

      Psychiatry: The Science of Lies

      enjoy. :)

    8. mediahype says:

      weed will only enhance these existing problem in some people and make them aware of these preexisting mental scars most of these study s were done with opinions from drug users that used multiple drugs and medications through out life i will name at-least 10 mental medications that caused me and will cause permanent
      mental issues like schizophrenia one of my all time worse drugs ever made seroquel will leave a good engraving in your cardio and brain system neutontin will cause u tripple the nerve damage than smoking crack 5 years effexor will give some one permanent schizophrenia and long term sleep disorders permanate nerve damage as well as anixiaty disorders
      the list goes on fromn zyprexa zoloft riddlin jeeze u give your kid riddling you might as well teash em how to make crack im sick of the medication company’s lying to people but i do know that earned their spot in hell already its murder so is the marijuana law its murdered millions of people time n time again the law the road block to a persons future destroyed over a few hundred dollars and medical companies make that off some one single persons days fix of man made garbage that is only guarnteed to have them come back to the dr in the future for a different medicine needed to fix the problems left from the first one first medicine

      picture that your kids taking these antidepressants and it will develop into
      a bigger dose then a bigger dose then an additional prescription try 200 to 2000 a month to be normal the us government can fuck off for letting this go on so long thats why the usa is broke

    9. Anonymous says:

      “We continue to take the view that the evidence that cannabis use causes schizophrenia is neither very new, nor by normal criteria, particularly compelling.” No their not trying to make people hysterical. Trying to mess with minds before they make the choice for themselves. Thanks to Reefer Madness and die hard prohibs, theirs no wonder why this would be said. 1% of the worlds entire population is believed to have some form of schizophrenia. 1%. All of a sudden their are more cases? I’m sure that only cannabis consumption causes a heightened chance of developing schizophrenia in later years. BS! So many determining factors play into the development of schizophrenia.
      “We conclude that the strongest evidence of a possible causal relation between cannabis use and schizophrenia emerged more than 20 years ago and that the strength of more recent evidence may have been overstated.” Gee, ya think? Casual relation/overstated? I guess that works in order to keep the people in check for a while. Casual relation is the term for we don’t quite know if their is or isn’t a direct correlation.
      “In 2007, an analysis in the British medical journal The Lancet estimated that experimenting with marijuana could increase one’s risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life by some 40 percent. Following this report, Parliament in 2008 voted to reclassify marijuana as a Class B substance, making its possession punishable by up to five years in prison.” Can anyone tell me how this helps those who are supposedly suffering from cannabis? I want to know exactly how they performed the experiment. I was unaware that they conducted such experiments in the UK considering it is illegal and frowned upon there as well. Think about it. 70 years now all of a sudden we’re hearing all this BS about cannabis. 70 years! Cannabis is bad? That might have worked for this long but it’s not good enough anymore. That’s cause they know it’s going to take more initiative/pressure on their part to keep cannabis where it is at currently.
      “Overall, investigators determined that marijuana’s most significant health risk was its association and reinforcement with tobacco smoking.” Keyword smoking. Tobacco is legal and it kills far more people than cannabis ever will. I’m not that surprised and it’s always a real treat when I see more of these findings and to think that they don’t find anything wrong with drugs that are legal and far more toxic. Leaves one to think who do these people work for and why they don’t care about the truth? All I want is the truth.

    10. Stu says:

      it’s a shame that factual information doesn’t spread as easily as bunk science or government propaganda.

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