Is there a Relationship Between Schizophrenia and Cannabis Use?
Previous studies have shown a connection between cannabis use and schizophrenia and psychosis. A new study suggests that the relationship is more complex than simple cause-and-effect. The new study, led by King’s College London, was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
An important result of the new study is that the same genes that increase the risk of schizophrenia may also increase the likelihood of using cannabis.
Click here to read the full article by Traci Pederson, writing in Psych Central.
The New Meaning of Marijuana
The New Directions Program has an excellent series on The New Meaning of Marijuana.
What exactly are we talking about when we use the word, “marijuana”?
…When found in nature, the THC levels in marijuana are between 1% and 3%.
Over the past thirty years, the concentration of THC in marijuana has increased from a natural level of 1% to 3% to a genetically modified 20% to 30%. In addition, there are new substances derived from marijuana, known colloquially as “dabs” or “wax” or “budder”, that can contain THC in concentrations exceeding 85%: this is a roughly 4,000% increase in potency.
…At higher levels of THC concentration, the effects of marijuana use are prolonged and more pronounced. Highs can last for eight to twelve hours, and acute intoxication can result in seizure-like symptoms and increase the risk of drug-induced psychosis (Di Forti, et al, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2009). This is not the marijuana of 5th century China; this is not the marijuana of the Hashshashin (assassins) of ancient Persia; this is not the marijuana of 1969. This is the bigger, faster, more, more, more marijuana of 2014, and it’s time we knew it.
…What’s even more concerning, now in 2019, many states are legalizing Marijuana. This is happening during a time when we know very little about the short or long term effects Marijuana on our mental or physical health.
Click here to read The New Meaning of Marijuana – Part 1.
Some emotions come as consequences of actions we engage in; some come from our failure to engage. If the consequence is sufficiently negative, we may be compelled to alter our behavior so as to avoid future similar consequences. Conversely, we are hardwired to associate pleasurable feelings with actions that are necessary to our survival: eating salty or sugary foods, sleeping, or having sex. So, what if we never feel the emotional consequence of an improper action? What motivation is there to change our behavior? If an adolescent feels anxiety from being unprepared for an exam, or feels guilty for having lied to a parent or friend, he may choose to study more next time or to tell the truth. For some people, marijuana has a strong ability to ease their anxiety; for others it can also be effective at “numbing” negative feelings such as guilt or regret. If I don’t experience the negative consequences of my actions, what’s to stop me from repeating past mistakes? Why study when I can get high, forget about the test altogether, and have fun doing it?
Click here to read The New Meaning of Marijuana – Part 2.
Out of the shadows
…when a client says marijuana is not as bad as heroin, what they generally mean is that a problem with marijuana is not as bad as a problem with heroin. This is based not only on the individual’s perception of the two drugs (and possible experience) but also on his or her understanding of the differences in society’s perception of marijuana and heroin.
Click here to read The New Meaning of Marijuana – Part 3.
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Eric Buck MA MFT CAMF is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist providing a wide range of psychotherapy and consultation services.
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