Are Marijuana and Schizophrenia Linked?
Can Marijuana Use and Schizophrenia be Linked?
Just how likely are you to develop schizophrenia from smoking pot?
Scientists and research seem to disagree.
Let's take a look at where research comes to such a hypothesis and surmise our own views along the way.
Your Brain On Drugs: Marijuana
As you can see from the video marijuana contains cannabinoids that interact with our own naturally occurring cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids vs. THC
However, the cannabinoids our bodies create are molecularlly different then the ones we ingest while smoking "Mary Jane", "pot", "weed", "reefer", "dope", etc..
When the "fake" cannabis (pot) mixes with the endocannabinoids we naturally produce our natural cannabinoid receptors stop working the way they should.
Marijuana over activates the endocannabinoid system, causing the high feeling and "slow motion" feelings that users often experience.
When THC (from marijuana) and our natural cannabinoids mix our brains face issues associated with distorted perception, impaired coordination, difficulty thinking, difficulty with problem solving, disrupted learning, paranoia, anxiety, and problems with memory.
Among other symptoms, the symptoms described above; distorted perception, impaired coordination, anxiety, paranoia, difficulty thinking, difficulty with problem solving, disrupted learning, and memory issues, are often at the forefront of psychosis diagnosis.
Whether the psychosis is considered a temporary toxic psychosis or an indicator of impending mental illness scientists have yet to agree upon.
Cannabis and Schizophrenia
Genetically Predisposed to Schizophreania?
As human beings we are slightly altered blue prints of our families genetics both present and passed.
In essence making us genetically predisposed to whatever our biological parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. had or suffered from.
Mental illness is no different.
People are predisposed to mental illness the same way others are predisposed to near sightedness or high blood pressure.
Being genetically predisposed means your chances of inheriting the disease (in this case) schizophrenia are between 6.5% - 10%. If an immediate family member (mother, father, sister, brother, or identical twin) are diagnosed your chances of suffering from schizophrenia are greatly increased by up to 40%.
The rest of the population has less than a 1% chance of developing schizophrenia within their lifetime.
Brain Development, Marijuana Use, and Schizophrenia
Since your brain continues to grow and develop well into adulthood the time frame and frequency of marijuana use seems to be a big contributor to development of schizophrenia.
Since most individuals start to experiment with recreational drugs (in this case marijuana) in their early to late teens, it's no wonder that there maybe a correlation here.
From about 3 weeks gestation (often before one knows they are pregnant) all the way to someone's mid - late twenties our brains are still making necessary connections. Brain development does not cease until approximately 25 years old.
In fact during the brain development periods of life anything "out of the ordinary" can have an impact on one's mental well being. For instance, drug abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, or traumatic life events can also lead a person genetically predisposed to mental illness down the same or similar path.
How Much Pot is To Much Pot?
It seems that the question at hand is not a simple answer. But rather a detailed combination of many factors, such as:
- At what age one starts using marijuana in relation to his or her brain development?
- Is he or she genetically predisposed to mental illness?
- If so to what degree?
- What is the frequency of marijuana use?
Marujuana and Schizophrenia Statistics Compared (2011)
- 83 million people reported having "tried" marijuana at least once in their lives
- 25.8 million people reported having used marijuana within the last year
- of the 25.8 million 15.2 million people reported using marijuana within the last month
The rate at which schizophrenia has been diagnosed stays at around 1% of the population since the 1960's.
Where as marijuana use has steadily increased through the decades (1960's - 2011).
Marijuana and Schizophrenia Link?
Do you believe that marijuana use and schizophrenia are linked?
My Own Personal Take On a Marijuana and Schizophrenia Link
While I am by no means a Dr.; and while I try to remain unbiased as I deliver the facts I always find a need to add my own beliefs into the mix...
That said here goes...
Research, education information, tolerance, and 200+ more diagnosis in the DSM (from inception) makes a link to EVERYTHING clearer.
Since these "links" originally spawned from one scientists hypothesis surely there are many other links to mental illness left undiscovered. Hence the no known cures for many mental health disorders.....
I definitely believe there is a link between mental illness, drug abuse, and predisposition.
How deep do I believe that link is?
Not quite sure, I'm not sure if I believe that drug abuse spawns mental illness or if the mentally ill are just more likely to abuse drugs. I think both of those statements hold some merit.
BUT I also have to wonder if drug abuse was taken out of the equation would someone who was not diagnosed with mental illness NEVER develop a mental illness or a variation (at least a few symptoms?).
- personality disorders
Since mental illness diagnosies en companies a long list of symptoms
including but not limited to:
- sleep disorders
I also have to wonder have we all not suffered with a symptom of mental illness at one point or another in our lives (regardless of how brief)? If not necessarily ourselves; someone very close to us?
Is there a link?
Absolutely, somewhere, there IS a link.
Many links actually.
But it's a combination of MANY factors including the ones discovered and the ones yet discovered.