Since the early days of cannabis reform, anti-cannabis proponents have argued that marijuana use can lead to psychosis. This popular talking point has been used to paint the drug as an evil substance capable of wreaking havoc on young minds with its supposed mental health risks – particularly for those prone to psychiatric disorders. So, when a study showed no evidence of increased risk associated with cannabis use in young adults, its a breakthrough for the cause of cannabis normalization.
The study, which appeared in the journal Psychiatry Research, followed a cohort of adolescents to assess the relationship between cannabis use and health outcomes. The results were clear: those who consumed cannabis showed no greater risk of developing psychosis than non-users.
In fact, the study concluded that “In summary, continuous cannabis use over 2 years of follow-up was not associated with an increased psychosis transition rate, and did not worsen clinical symptoms, functioning levels, or overall neurocognition. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that continuously using cannabis maybe associated with slightly elevated, albeit non-significant, attenuated positive symptom levels relative to non-users.”
Popular Talking Points for Cannabis Prohibitionists
The fear of cannabis-induced psychosis has been used as a significant talking point for decades by those opposed to legalizing cannabis. They often cite anecdotal evidence and personal stories to prove that marijuana leads to mental health issues, particularly in young adults. This notion has been so pervasive in popular culture that it’s become difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Furthermore, anti-cannabis advocates have often used the idea of cannabis-induced psychosis to demonize the plant and its users by claiming that it is a “gateway drug” to more serious mental health problems. This has created an atmosphere of fear and mistrust among many opposed to cannabis reform.
On the other hand, proponents of cannabis legalization often point to the lack of scientific evidence to back up these claims and refute the idea that marijuana use leads to psychosis. In contrast, a Spanish study claims an increased risk of the development of a mental health disorder among youth admitted to treatment for cannabis use disorder. While it is true that there is no definitive consensus on this issue, recent studies have provided new insight into the debate.
Recent Studies Refute Psychosis Claims
The study in Psychiatry Research mentioned earlier represents a significant victory for marijuana legalization proponents, as it is one of the first studies to refute the popular talking point that cannabis use leads to psychosis in young adults. The study followed a cohort of adolescents over two years and found no significant association between the use of cannabis and an increased risk of developing psychosis.
Moreover, another study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences came to similar conclusions. That study also failed to identify cannabis use as a risk factor for psychosis in clinically at-risk subjects. The study’s authors concluded: “Our primary hypothesis was that cannabis use in CHR [clinically high risk] subjects would be associated with an increased rate of later transition to psychosis. However, there was no significant association with any measure of cannabis use.”
Study Shows Cannabis Use Decreases Use of Pharmaceuticals
The recent study in Psychiatry Research was not only able to refute the notion that cannabis use leads to an increased risk of psychosis, but it also uncovered some additional exciting findings. The study found that participants who used cannabis had modest improvements in cognitive functioning (such as memory and attention) over the two years of the study.
Moreover, the study also found that cannabis use was associated with reduced use of other medications, including antipsychotics and antidepressants. This suggests that not only may cannabis not be linked to psychotic disorders in young adults, but it may also provide a beneficial alternative to prescribed medications for those suffering from mental health issues.
This study’s findings are groundbreaking and could have far-reaching implications for the debate surrounding cannabis legalization. As more research is conducted to explore the potential benefits of marijuana use, it seems increasingly likely that this medicinal plant could become an accepted form of medicine in many countries around the world.
Ultimately, these findings suggest that more research should be conducted to explore further the potential risks and benefits associated with cannabis use. While these studies provide an invaluable starting point, much more work needs to be done to gain a better understanding of the potential effects of marijuana use on mental health. In the meantime, this new evidence will no doubt add fuel to the fire for those advocating for cannabis legalization in countries around the world.
Cannabis as an Alternative Treatment for Mental Health Issues
These studies provide compelling evidence that cannabis use may not pose the significant health risks for young people that cannabis prohibitionists claim they do. On top of this, a growing body of research suggests that marijuana could be an effective alternative treatment option for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
For example, one study found that medical marijuana was associated with a significantly lower risk of suicidal ideation in adolescents with mental health disorders. Another study found that medical marijuana was associated with decreased symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD in those suffering from the conditions.
These findings support the idea that cannabis could be an effective treatment option for specific mental health issues, particularly in young adults. While more research is needed to understand better the potential risks and benefits associated with cannabis use, the evidence to date suggests that marijuana could be an effective alternative treatment option for young people struggling with mental health issues.