Psychosis Caused By Smoking Weed: Does Cannabis Make You Crazy?

Opinions are divided on the health consequences of smoking weed. While some like to draw the comparison to alcohol consumption and even desc...

Opinions are divided on the health consequences of smoking weed. While some like to draw the comparison to alcohol consumption and even describe cannabis as the healthier alternative, others see it as a dangerously addictive substance. In addition to other harmful effects, cannabis is said to cause psychosis. But what is the truth of this claim and what is known about the connection between smoking weed and psychoses so far? And what exactly are psychoses?

Psychoses - a brief definition

Psychosis, by definition, is difficult to grasp. It is a collective term from psychology that describes a whole range of mental abnormalities and illnesses, including loss of reality, hallucinations, ego disorders, and delusions. The consequences of these symptoms are devastating. For example, people with psychoses are more likely to be unemployed and homeless, have a shorter life expectancy, and commit significantly more crimes and suicides. In addition, the duration of psychosis varies greatly. While some sufferers only suffer from the symptoms for a few days, psychosis can also be irreversible, i.e. no longer treatable. In this case, those affected need lifelong treatment and care.

In addition to functional triggers, organic causes such as autoimmune diseases, brain injuries or infections are considered triggers. And this is where cannabis use comes in. Would you increase your risk of developing psychosis with regular smoking?

Smoking weed as a trigger for psychosis?

First of all: The consumption of cannabis in isolation can hardly trigger a psychosis. Unfortunately, the all-clear cannot be given. The effects of cannabis have been intensively studied over the past few decades, and some breakthroughs have also been made in recent years. Overall, it can be stated that the consumption of cannabis increases the risk of developing psychosis by a factor of about 1.5 to 3.5. In addition, people who consume cannabis fall ill about two years earlier. Furthermore, it is to be feared that even a single consumption of cannabis can trigger psychosis. For example, if you already have pre-existing medical conditions or a genetic disposition (without knowing it), just one joint could trigger the psychosis that might otherwise have occurred years later or never.

But now something more precise. The risk of psychosis seems, not surprisingly, to depend on how often people smoke weed. In the case of occasional smokers, the researchers are not entirely sure whether psychoses are becoming more likely at all. While some studies have not been able to show a correlation, i.e. no connection, other research suggests that recreational stoners suffer from a double risk of psychosis. On the other hand, if you smoke weed regularly and for a long time, your risk of developing the disease increases by up to 3.5 times.

In addition to the duration and frequency of cannabis consumption, the THC content also seems to play a role. THC, i.e. delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. It is now accepted that a high THC content, in particular, increases the risk. Many researchers name content of more than 10% as a critical mark.

Cannabis and psychosis - a growing problem

The proven link between smoking weed and the development of psychosis is concerning for two reasons. On the one hand, cannabis is on the verge of legalization in many countries, including Europe and parts of the USA. It is, therefore, to be expected that more people will discover smoking weed as a new alternative intoxicant. So it will only be a matter of time before more people develop psychoses that might otherwise have occurred much later or not at all.

In addition, there are also developments within the industry that, against the background of current knowledge, make you think. Thanks to the latest breeds, the THC content is constantly increasing. While cannabis rarely broke the 3% mark a few decades ago, today's products often exceed 15%. In this context, it is also interesting that hashish usually contains higher levels than marijuana. But while the THC content continues to rise, consumer behavior does not change. This in turn leads to the problems mentioned due to the increased THC intake.

Regions and cities where smoking weed is widespread and sometimes legal are of particular interest to science. For example, researchers focused on the development in Amsterdam. In their model calculations, they were able to prove that a reduction in psychoses of up to 50% could be expected if all consumers only consumed "weak" cannabis with a low THC content.

Cannabis – a stimulant with residual risk

So what's left to hold onto? First of all, every user should be aware of the risk. If symptoms occur after consumption, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible and further consumption should be avoided. The doctor can then assess whether psychosis is really present and whether medication should be used. On the other hand, people who already suffer from mental illnesses should ideally refrain from consuming cannabis altogether.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen how the EU and its individual states will proceed with the legalization of cannabis. Consumers who then or already regularly consume cannabis should be aware of the risk factors and avoid highly potent cannabis if possible.

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Rex Mars: Psychosis Caused By Smoking Weed: Does Cannabis Make You Crazy?
Psychosis Caused By Smoking Weed: Does Cannabis Make You Crazy?
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