Adverse Consequences of Marijuana Use Are The Link to Psychiatric Disorders, Particularly The Increased Risk of Schizophrenia. [Multiple References]

Acute (present during intoxication)
  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Impaired attention, judgment, and other cognitive functions
  • Impaired coordination and balance
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety, paranoia
  • (etiology, cause) Psychosis (uncommon)
Persistent (lasting longer than intoxication, but may not be permanent)
  • Impaired learning and coordination
  • Sleep problems
Long-term (cumulative effects of repeated use)
  • Potential for marijuana addiction
  • Impairments in learning and memory with potential loss of IQ*
  • Increased risk of chronic cough, bronchitis
  • Increased risk of other drug and alcohol use disorders
  • Increased risk (etiology, cause) of schizophrenia in people with genetic vulnerability**
  • “Recent research (see “AKT1 Gene Variations and Psychosis“) has found that people who use marijuana and carry a specific variant of the AKT1 gene, which codes for an enzyme that affects dopamine signaling in the striatum, are at increased risk of developing
    (etiology, cause) psychosis. The striatum is an area of the brain that becomes activated and flooded with dopamine when certain stimuli are present. One study found that the risk of (etiology, cause) psychosis among those with this variant was seven times higher for those who used marijuana daily compared with those who used it infrequently or used none at all.64

“Another study found an increased risk (etiology, cause) of psychosis among adults who had used marijuana in adolescence and also carried a specific variant of the gene for catechol-O-methyltransferase(COMT), an enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine65 (see “Genetic Variations in COMT Influences the Harmful Effects of Abused Drugs“).

“Marijuana use has also been shown to worsen the course of illness in patients who already have schizophrenia (exacerbation, relapse). As mentioned previously, marijuana can produce an acute (etiology, cause) psychotic reaction (etiology, cause) in non-schizophrenic people who use marijuana, especially at high doses, although this fades as the drug wears off.

“Inconsistent and modest associations have been reported between marijuana use and suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide among teens.66,67 Marijuana has also been associated with an amotivational syndrome, defined as a diminished or absent drive to engage in typically rewarding activities. Because of the role of the endocannabinoid system in regulating mood and reward, it has been hypothesized that brain changes resulting from early use of marijuana may underlie these associations, but more research is needed to verify that such links exist and better understand them.

*Loss of IQ among individuals with persistent marijuana use disorder who began using heavily during adolescence **These are often reported co-occurring symptoms/disorders with chronic marijuana use. However, research has not yet determined whether marijuana is causal or just associated with these mental problems.[Link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders. Marijuana, 2019 National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5213 Bethesda, MD 20892-9561, National Institute of Health, Dept Health and Human Services]

“As a tide of marijuana legalization sweeps across the United States, there is a surprising lack of analysis as to whether the benefits of recreational marijuana outweigh the risks.

  • “Notably, marijuana edibles present special risks to the population, including children, that are not present in smoked marijuana.
  • “States that have legalized recreational marijuana are seeing an increase in edible-related calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms.
  • “These negative reactions are especially prevalent in vulnerable populations such as children, persons with underlying preexisting conditions, and out-of-state marijuana novices.
  • “Unfortunately, research on edible marijuana is scant and state regulatory regimes are not adequately accounting for the special risks that edibles pose. Edibles are metabolized differently than smoked marijuana, resulting in late-onset, longer-lasting, and unpredictable intoxication.
  • “Novices are particularly vulnerable because of inaccurate dosing and delayed highs.
  • “Children are also at risk because edibles are often packaged as chocolate and other forms of candy to which unsuspecting kids are attracted.
  • “To minimize these risks and maximize the social utility received from marijuana edibles, further study of their effects is required and tighter regulations are necessary.
  • “Conducting research studies and enforcing new regulations takes time, and in the interim a state-implemented ban on marijuana edibles may be necessary to halt the increase of edible-related harms and hospitalizations. [‘High’ Standards: The Wave of Marijuana Legalization Sweeping America Conveniently Ignores the Hidden Risks  by Calandrillo, Steve and Fulton, Katelyn J., (April 16, 2018). Ohio State Law Journal, Forthcoming; University of Washington School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-07. Available at SSRN:

 “Epidemiologic studies provide strong enough evidence to warrant a public health message that cannabis use can increase the risk of (etiology, cause) psychotic disorders”. Will the mental health and addiction services be able to cope? It is important that researchers take the opportunity to monitor changes in the legal status of cannabis use and their effects on mental health. [Traditional marijuana, high-potency cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids: increasing risk for (etiology, cause) Murray RM, Quigley H, Quattrone D, Englund A, Di Forti M. World Psychiatry. 2016;15(3):195-204.

Psychiatric effects of cannabis Results and conclusions; “An appreciable proportion of cannabis users report short-lived adverse effects, including
(etiology, cause) psychotic states following heavy consumption, and regular users are at risk of dependence. People with major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia are especially vulnerable in that cannabis generally provokes schizophrenia relapse (exacerbation) and aggravates existing symptoms. Health workers need to recognise, and respond to, the adverse effects of cannabis on mental health. [Psychiatric effects of cannabis, Andrew Johns (a1) British Journal of Psychiatry. Volume 178, Issue 2 February 2001 , pp. 116-122 online: 02 January 2018]

Colorado Research “results indicate that Crime Increases in All Categories in Colorado, with an especially significant increase in Property Crime Committed by Adults. [The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Crime in Colorado by Furton, Glenn, High Crimes? (October 23, 2018). Available at SSRN : Social Science Research Network (“SSRN”), ELSEVIER]

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