Marijuana Use at Young Age Linked to Psychotic Disorders

Filed under: In The News, Teen Culture, Research Reveals: Teens, Health

marijuana

Study finds that marijuana use will dramatically increase the chance of psychotic disorders later in life. Credit: Jeff Chiu, AP

A new study has found that the use of marijuana at a young age will dramatically increase the chance of psychotic disorders later in life, Reuters reports.

Continued use of marijuana doubles the risk of psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions, researchers said.

"This study adds a further brick to the wall of evidence showing that use of traditional cannabis is a contributory cause of psychoses like schizophrenia," said Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, who was not involved in the research.

The findings may have a dramatic effect on the ongoing pursuit for legalization of marijuana both for medical and recreational use in various states.

Authorities should take "a cautious and thoughtful approach to cannabis legislation," said Peter Kinderman, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool.

"It's important to remember that psychosis is a very complex bio-psycho-social phenomenon ... but this important paper certainly reminds us that there's a strong link to the use of cannabis," he said.

In previous studies, a causation between marijuana and psychosis could not be established, as it was difficult to establish which came first -- marijuana use or mental illness. Over the course of this most recent study, however, researchers say they were able to show that marijuana use did precede the incidence of psychotic disorders in users. The study lasted for 10 years and looked at 1,923 adolescents and young adults aged 14 to 24 years old.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

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