A team of researchers from several institutions has discovered that cannabis may improve symptoms in teenagers and young adults at risk of developing psychosis. The study contradicts claims that marijuana use can trigger the early onset of psychotic disorder symptoms and shows that cannabis may actually deliver modest cognitive functioning improvements while reducing the use of prescribed medications.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Zucker Hillside Hospital, University of California at Davis and the University of Michigan published their findings in the “Psychiatry Research” journal. The study noted that the recent surge in recreational cannabis use has raised questions regarding the possibility of adult use being a trigger for the onset of psychosis.
However, the study authors note that there is little evidence tying cannabis use and negative health outcomes for people who are predisposed to developing psychosis.
The research team followed 210 patients with a clinical high risk (CHR) of psychosis who took part in an Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP) for two years. Over the study period, the researchers compared prescription medication use with mental health in people who consumed cannabis regularly and people who didn’t consume cannabis.
Individuals who consumed cannabis continually over the two-year study period did not exhibit an increased psychosis transition rate, study authors say, and cannabis use did not contribute to a decline in clinical symptoms, neurocognition or functioning levels. On the contrary, youth who used cannabis continuously exhibited improved clinical symptoms even as their medication use decreased.
Furthermore, the scientists found that CHR youth who used cannabis regularly over the study period had higher social functioning and neurocognition compared to noncannabis users. The recent study adds to the growing body of scientific literature on cannabis and its potential association with psychosis.
Cannabis legalization opponents have long claimed that cannabis use can trigger schizophrenia, especially now that the market is flooded with increasingly potent THC-infused products. Some medical professionals have also stated that continued exposure to high-THC cannabis may cause psychosis-like symptoms in some consumers.
Studies have found that cannabis-induced psychosis is quite rare, with a Canadian study that analyzed 23,000 consumers finding that only 26 individuals required hospitalization for psychotic-like symptoms. Data from Canada also shows that although the country legalized adult-use cannabis in 2018, there has been no significant increase in the number of emergency room visits due to cannabis-induced schizophrenia or psychosis.
Additionally, a European study published in the “Translation Psychiatry” journal found that less than one-half of 1% of 230,000 consumers experienced psychosis-like symptoms after consuming cannabis.
As the different misconceptions about marijuana are dispelled one at a time, demand for the substance is likely to increase and enterprises such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX), which capitalize on availing some of the products that marijuana cultivators need, could grow their businesses.
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