Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Smoking strong pot daily raises psychosis risk, study finds

Smoking strong pot daily raises psychosis risk, study finds

However, she noted that not all daily users of high-potency cannabis develop a psychotic disorder, meaning it is important to work out who is most vulnerable, and that other factors are also at play.

In the new study, the researchers found that about 30 percent of patients with psychosis reported daily marijuana use, compared with just 7 percent of controls (people without psychosis); and 37 percent of patients reported high-potency marijuana use, compared with 19 percent of controls.

With piecemeal legalisation and decriminalisation, consumption in North America and Europe has increased markedly over the last two decades, even as levels of the drug's mind-bending molecule, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have risen four- or five-fold.

For the new study, researchers collected data on about 900 patients diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis at 11 hospitals in Europe between May 2010 and April 2015.

The new study "raises real concerns about the dangers posed by high-potency marijuana", said Emily Feinstein, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Center on Addiction.

"We are talking about people who meet diagnostic criteria [and] come to the attention of mental health services to receive treatment for psychosis", lead study author Dr. Marta Di Forti tells CNN.

In Amsterdam, the incidence of first-time psychosis would likely drop from 38 to 19 per 100,000 people per year, while in London, the number of cases would decline from 46 to 32 per 100,000 people.

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The study found that those who used pot daily were three times more likely to have a psychotic episode compared with someone who never used the drug, writes NPR, one of dozens of media outlets to report on the study. They found 901 cases.

"Our findings also indicate for the first time how cannabis use affects the incidence of psychotic disorder at a population level".

Experts have previously flagged a link between cannabis use and psychosis, particularly among vulnerable people with heavy use of the drug.

Scientists gathered a detailed history of the participants' lifetime marijuana use, along with other recreational drugs, including whether or not they had ever used, current habits, and, the age of first use, among others.

A new study published Tuesday in the Lancet Psychiatry journal shows people who use cannabis every day or those who use high-potency weed are at increased risk of psychotic disorder.

Strong marijuana is commonly known as "skunk weed".

However, the registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Adrian James, said the findings were to be "taken seriously", and that his institution "is reviewing the mental health effect of cannabis use".

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