The Mental Health Council of Australia has recently released a report titled Where There’s Smoke – Cannabis and Mental Health. The report examines the growing body of evidence on the relationship between mental illness and cannabis. It confirms what our observations have told us over the last 30 years or so and that is that smoking Marijuana sends you mad.
Strong associations were increasingly found between cannabis usage and mental illness and whilst stopping short of proving the causal link the evidence increasingly suggests that increasing usage particularly by those who begin at a young age increases the risk of mental illness.
The report says that:
There is evidence of a genetic vulnerability to psychosis being, in effect, triggered by cannabis use.
Nonetheless, the social context in which cannabis use occurs clearly contributes to the strong association between cannabis use and mental illness.
The evidence shows that if you have a genetic predisposition to some mental illness then you are much more likely to suffer mental illness if you use cannabis.
In short, the evidence shows that:
• Cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia in people who have a family history of that mental illness.
• There is a 2-3 times greater incidence of psychotic symptoms among those who used cannabis, however, the epidemiological data shows that cannabis cannot be considered a major causal factor
• More frequent cannabis use is associated with higher relapse rates for people with psychosis and more severe symptoms were associated with increased risk of cannabis relapse.
• Cannabis can induce schizophrenia-like symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals
• There is little evidence to support the idea that people commence using cannabis because of pre-existing illness, however it may be a factor in continuing to use cannabis (to alleviate the symptoms)
• There is no clear causal link between cannabis and depression, however there
appears to be a link
between early and regular cannabis use and later depression
• The link between suicide and cannabis use remains to be clarified
• There has been too little research into the links between cannabis and other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and personality disorders to draw conclusions
• There is no doubt that heavy cannabis users suffer significant cognitive
impairment for up to
a week after cessation of use but there does not appear to be either lasting or irreversible cognitive impairment.
There is no such thing as safe usage. If you use it then you are affected up to a week after you stop even if you do not suffer long-term impairment. However, you are 2-3 times more likely to suffer long-term psychosis if you use it anyway.
So we now know what we have observed for years. People who smoke marijuana go mad and family genetic predispositions increase the risk exponentially.
No one knows yet what the exact position is on bipolar, anxiety disorders and other anti-social personality disorders but the evidence is growing that usage increases likelihood of disorders and whilst a link to immediate depression is not clear-cut there is a link between usage and later depression. Adolescents who smoke are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than non-users.
“Heavy users are likely to be operating at a decreased level of cognitive function that would contribute to a range of poor outcomes, such as unemployment, education failure and relationship breakdown.”
The genetic damage to the unborn has yet to be quantified but, as with alcohol and tobacco, the link can be taken as most probable and we have to assume that a lot of post-natal problems in infants are the product of cannabis usage, such as for example ADD, ADHD and schizoid psychosis.
Don’t play Russian roulette with your children and your future. Don’t smoke
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