A large study of teens shows that "in adolescents, cannabis use is harmful" with respect to psychosis risk, says study author Patricia J. Conrod, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal.
Just last year, the Parents Opposed to Pot lobby group tried to sound the alarm on the link between marijuana and mass shootings, compiling a list of mass killers it claims were heavy users of marijuana from a young age, from Aurora, Colo., shooter James Holmes and Tucson, Ariz., shooter Jared Loughner to Chattanooga, Tenn., shooter Mohammad Abdulazeez.
Until we understand those links, it is nuts to enact lax laws that encourage more young people to use a drug proven to trigger mental illness.
We look back and laugh at Reefer Madness, which was pretty over-the-top, after all, but Berenson found himself immersed in some pretty sobering evidence: Cannabis has been associated with legitimate reports of psychotic behavior and violence dating at least to the 19th century, when a Punjabi lawyer in India noted that 20 to 30 percent of patients in mental hospitals were committed for cannabis-related insanity.
In 2016, 35-year-old comic book artist and screenwriter Blake Leibel scalped his girlfriend, stripping her skull to the bone, drained her body of blood, then hid out in their West Hollywood condo with her desiccated corpse for more than a week. Only after the girlfriend's mother tricked the police into knocking down the door did they discover the grisly scene.
With large studies in peer-reviewed journals showing that marijuana increases the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, the scientific literature around the drug is far more negative than it was 20 years ago.
Diego was a 20-year-old college junior who was brought to the emergency room by the police. They were called by his resident advisor for bizarre behavior in the dormitory. Diego was anxious, frequently glancing around the room, and talked in a disorganized manner about the Illuminati, Freemasons and the end of the world.
A urine drug screen was positive for cannabis. When asked later during the hospitalization, his resident advisor reported Diego smoked marijuana daily, and Diego admitted to being a daily marijuana smoker since arriving at college.
Young people with cannabis dependence have altered brain function that may be the source of emotional disturbances and increased psychosis risk that are associated with cannabis abuse, according to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. The alterations were most pronounced in people who started using cannabis at a young age. The findings reveal potential negative long-term effects of heavy cannabis use on brain function and behavior, which remain largely unknown despite the drug's wide use and efforts to legalize the substance.
I recently finished my residency in emergency medicine and began to practice in Pueblo, Colorado. I grew up there, and I was excited to return home. However, when I returned home, the Pueblo I once knew had drastically changed. Where there were once hardware stores, animal feed shops, and homes along dotted farms, I now found marijuana shops—and lots of them. As of January 2016, there were 424 retail marijuana stores in Colorado compared with 202 McDonald’s restaurants.1
These stores are not selling the marijuana I had seen in high school. Multiple different types of patients are coming into the emergency department with a variety of unexpected problems such as marijuana-induced psychosis, dependence, burn injuries, increased abuse of other drugs, increased homelessness and its associated problems, and self-medication with marijuana to treat their medical problems instead of seeking appropriate medical care.