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Marijuana linked to schizophrenia

Regular use of cannabis (also known as marijuana, grass or ganja) could increase the risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia.

Marijuana linked to schizophrenia

Regular use of cannabis (also known as marijuana, grass or ganja) could increase the risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, a mental state in which the perception of reality is distorted. Marijuana is a mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the hemp plant. People usually smoke it rolled as a cigarette or in a pipe. It is one of the most commonly used illegal substances in many countries. It is considered at par with alcohol or tobacco, but the results show that marijuana poses a danger many smokers underestimate. Previous studies have suggested a link between marijuana use and the risk of schizophrenia-like symptoms such as paranoia, hearing voices and seeing things that are not there. Researchers at Cardiff University and the University of Bristol reviewed 35 studies in search of a potential connection between psychotic illness and marijuana use instead of looking directly at people who used marijuana. They analysed evidence from studies ranging from one year to 27 years and only looked at research that did not include people already showing signs of psychotic illness. The researchers also adjusted for factors such as depression or a susceptibility to harder drugs that could one day lead to a mental disorder to focus more directly on the links between marijuana and psychosis. Results showed that marijuana users had a 41 per cent increased chance of developing psychosis marked by symptoms of hallucinations or delusions later in life than those who never used the drug. And the likelihood increases with increased marijuana use. Thus, a consistent association between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms, including disabling psychotic disorders, has been established. Ending cannabis consumption can prevent several cases of schizophrenia.
Reuters Health,
July 2007
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