Pot And Psychosis: Does Link Go Both Ways In Teens?
Pot and psychosis may be linked even more than scientists originally thought.
According to Reuters, psychosis in teenagers could lead to pot use later in life. Researchers collected information on 2,120 Dutch teenagers and their pot use at ages 14, 16, and 19. At the same time, these teens took tests that measured their level of psychosis.
The pot and psychosis study found that around 44 percent of the surveyed teens admitted to using pot at some point in their lives. Those who did were more likely to develop psychosis several years later. Meanwhile, those who had psychosis symptoms in their early or mid-teens were more likely to start using pot years down the line.
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"We have focused mainly on temporal order; is it the chicken or the egg? As the study shows, it is a bidirectional relationship," the study's lead author Merel Griffith-Lendering, told Reuters.
Indeed, the link between pot and psychosis is nothing new. According to CNN, an Australian study in 2011 discovered that marijuana use could cause psychotic symptoms to develop sooner than they would in people who do not smoke pot.
CBS News reports that this study particularly showed a link between pot and psychosis in young teenagers. Teens ages 12 to 15 who smoked pot often developed psychosis or mental illnesses that otherwise would not have shown up until years later.
"Even if the onset of psychosis were inevitable (for a particular individual), an extra two or three years of psychosis-free functioning could allow many patients to achieve the important developmental milestones," study author Dr. Matthew Large wrote.
Meanwhile, a different study earlier this year looked at the impact pot smoking would have on 15 healthy men. According to TIME, researchers concluded that exposure to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the active ingredients in pot, increased paranoia and hallucinations, two of the signs of schizophrenia or others forms of psychosis. Contrastly, exposure to another key ingredient in pot, cannabidiol (CBD), may actually psychosis symptoms in healthy males.
Despite these studies, the Dutch researchers cautions that there is no proof that pot causes psychosis or that psychosis causes pot use. In fact, another scientist, Dr. Marta Di Forti, who was not involved in the study, believes marijuana use is simply a risk factor for psychosis.
"We can say for some people that cannabis comes first and psychosis comes second, but for some people they have some (undiagnosed) psychosis (and) perhaps cannabis makes them feel better," Di Forti told Reuters.
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