Panic! Smoking pot makes you psychotic!!!!

i-24fc844be43386e723e46de57f901870-bob_dob_pot_head_1.jpgStop smoking pot immediately! You WILL go CRAZY!!! Panic!

The study by Zammit and colleagues, published in the medical journal the Lancet, reanalyzed data from seven long-term studies on psychotic illnesses and marijuana involving 61,000 participants.

The researchers filtered out about 60 factors, such as preexisting mental illness and the use of other illicit drugs, and considered IQ and social class, to try to isolate the effect of marijuana, Zammit said.

Most of the studies that were analyzed indicated a range of increased risk for frequent users from 50% to 200%, with the average being about 100%, or double the risk, Zammit said.

The researchers also studied the relationship between marijuana use and mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder. They analyzed 22 studies involving 52,000 participants.

The researchers found that any marijuana use increased the lifetime risk for mood disorders by about 40%, and weekly or daily use increased the risk by about 50%.

Ok.. maybe it's not time to panic yet but you probably shouldn't be doing all of those wake and bakes every morning ;) According to Dr. Victor Reus, another Psychiatrist not connected with the study,

he was unconvinced by Zammit's conclusions for both psychotic and mood disorders.

Too many outside factors contribute to the disorders, and the studies Zammit used were too vague to draw hard conclusions, he said.

"There's a limit to what you can do with the data that's in these studies," he said.

Wow... those are some pretty damning remarks! I really do wish newspaper articles were a bit more specific than this.


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That study's published in The Lancet. The podcast includes an interview with Zammit.

I think pot could cause mental illness if one was already predisposed to it.

Is there any way that such studies could rule out the possibility that people who are predisposed to schizophrenia are more likely to smoke a lot of pot? Is there any way that such studies could rule out the possibility that some predisposed individuals have actually *avoided* schizophrenia by smoking a lot of pot?


By PhysioProf (not verified) on 27 Jul 2007 #permalink

Compare the supposed damage from cannabis, to the actual damage from alcohol.

Alcohol remains by far the most acutely and chronically toxic and socially disruptive recreational drug humans take in any substantial quantity.

I am not suggesting cannabis is without significant risk for some people. But, for example, the most reliable data indicates only a 5% increased risk of schizophrenia, which is supposed to be one of the most serious risks, and even that is probably only in the predisposed. And even if heavy use doubles the relative risk of psychosis, what is the absolute baseline they are calculating from? My bet is that it is damn low. Furthermore, unlike alcohol induced psychosis, cannabis induced psyschosis is transient, stop using and it goes away. Not to mention that heavy use of almost any recreational intoxicant is potentially dangerous, one way or another. Etc, etc, etc.

Light-moderate cannabis use is not a risk for anything, except maybe unjust punitive legal trouble. There are many more far greater dangers in life, like nutcase moralising warmongering politicians.

(I am not a user, though I did inhale a few times many years ago at university, and enjoyed it.)

By Obdulantist (not verified) on 28 Jul 2007 #permalink

I think maybe Zammit's podcast could cause mental illnenss if one was already predisposed to it.

Having spent my high school years immersed in drug culture, I've seen plenty of folks fall into some sort of psychosis under the influence. Is it unreasonable to think that such experiences could have lasting, negative, switch-flipping impact for the % of folks who "can't handle it"?

On the other hand, it's easy to imagine this study being the justification for all sorts of government decrees and campaigns. Yecchhh.