Marijuana Use Leads to Earlier Psychosis, Bipolar Disorder
Individuals who use marijuana may develop psychosis nearly 3 years earlier than people who do not indulge in cannabis use, according to a new study to appear in the June print issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Another new study notes that regular marijuana use may also trigger bipolar disorder in vulnerable individuals.
Marijuana use linked to earlier mental health problems
The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that in 2008, a total of 25.8 million Americans age 12 and older had abuse marijuana at least once in the year before they were surveyed. According to the new study in Archives of General Psychiatry, more than 16 million Americans use marijuana regularly, and for some users this could have an effect on psychotic illness.
In fact, authors of the new study note “there is little doubt about the existence of an association between substance use and psychotic illness,” and that investigations have shown “more substance use, especially cannabis use, among people with a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder.”
Psychotic disorders are severe mental conditions that cause abnormal perceptions and thinking and are characterized by hallucinations and delusions. Types of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and delusions disorder.
Matthew Large, B.Sc (Med), MBBS, FRANZCP, of Prince of Wales Hospital, New South Wales, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis that included 83 studies and 8,167 patients who had used marijuana or other substances, and 14,352 individuals who had not used these drugs.
When the researchers compared the age of onset of psychosis between the two groups, they found that people who used marijuana developed psychosis about 2.7 years younger than people who did not use cannabis. The use of any type of substance was associated with the development of psychosis about two years younger.
This study did not identify or explain the relationship between marijuana use and schizophrenia. The authors did note that their findings support the view that use of marijuana precipitates psychotic disorders, and that “reducing cannabis use could delay or even prevent some cases of psychosis.”