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Can Marijuana Use Lead To Schizophrenia?

There is a peculiar relationship between marijuana use and schizophrenia; researchers are determined to discover why. Schizophrenia is a mental illness, which does not occur often, but impairs thought processes, decision-making, processing of emotions, and how one interacts with reality. In addition, one of the symptoms of schizophrenia is psychosis. The peculiar relationship previously mentioned is a high percentage of those with schizophrenia use marijuana. In some cases, marijuana can produce psychotic symptoms. 

Interestingly, the THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main ingredient in marijuana, may cause psychotic symptoms during the “high,” but the effect diminishes, and the high wears off. Studies show that young adults with schizophrenia use marijuana more than any other substance to relieve their symptoms, even more than alcohol. However, in other cases, cannabis use has worsened symptoms for hospitalized patients. Unfortunately, marijuana use and schizophrenia can have adverse effects. 

Can Marijuana Abuse Cause Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness with many factors to consider. In addition, genetics are partly responsible for schizophrenia, but viruses and prenatal circumstances like poor nutrition may be liable. However, brain chemistry is also a factor, but researchers have not pinpointed the exact situation. Researchers have discovered and continue to study marijuana use and schizophrenia and the relationship between specific genes, brain chemistry, and cannabis use. 

Specifically, the genes called AKT1 and COMT may be affective factors in cannabis users’ increased chance of developing schizophrenia. There is also a possibility that cannabis use can cause schizophrenia symptoms to begin earlier in life, with men being in their twenties and women late twenties. Symptoms may begin three years earlier than if cannabis was not involved. Teens taking cannabis use could develop schizophrenia earlier, maybe because their brain is still developing. 

More interesting is when CBD (cannabidiol) is in use, it seems to fight off symptoms of schizophrenia. In addition, a study group with schizophrenia saw their symptoms improve with fewer side effects than those taking traditional antipsychotic-prescribed medication. However, this study was in a controlled environment, not used at home, which could make a difference. The best advice is to wait for more research and additional proof for safety’s sake about marijuana use and schizophrenia to avoid developing a dangerous addiction that could further harm mental health. 

Marijuana and Anxiety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved marijuana use to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders. In addition, the FDA states more research is needed before cannabis can be recommended for anxiety treatment. Some studies have proved that THC and CBD may be beneficial for treating some mental health conditions. Specifically, there is evidence that CBD might be a consideration for anxiety and addiction. 

Fifty % of people with anxiety state that the THC in medical marijuana reduces anxiety symptoms, and CBD is also effective in some cases. Additional reports from people experiencing panic attacks show that a certain level of medical marijuana is helpful. Beyond that specific level, which is an individual determination, high doses of THC may induce panic attacks. Unfortunately, insufficient evidence proves marijuana use and anxiety are unpredictable comrades. 

Risks of Marijuana Dependence on Mental Health

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects. Long-term or frequent usage of marijuana is associated with some severe signs and symptoms. Higher cannabis use may increase the risk of depression. A variety of studies found that young adults using marijuana to self-medicate had higher incidents of the following:

  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Disorder

The danger and risk lie in inconclusive research on marijuana use and anxiety, with other mental health disorders. For example, specific study results indicate that when teenage girls experience heavy marijuana use, there is a prediction of anxiety, depression, and risk of suicide later in life. Eventual psychosis could be the result of high-potency marijuana use and anxiety. 

Beyond all other concerns, marijuana use and anxiety could cause a long-term substance use disorder, psychological dependence, memory problems, and increased anxiety or depressive symptoms. Self-medicating with marijuana over a long-term period can lead to cannabis withdrawal if stopped quickly. It is essential to understand that short-term marijuana use may be helpful for some symptoms, but more problems can develop in the more severe future. 

At-Home Detox Dangers / Challenges

Several medical complications could occur during detox, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). People are not generally aware that nausea and vomiting may seem innocuous and easy to handle, but unfortunately, it can be perilous if aspirated. Death could result from aspirating vomit. As a result, withdrawal symptoms that may seem minor could contribute to severe complications in some people. 

Cardiovascular problems, delirium tremens, and seizures can occur during detox. Medically monitored detox in a professional treatment center is much safer than detox at home. People with a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder (dual diagnosis) are at higher risk of danger during home detox than most. Drug cravings cannot be managed professionally at home, which could void the detox and result in returning to the addiction. 

Thirty % of people detoxing from sedatives experience a grand mal seizure. The possibility of adverse physical and mental health effects with detox at home is too great to feel safe. Detoxing from marijuana use and anxiety could be possibly problematic. The following side effects could occur without properly managing withdrawal symptoms:

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Anger and aggression
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia
  • Delusional thinking
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Possible self-harm events

How a Professional Detox Program is Beneficial

Professional detox programs are medically monitored by medical and treatment professionals who have experience with detox. Withdrawal symptoms are monitored, and the patient is safer with medical professionals. Relapse prevention techniques can be administered if needed with a professional program. Medication-assisted treatment could be available for those with severe symptoms. 

Find Answers to Your Questions About Marijuana Use and Schizophrenia in Georgia

Marijuana use and schizophrenia are connected, but researchers have not come to many concrete conclusions on how they affect each other. Self-medication with marijuana could lead to more problems if a mental health disorder is present. The Retreat of Atlanta, Georgia, offers knowledgeable and experienced mental health professionals to address your concerns. Marijuana use disorder is also an available treatment option. Let us help you receive the help you are seeking.

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