New evidence disproves any link between psychosis and marijuana use

Published Apr 18, 2019 10:24 a.m. ET
Canadian Press, Cindi Phelps

One of the most significant fears the general public has cited in regard to marijuana legalization is the lack of knowledge available surrounding the possible adverse effects from consuming cannabinoids which are found in THC or CBD products. In this last year, there has been a great deal of change within the legal marijuana industry which has allowed for cannabis research to be conducted using various strains and products on patients. So far, there has been very little evidence to prove any sort of long-term consequences to consuming cannabinoids which has those who are eagerly awaiting the failure of an industry that they don’t appreciate. Some will grab hold of any shred of information they can to demonize marijuana and CBD products by portraying them in the worst possible light which is why negative findings go viral so quickly, regardless of their believability.

Most recently there was a bit of a stir over cannabis researchers who announced a definitive finding that showed those who chose to consume marijuana in large amounts or on a regular basis have much higher chances of succumbing to drug-inducedpsychosis. Anti-marijuana folks cheered hoping to finally be right about the devil’s lettuce, while those who use marijuana and CBD products were left wondering if they were at risk of developing what can often be a devastating and debilitating mental illness. This new information also scared new consumers who were just getting comfortable with the idea of using THC and CBD products for both medical and recreational use. Though that does sound terrible, and we would certainly hope to avoid such a diagnosis ourselves, it now appears that avoiding cannabinoid products might not be the answer after all.

The study

Cannabis researchers from Kings College in London examinedthe effects of both THC and CBD on the human brain. They included 33 participants who were experiencing psychosis symptoms and compared the results against 19 healthy controlled subjects. Half received the real cannabinoids, and the rest unknowingly ingested a disguised placebo.

CBD - What they found was that the introduction of CBD stimulated the three sections of the user’s brain that are believed to be responsible for psychosis, and that all of the participants to were given a single dose of CBD reported significant improvements in their symptoms, compared to only 5% who were given the placebo. Those who had no psychosis symptoms before the experiment said they felt no changes either way.

THC - The psychoactive cannabinoid gave slightly more mixed results, but they seem to have an explanation as well. 10% of those who suffered from psychosis symptoms before ingesting THC reported a slight increase in symptoms, and 17% of typically non-users described sensations that could be considered to resemble symptoms of psychosis for some people. The rest of the subjects on both sides involved reported feeling relaxed as well as a reduction in their psychosis symptoms.

In conclusion

Cannabis researchers from Kings College came to an entirely different conclusion than those who conducted the earlier cannabinoid study, and they firmly believe it is the lack of viewing the entire picture that kept the previous researchers from fully understanding their results. THC is a euphoric and sometimes intense cannabinoid which has effects that are known to mimic some of the symptoms of psychosis. That does not, however, mean that the introduction of the cannabinoid causes psychosis. What it does show is that those who are already experiencing these sorts of discomforts will be slightly more prone to those experiences being increased in frequency or intensity with the introduction of THC. CBD products have absolutely no adverse effects that should ever be associated with psychosis symptoms.

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