Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Cannabis can trigger Schizophrenia

MOST mental health experts believed cannabis use could trigger schizophrenia in some people, an Australian researcher said today.John McGrath, of the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, was commenting on the latest study which found daily cannabis users were almost twice as likely as non-users to develop psychosis, a key symptom of schizophrenia.
The New Zealand researchers interviewed 1055 people born in 1977 at ages 18, 21 and 25 about rates of cannabis use and mental health.
"The weight of the evidence clearly suggests that the use of cannabis may alter underlying brain chemistry and precipitate the onset of psychosis ... in vulnerable individuals," the University of Otago scientists reported in the journal, Addiction.
They analysed their findings to take into account the possibility that having a mental illness, such as schizophrenia, encourages people to self-medicate with drugs like cannabis.

But they concluded cannabis use was more likely to cause the psychotic symptoms than the other way around.
"There's a sufficient body of evidence now that we can say marijuana does cause schizophrenia in at least some people," Professor McGrath said.
"The more people that smoke marijuana, I think the more people are going to get psychosis, which is an extremely worrying outcome.
"The critical thing is that many researchers feel now that if people (with schizophrenia) had not smoked marijuana they would not have gone on to develop schizophrenia and that's a really important public health message.
"It's a sufficient trigger in those individuals to tip them over. (But) we actually can't tell who those vulnerable individuals are."
About one in 100 Australians suffer from schizophrenia.
The illness is a complex one with a number of risk factors – both genetic and environmental – implicated.
Prof McGrath said obstetric complications such as ante-natal haemorrhages, as well as problems during pregnancy like influenza and infections, had been associated with a small, but increased risk, of the baby going on to develop schizophrenia.
"There's also a season of birth effect that is very robust that people born in winter and spring have a small, but increased risk of schizophrenia," he said.
"Our group think low pre-natal vitamin D might be a risk factor in schizophrenia, like folate in spina bifida.
"We've got a whole smorgasbord of fuzzy, maybe candidates."


Blogger if_i_had_a_hammer said...

marijuana always turned me into a giggling, chocolate obsessed beast...i guess there's some validity to that study.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

As it does with most J. There are a minority out there who are pre disposed to schizophrenia and for whatever reaction it has with the brain, sends them into a psychotic state. One thing the article should of mentioned is that most diagnosed schizophrenics live "normal" lives whilst taking medication. Only a small percentage are violent and psychotic.

9:39 PM  
Blogger magz said...

view from the inside of my admittedly warped mind?
it seems so easy to point fingers at so many causes of mental abberations, industrial pollution, drug use both voluntarily and medically prescribed, genetics or birth traumas.. stress factors etc etc etc ad nausem...hmmmmm
how bout these two little factors?
1. there's a lot more emphasis on diagnosing unhappy or untypical people.. them shrinkie-dinks are graduating left and right and need to make a living, right?
(same for the drug companies, the single biggest ripoff artists in the world)and
2. there's just a fuck of a lt more people!

12:45 AM  
Blogger English Professor said...

1 out of 100? That seems really high to me.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Erratic Prophet said...

You know, this makes me wonder if that's what happened to an ex of mine. He turned into a major pot-head and was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. If I hadn't told him to stop stalking me, I'd tell him to look further into this.

I sure pick winners, don't I?

2:08 AM  
Blogger Jack the blogger said...

Thank you for the excuse.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Ignoring Jack's other personality (he's too funny)...To Serious stuff: Interesting article. I am fascinated by medical research and particularly that having to do with the brain. That said, did you read this article straight from it's "Australian reseracher source" or from the paper?

I have found more accurate information directly from the science journals. Just a thought. I have no idea how accurate this info is. I do feel that such research is important. Schizophrenia is a vastly misunderstood illness and incredibly difficult to live with, medicated or not. I support legitimate research for that and cannibis use or non-use.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Magz~ I think you bought up 2 good and valid points.

EP ~ Yeah it does to me also, however 1 in 1000 seems too little, perhaps a missprint in the journal?

EP ~ Ahhh never mind ep, a friend of mine chopped his fingers off at 40 yold after a 'dope' bender. Later on diagnosed as psychotic.

Jack ~ Like when did you ever need an excuse!!

GEL ~ From a research journal i suscribe to. Another journal i subscribe to you may be interested in GEL is Crime Times, they concentrate purely on neurological research..its fascinating.

7:14 PM  

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