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Scientists disagree about cannabis effects
Does cannabis use increase the risk of hallucinations and delusions? Yes, say many scientists who deal with the topic. On the other hand, new studies claim that the hemp plant can also help prevent psychosis.
Regular smoking pot can increase the risk of psychosis. Regular smoking pot increases the risk of psychosis - scientists have now largely agreed on this. A psychosis is a serious mental illness that is characterized by a temporary loss of feeling of reality or delusions and hallucinations. This condition most often occurs in bipolar disorder or manic depression, as well as in schizophrenia. "This risk is about two to three times higher for cannabis users than for the general population," said psychiatrist Patrik Roser from LWL University Hospital Bochum.
Dutch researchers examine nearly 2,000 young people. Two years ago, Dutch researchers led by psychologists Jim van Os and Rebecca Kuepper from the University of Maastricht were part of a cohort study with a total of 1923 German adolescents and young adults (48% men) aged 14 to 24 years. The researchers had followed the study participants over 10 years "to determine whether the use of cannabis in adolescence increases the risk of psychotic illness," the psychologists said in their article in the online medical journal "British Medical Journal."
Increased risk regardless of age and gender The researchers' worrying result: “Cannabis use significantly increases the risk of psychotic experiences. This connection is independent of age, gender, socio-economic status, consumption of other drugs, urban or rural environment and childhood trauma. ”
Genetic disposition and biography could also play a role, but cannabis does not seem to be the only factor that favors the development of psychoses. Instead, according to another study from 2011, those who are genetically predisposed or who are more susceptible to psychosis due to their biography are particularly at risk. So a meta-analysis by Australian researchers led by Dr. Matthew Large found that "cannabis use can cause schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, but possibly through an interaction between genetic and environmental factors," the scientists said in their article in the medical journal "JAMA".
Does cannabidiol ingredient even protect against psychosis?
The formula cannabis use = increased risk of psychoses seems plausible according to the studies mentioned, but the whole thing is not that simple: It sounds paradoxical, but recent studies show that cannabis can also protect against psychoses. It is about the hemp ingredient "Cannabidiol" (CBD), a weakly psychoactive cannabinoid, which can be relaxing, anti-inflammatory, anxiety-relieving and against nausea. So the psychiatrist Patrik Roser came together with Dr. Ida S. Haussleiter in a review from last year on the result that the effectiveness of common psychosis drugs and isolated cannabidiol was comparable: "The results largely confirm the hypothesis of an antipsychotic activity of the two cannabinoids," said Roser in his abstract Article in the magazine "Current Pharmaceutical Design". (No)