According to a study led by researchers from the Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), young men with a cannabis use disorder or an over-dependence on marijuana use have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia. at the National Institutes of Health.
The learnpublished in Psychological Medicine, analyzed medical records spanning five decades representing more than 6 million people in Denmark to estimate the proportion of schizophrenia cases that could be attributed to cannabis use disorder at the population level.
What is Cannabis Use Disorder?
While there appears to be no evidence that users develop a physiological dependence on cannabis in the same way as they do on cocaine or opioids, cannabis dependence affects a small proportion of the population. While NIDA cites delusions and psychosis as side effects of regularly smoking high-potency cannabis, it fails to mention general scientific evidence that any stressor can serve as a trigger for a psychotic episode.
However, the Denmark/NIDA study finds that cannabis use disorders and schizophrenia can both be treated.
Researchers found strong evidence of an association between cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia in both men and women, although the association was much stronger in young men. Using statistical modeling, the study authors estimated that up to 30% of cases of schizophrenia in men aged 21 to 30 could be prevented by avoiding cannabis use disorder.
“The nexus of substance use disorders and mental illness is a major public health problem that requires urgent action and support for people who need it. As access to potent cannabis products continues to increase, it is critical that we also expand prevention, screening and treatment for people who may suffer from mental illnesses associated with cannabis use,” said NIDA director and co-author of the study Nora VolkovMD “The results…