There has been an abundance of information pointing to a link between marijuana use and psychosis. New research suggests that this connection is due primarily to underlying environmental factors rather than a directly causal relationship or genetic factors.
In a study published in the Journal Psychiatry Research, researchers tested if the association between psychosis and marijuana use was due to genetic variants or environmental factors. The results of the study showed that environmental factors could be responsible for the co-occurrence of marijuana consumption and other mental effects like jumbled thoughts, paranoia and low motivation.
The study surveyed 4,830 adolescent twins, both identical and fraternal. Within this population, 9.4 percent stated that they had used marijuana previously. The authors of the study concluded “analyses demonstrated that the relationship between cannabis use and paranoia and cognitive disorganization was largely explained by common environmental influences.” Potential external factors that could trigger psychotic episodes following cannabis use include, a family history of schizophrenia, a genetic vulnerability to psychosis, peer victimization and bullying, a history of substance use — even socioeconomic disadvantages.
A previous study was conducted in 2014 by a team of researchers from the University of Calgary, which supports these findings. The researchers studied a group of 170 people over a four year period. Their findings also concluded that marijuana use did not contribute to psychosis. A claim has even been made by the National Institutes of Health that states “there is good evidence to support,” the link between marijuana use that can cause adverse symptoms that mimic mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Most people who smoke marijuana do not develop psychotic symptoms, but the risk of this development following marijuana use has been shown to run in families. The genetic link along with other environmental factors such as socioeconomic status and/or trauma could heavily contribute to this connection.
Sovereign Health Group is among the leading and most well-renowned mental health treatment providers in the country. We offer various inpatient and outpatient treatment programs across the nation to help patients who are struggling with mental health disorders, drug addiction and dual diagnosis. If you know someone who is struggling with a mental illness and is in need of mental health treatment, please do not hesitate to call. You may reach us at 888-530-4614. Our admissions helpline is open 24/7 and our treatment specialist will assist you in finding the right treatment option for you.
Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer