Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Does Marijuana Lead to Psychosis in Teens...New Study Raises Questions

I came across this article and thought it would be an interesting read.....

Marijuana (cannabis) use may be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms in teens - but the reverse could also be true: psychosis in adolescents may be linked to later pot use, according to a new Dutch study.

"What is interesting in this study is that both processes are going on at the same time," said Dr. Gregory Seeger, medical director for addiction services at Rochester General Hospital in upstate New York.

He told Reuters Health that researchers have been especially concerned about what tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active property in pot, could do to a teenager's growing brain.

"That's a very vulnerable period of time for brain development," and individuals with a family history of schizophrenia and psychosis seem to be more sensitive to the toxic effects of THC, he said.

A 2010 study of 3,800 Australian teenagers found that those who used marijuana were twice as likely to develop psychosis compared to teens who never smoked pot (see Reuters Health article of March 1, 2010 here:).

But that study also found that those who suffered from hallucinations and delusions when they were younger were also more likely to use pot early on.

For the new study, published in the journal Addiction, the researchers wanted to see which came first: pot or psychosis.

For example, using pot at 16 years old was linked to psychotic symptoms three years later, and psychotic symptoms at age 16 were linked to pot use at age 19.

This was true even when the researchers accounted for mental illness in the kids' families, alcohol use and tobacco use.

The study's lead author Merel Griffith-Lendering, a doctoral candidate at Leiden University in The Netherlandsm said she could not say how much more likely young pot users were to exhibit psychotic symptoms later on.

Also, the new study cannot prove one causes the other.   Genetics may also explain the link between pot use and psychosis, said Griffith-Lendering.

Dr. Gregory Seeger, medical director for addiction services at Rochester General Hospital in upstate New York, said that there needs to be more public awareness of the connection.

"I think the marijuana is not a harmless substance. Especially for teenagers, there should be more of a public health message out there that marijuana has a public health risk," he said.

Griffith-Lendering agrees.  "Given the severity and impact of psychotic disorders, prevention programs should take this information into consideration," she said.
Source: Daily News

1 comment:

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