Chicken-and-Egg Conundrum in Analyzing Psychosis in Teen Pot Use

Does marijuana lead to psychosis or does existing psychosis encourage drug use? Study says possibly both.


There's been a lot of interest from the scientific community in the not-so-simple relationship between marijuana use and a person's risk of psychosis. The connection is especially important to understand in young people, whose brains are still wiring themselves, a process that continues right up through one's 20s. Some researchers have framed the issue as a chicken-or-egg conundrum, wondering whether pot smoking leads to psychosis or whether underlying psychosis makes one more likely to smoke pot. A new study set out to determine whether it's one or the other – or both. And indeed the answer is that it seems to work both ways.

As the authors point out, some earlier research has suggested that people with underlying psychosis may be "self-medicating" by smoking pot in an effort to diminish symptoms or improve mood. But in fact more research suggests that marijuana use may tweak the brain – especially the developing brain – in significant and detrimental ways, which could ultimately lead to psychosis.

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  1. But when are we going to see a study on the effects of heavy handed policing on the mental health of the community.
    Being detained, searched, arrested, robbed, screamed at by police and judges is hardly going to help someone who has a mental problem.
    It is quite likely in fact to make such people withdraw even further.
    Get the police and the courts out of health care.

  2. In communities that have only recently taken up marijuana consumption to a significant degree there has been no correlating increase in schizophrenia or psychotic disturbance as would be expected if it were true that marijuana consumption leads to mental illness of any kind.

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