Research Findings: Symptom Improvement Observed in Young Consumers of Marijuana with Risk of Psychosis

Research Findings: Symptom Improvement Observed in Young Consumers of Marijuana with Risk of Psychosis

A new study published in the journal Psychiatry Research has examined the relationship between recreational cannabis use and the development of psychosis in individuals at high risk. The study, titled “Recreational Cannabis Use Over Time in Individuals at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis: Lack of Associations with Symptom, Neurocognitive, Functioning, and Treatment Patterns,” was conducted by researchers from Zucker Hillside Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine, University of Michigan, and University of California at Davis.

The study aimed to investigate whether regular cannabis use over a two-year period would trigger early onset of symptoms in high-risk individuals. The researchers tracked 210 patients aged 12-25 who were considered at clinical high risk for psychosis. These individuals were participants in an Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP). The mean age of the participants was 16.54.

The findings of the study revealed that cannabis usage did not lead to the onset of psychosis. In fact, there was a positive correlation between cannabis use and improvements in cognitive functioning. The researchers also observed that those who regularly consumed cannabis had reduced usage of other medications.

The authors noted that there is inconsistency in the current body of research regarding the association between cannabis use and negative outcomes in high-risk individuals. Previous studies have suggested that recreational cannabis use could be an environmental risk factor that triggers psychosis. However, this study found no evidence to support this claim.

The study abstract also highlighted that continuous cannabis use over the two-year follow-up period did not worsen clinical symptoms or overall neurocognition levels among high-risk individuals. Surprisingly, clinical symptoms actually improved over time despite decreased medication usage.

It is important to note that this study does not advocate for cannabis use among youth or as a therapeutic tool for those at risk of developing psychosis. Its purpose was to contribute to the existing body of literature on cannabis and psychosis.

Interestingly, several recent studies have also supported the findings of this research. A 2022 study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry analyzed emergency room data and found no significant changes in cannabis-induced psychosis or schizophrenia presentations following Canada’s legalization program. Similarly, a study published in January 2023 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no association between state policies legalizing cannabis and psychosis-related outcomes in the United States.

These findings contradict previous studies that have claimed a correlation between cannabis use and the onset of psychosis. However, opponents of cannabis legalization have often used these claims to support their arguments against legalization. A recent op-ed suggests that these warnings mirror the scare tactics of the past and may not accurately reflect the actual risks associated with cannabis use.

In conclusion, this study adds to the growing body of literature on cannabis and psychosis. It suggests that recreational cannabis use may not be associated with negative outcomes in individuals at high risk for psychosis. However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between cannabis use and mental health outcomes.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

Leave a Comment