What You Need to Know About Cannabis-Induced Psychosis

If you think that marijuana is a “safe” drug with little to no health consequences, consider this – over-consumption or too-early exposure puts the user at risk of “cannabis-induced psychosis”, literally, a disconnection from reality.

In fact, according to Yale University, greater than 1 out of every 7 new cases of psychosis are directly attributable to marijuana use.

To dispel the myth that marijuana is harmless, let’s take a closer look at the link between the popular legal drug and the frightening potential effect it may have on mental health.

What are the Symptoms of Cannabis-Induced Psychosis?

A person experiencing a psychotic break loses touch with reality and may exhibit such symptoms as:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of focus
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Adoption of unusual beliefs and opinions
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Hearing voices
  • Imagined physical sensations
  • Delusions
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Pronounced agitation
  • Garbled, disorganized speech
  • Loss of sense of self

41% of people who experience cannabis-induced psychosis will subsequently develop schizophrenia, within an average of 3 to 4 years. Another 6% will develop bipolar disorder.

Risk Factors

Exposure to marijuana during adolescence is a critical factor. For example, people who smoke marijuana as teens are up to four times more likely to develop a schizophrenic disorder. Of special relevance, a 2017 study of people with schizophrenia found that those who had used marijuana before the age of 18 developed their illness an average of 10 years earlier than those who had no history of use.

The connection goes both ways because 1 out of every 4 people with a schizophrenic disorder also has co-occurring Cannabis Use Disorder.

The overall list of risk factors that link marijuana to psychosis includes:

  • Frequency
  • Amount
  • Potency
  • Age of first use

It is important to note that the risk of developing schizophrenia is higher with marijuana than with any other drug, including sedatives, opioids, hallucinogens, and even amphetamines.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has a problem with marijuana; this brief self-assessment can help you determine if it’s time to seek help.

The Bottom Line About Cannabis-Induced Psychosis

Not every person who smokes pot will suffer cannabis-induced psychosis or go on to develop schizophrenia, but the risk is so elevated as to be alarming. The best thing you can do to protect your mental health is to stop using marijuana.

But if you find that quitting is too hard on your own, then that is just another sign that maybe you need specialized professional help.

In Southern California, your best resource to get the help you need is Lasting Recovery, one of the best outpatient rehab programs in San Diego. By using a treatment strategy that is both evidence-based and total wellness-focused, we help you develop the skills to support your successful return to sobriety and good mental health.

Currently, we offer virtual treatment that lets you receive the services you need from the privacy and safety of your own home, through a secure Internet connection.

If you are ready to start healing, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.

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