Cannabis psychosis

Cannabis (marijuana) is generally considered a “safer” recreational drug, and as such, people tend to think of it much differently than drugs like heroin, meth and cocaine, which most think of as “hard” drugs. While acceptance of the drug becomes more commonplace and marijuana is often legal, problems caused by excessive use of the drug should never be trivialized.

Marijuana is not entirely harmless, and while it provides clear medical benefits for some people, it also presents considerable risks. Rehabs and treatment centers around the world are seeing more clients affected by problems associated with marijuana, including cannabis psychosis, a condition that can affect heavy users, especially those who began using cannabis at an early age.

What is a Psychosis?

In simple terms, psychosis is a condition in which the mind loses touch with reality. Symptoms may be associated with increased brain activity manifested by hallucinations, delusions, suspiciousness and paranoia; or decreased brain activity characterized by difficulties expressing emotion, decreased motivation or difficulty thinking and concentrating. People experiencing Schizophrenia report having psychotic episodes, certain chemicals and drugs can provoke it, older patients post surgery can have psychotic episodes, called Delirium etc.

Cannabis Psychosis

Studies indicate that THC, a psychoactive chemical in cannabis, may induce psychosis in people with healthy brains and may exacerbate symptoms in people who already suffer from psychosis. Many researchers posit that cannabis increases the levels of dopamine, a brain chemical that is responsible for feelings of pleasure, while inhibiting the release of chemicals that normally regulate excessive amounts of dopamine.

Cannabis psychosis is not yet fully understood, and experts don’t always agree on the causes. However, it appears that cannabis psychosis may be more prevalent for people who have a family history of psychosis, and that use of cannabis is only one of many factors that may lead to development of the condition.

According to the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, it is common knowledge that cannabis can induce hallucinations or temporary symptoms of psychosis, and that young people who use the drug regularly may experience long-term paranoia and a higher risk of developing schizophrenia or other mental conditions that include symptoms of psychosis.

Although there is much to learn about the connection between cannabis and marijuana, researchers and drug treatment professionals agree that there are certain risks associated with use of cannabis, and that the public should be aware of the risks. Although cannabis paranoia may be temporary, the condition is irreversible all too often and seeing such patients in clinics is a heartbreaking experience.

The risk of cannabis psychosis, what it is, and how particularly heavy users are at risk of this potentially irreversible condition is still an ongoing discussion between scholars and practitioners in the field. That’s why trivializing marijuana abuse shouldn’t be done lightly but warrants a non-moralizing, professional approach until a clearer picture emerges.

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