Ending the debate: Cannabis use and schizophrenia

Ending the debate: Cannabis use and schizophrenia

One of the most discussed misconceptions regarding cannabis use is you are at risk of developing schizophrenia. Do not let big media companies fool you. Below we have highlighted the main points of cannabis use and schizophrenia.

You either have it or you don't

It is extremely unlikely that consuming cannabis regularly, even from a young age, will cause schizophrenia to develop in a person who would not have developed it otherwise. Schizophrenia develops during the growth of a fetus, i.e. Schizophrenia is present before the person has even been born – it is contained in a person’s genes.

If a person with schizophrenic genes does not show any psychotic symptoms, then starts using cannabis, it can trigger the psychotic and schizophrenic symptoms. This does not mean that cannabis caused the symptoms, as the person already had undiagnosed schizophrenia.

Does Skunk lead to schizophrenia?

Skunk is simply a strain of cannabis with high THC. There is no evidence evidence to suggest that cannabis with higher levels of THC cause schizophrenia or psychosis.

A higher concentration of THC will only produce a more euphoric, head high than lower THC content cannabis.

The recent video the BBC released discussing research into skunk and schizophrenia was incorrect in stating skunk puts you at a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.

  1. You must have schizophrenic genes to develop schizophrenia.
  2. Skunk is high in THC, but not higher than the THC content of hash, which is considered by their researcher as “safer”.

Skunk has been selectively grown and developed over the years to produce a high THC content. The current strains of Skunk in the UK are said to be much stronger than in the past, however the percentage of the population with schizophrenia is not increasing. Thus debunking the myth that skunk causes schizophrenia. 

But my doctor said cannabis causes schizophrenia

One of your relatives/friends was diagnosed with schizophrenia and the doctor deduced cannabis to be the cause? In this case, they have been taught incorrect information. As stated earlier, schizophrenia is present from birth in a person’s genes. 

To combat this misinformation that UK doctors have, the UK Medical Cannabis Clinicians’ society has been launched to teach doctors the true benefits/risks of cannabis use.

Back when tobacco was first introduced in the UK, doctors would advise patients to smoke tobacco to cure certain illnesses. Just because they were doctors, does that mean the information they were giving out regarding tobacco use was correct?

The BBC report cannabis causes schizophrenia, so it must be true

Studies which are discussed in media reports such as the recent video by the BBC are correlative only, meaning only age, gender and drug use etc are correlated to schizophrenia. The problem with this is that there is no controlled variable in the study.

Correlative studies do not provide a causation, i.e. A correlative study cannot be used to determine a cause-effect relationship. 

Cannabis as a remedy to schizophrenia

Cannabis is actually used to treat cases of schizophrenia, providing the strain of cannabis is low in THC content and high in CBD content: CBD has been found to be a cure for psychotic and schizophrenic patients, whilst also treating paranoia and anxiety.

Cannabis -> schizophrenia -> a gateway to hard drugs

Many people suggest that cannabis causes schizophrenia which opens a gateway to hard drugs. Again, as stated earlier, schizophrenia is contained in a person’s genes.

It is often seen in youngsters/young adults who know they are different to their peers, but cannot see exactly why they are different. They realize their peers are alienating them, which then leads them to self medicate with cannabis or alcohol. When cannabis is not sufficient in providing a solution to their problems/feelings, they move to harder drugs to try and cope. The actual cannabis consumed was not the cause of moving to harder drugs, the underlying schizophrenia was the cause.

Cannabis is used as a treatment for hard drug and alcohol addictions. So to suggest that cannabis is a gateway to hard drugs is bizarre.

Cannabis -> Schizophrenia -> suicide

There are people who claim a loved one used cannabis regularly which caused them to develop schizophrenia that eventually lead to them committing suicide.

This is similar to the point above of claims cannabis is a gateway to hard drugs. Since the person will have already had schizophrenia prior to cannabis use, their suicidal thoughts would already be lurking in their head. Cannabis use is a coping mechanism, not a cause of schizophrenia. The schizophrenic gene makes a person more likely to use cannabis, not the other way around.

With a legalized cannabis system, cases like this should decrease once the population is correctly educated and understand the schizophrenic symptoms to look out for.

Cannabis is not the cause of suicide. Cannabis use alone has never caused any deaths.                                 

Final thoughts

People have been misinformed and incorrectly educated when it comes to cannabis use. However from current research, it is clear that old cannabis propaganda is false. We just need to educate the remaining 30-40% of the UK population who believe the old propaganda.

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