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Cannabis and onset of schizophrenia

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I know there is much debating on whether cannabis can cause the onset of schizophrenia but what are the scientific reasons for the claims?

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I'm pretty sure it's based entirley on an observed increased frequence of schizophrenia in cannabis users.

 

The big debate is on where it causes this effect or whether schizophernics find cannabis more attractive than most people since they find medicinal relief from it.

 

I have a strong feeling both senerios are true. Meaning it may have the ability to bring out schizophernia in certain individuals predisposed to it, as well as providing some relief to those who already have the condition.

 

Don't sound very simple eh? This effect is more likely psycological than purely chemical so there are likely to be a wide range of reactions.

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hello, this is my first time posting, but i thought i could shed a bit of light on this subject.

 

let me know if its helpful or not, but i found a bit of research on this that seems to make some sense.

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Cannibis can bring out schizophrenia in people who have not previously displayed symptoms, but are pre-disposed to it. Several drugs can do this, LSD, some others that I can't recal can have similar effects. So if there is a lot of schizophrenia in your family, you probably shouldn't smoke weed.

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I understand that the arguments for the connections are based on observational evidence but i was wondering if there has been any conclusive evidence from a neurological point of view?

 

On hearing about the connection I first assumed that the connection was due to cannabis acting on dompamine receptors and the fact that an imbalance of dopamine can casue schizophrenia. However I can't find anything backing up my assumtion and as my understanding of neurology is limited i'm assuming im wrong.

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There's no conclusive evidence what causes schizophrenia - though I believe they are invesitgating the cause through genetic research. Lack of dopamine / glutamate / serotonin et.c (through using certain substances) can cause psychosis (depending on the individual) but doesn't necessarily mean you'll become schizophrenic unless you have the potential to become schizophrenic....though if someone can actually find some evidence for this, cause I don't buy it, I think it's just a case of being misdiagnosed.

 

If someone is using a substance and they develop paranoia et.c then they're a bit of an idiot to carry on using it...but 9 times out of 10 the substance is blamed, not the person.

 

I'll have to have a browse, but I heard an excess of the chemical DMT (which is released when you die) could be a player in the condition, which would account for schizophrenics hearing voices, and having a distorted version of reality, but again this is not conclusive, and certainly doesn't account for a lack of any other chemical bringing an onset to the condition. If someone has anything conclusive about this I'd be interested as well...and no bias anti-drug sites please.

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Tycho's right. There is no link between marijuana use and onset of schizophrenia in individuals who aren't predisposed to it, but if you have a family history most psychoactive drugs can bring the schizophrenia out of you.

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if you have a family history most psychoactive drugs can bring the schizophrenia out of you.

 

How though ? This is what I don't understand, they're not sure what causes schizophrenia so how can they confirm that using psychoactive substances promotes schizophrenia, I'm a little confused how they arrived at this assumption.

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The reason I asked this question is becasue i see it mentioned all over the media with people giving facts like ''top scientist says smoking cannabis just once a week can cause phycosis'' (headline i saw the other day). To me making the subject so publicised when there is almost no scientific evidence backing it up is crazy.

Its like people linking the statistics that most heroin addicts have tried cannabis and automaticaly creating a new anti drug campain to children saying, 'cannabis is a gateway drug and one joint and the next day you'll be sitting in a gutter with a needle in your arm'.

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the only thing that makes it a gatway drug is that people who smoke marijuana also tend to be around other illegal drugs. If marijuna was legalized, I'd bet you the numberr of people who start usingother drugs because of their illegal access to marijuana will decrease.

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Its like people linking the statistics that most heroin addicts have tried cannabis and automaticaly creating a new anti drug campain to children saying, 'cannabis is a gateway drug and one joint and the next day you'll be sitting in a gutter with a needle in your arm'.

 

The media (mainly newspapers) still have this ridiculous stance on drugs...if this is the general view of the masses, I'm not sure, it's pretty rife in Britain to say the least.

 

The problem is there seems to be no conclusive evidence of exactly how harmful psychoactive drugs are...it depends on the individual in a lot of cases, and what harm they do is smeared by the media, so they are in no way advocating drugs.

 

I can think of a handful of newspaper articles where they've taken a more liberal approach. The rest take a moral high-ground, and when you know these journalists are sniffing coke and getting pissed at their work do's. This is what really gets me...people that drink and smoke that seem to think they 'don't do drugs'...you do, and that have the audacity to look down their nose at someone who has chosen a different substance to escape once in a while. :-(

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It's well known that there are substances which can cause a schizophrenic break. Amphetamines, or crank, are a classical example of it. It's well known in the psychiatric literature. Massive doses of male hormones often used by bodybuilders can also do it.

 

Regarding cannabis causing mental disorders, that's still being studied. It takes more than one scientific report to establish something as confirmed and very likely the case.

 

IN the case of amphetamines, those are known to cause psychosis, which might be temporary or not. Cannabis is not confirmed to do the same, but it could. However, more time & study are needed.

 

As far as genetic predispositions to schizophrenia, only paranoid schizophrenia has a genetic cause, altho the gene has not yet been identified. Among identical twins, if one twin gets this form of schizophrenia, the odds are only 50% that the other will get it, too. Still, as the incidence of psychosis of this sort in the population is about 1/2%, it's 100 times the expected incidence, which is what established the condition as genetic. But why one twin gets the condition and the other does not, is not yet known.

 

Real causes of schizophrenias are not well known at present. Much work is ongoing to determine more.

 

Overall, cocaine, amphetamines and some other psychoactive substances use, such as LSD are associated with a considerable increases in death and disease, plus considerable bad social effects. :)

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Could you provide me a reference showing that LSD causes a "consisderable increase in death and disease"?

 

And to keep on track, a major point of debate on the subject is whether particular substance can "cause" schizophrenia or whether it may cause a psychotic episode in predisposed individuals. While some of the aformentioned drugs can be "psychotomimetic" there isn't a lot of data suggesting the effects last after the acute effects of the drug have ceased.

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I agree, interesting post but the last bit annoyed me. This isn't meant to be a pro or anti drugs thread but you shouldn't start on the whole 'drugs are bad, period' thing.

 

Of all of the drugs you quoted for one, none of them cause dieseses. Yes prolonged use of athetamines can put strain on the heart but that isn't a diesese and no common hullacigenics e.g. LSD, mushrooms etc attribute to death, only psycholgical problems are associated with them.

I accept your opinion on drugs having a bad social effect but personally I think your generalsing, basing your judgment on the social effects of hard drugs, not drugs as a whole.

 

I'm not saying drugs are fine because they can cause alot of problems for people but I just think if your sensible enough to know how to keep everything in moderation it is just as accetable as drinking pint at a pub

Anyway do you have any links regarding amphetamines and schitzophrenia as it sounds interestiung but i couldn't find anything froma scientific point of view.

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Could you provide me a reference showing that LSD causes a "consisderable increase in death and disease"?

 

yeah...I can see the death part... people do crazy things while having a bad trip, but where did the disease part come in?

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As far as genetic predispositions to schizophrenia, only paranoid schizophrenia has a genetic cause, altho the gene has not yet been identified. Among identical twins, if one twin gets this form of schizophrenia, the odds are only 50% that the other will get it, too. Still, as the incidence of psychosis of this sort in the population is about 1/2%, it's 100 times the expected incidence, which is what established the condition as genetic. But why one twin gets the condition and the other does not, is not yet known.

 

The general population have a life-time risk of about 1%

1st-Degree relatives of a Schizophrenic have a life-time risk of about 12%

2nd-Degree relatives have a 4% risk.

 

Concordance for monozygotic twins is 48% but only 17% for dizygotic twins. However there is some evidence that factors in the prenatal environment could contribute to these high monozygotic concordance rates and hence lead to overestimation of the genetic component or heritability in schizophrenia.

 

if a condition is not completely detemined by the genetics then there would be not reason why two identical individuals should both develop it.

 

While we are talking about Schizophrenia and drugs - PCP intoxication is apparently indistinguishable from an acute episode of schizophrenia and is know to intensify the primary symptoms of schizophrenia.

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Sorry, I meant to do put this in my last post.

 

As far as genetic predispositions to schizophrenia, only paranoid schizophrenia has a genetic cause, altho the gene has not yet been identified.

 

As far as I am aware the genetic data applies to all types of schizophrenia. The use of the Kraepelin subdivisions (catatonic, paranoid, hebephrenic and simple) does not seem to capture any consistant differences in terms of abnormalities, neurological changes or etiology. This is my understanding of the situation but I am happy to be corrected if someone else knows better.

 

As for genes - i think an area on chromosome 22 has been associated with schizophrenia but not a gene and this is not definate.The pseudoautosomal region on the sex chromosome may also be involved.

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I think it is Psychological caused by lazy mindedness.

If one allows their mind to wonder with or without drugs it can lead to depression or Schizophrenia and other so called mental disorders.

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Schizophrenia : a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as in hallucinations and delusions), and conduct.

 

There is a definite correlation between schizophrenia and cocaine use. Which leads to which is unknown. But a great deal of the pot out there is laced with cocaine without the user ever knowing it. Never seen an angry pothead, but seen drunk or coked up people do some real nasty stuff. Where is the media campaign against that? Cocaine is the likely culprit and marijuana is the scapegoat for the war on peace.

 

Categorize a person who falls out of agreement with general consensus and label him psychotic. Many scientists and philosophers ahead of the "knowledge curve" throughout history can undoubtedly be thrown into this category based on others' black and white introspective perception, and not on fact.

 

The general consensus of what everyday life should be, from a spiritual perspective, is quite a ridiculous lifestyle. Those who contemplate very deeply on topics of life, humanity and political control, such as pot smokers, may rightfully start disassociating themselves from their environment... creating a logic structure that is different than the rest whom are playing 'follow the leader.'

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Categorize a person who falls out of agreement with general consensus and label him psychotic.

 

Perhaps we would label them as radical or eccentric but certainly not schizophrenic (not these days anyway). Schizophrenia is a clinical condition and not just having an unconventional viewpoint. Postmortem of a schizophrenics brain shows substantial deteriation of a large number of neural structures I doubt this is likely to result from just being non-conformist.

 

Cocaine is the likely culprit and marijuana is the scapegoat for the war on peace.

 

From the information provided so far in this thread it would seem that this is not the accepted scientific view. Why is there this need for people to defend marijuana? The fact is at the moment we just don't know exactly what it's effects are in the long term. This means that any arguement that condemns or supports marijuana use is just propaganda and is baseless. This applies equally to either side of the arguement. I think people should be able to decide for them selves on this issue but should be able to make an educated decision. Claining marijuana is risk-free is as dishonest as claiming it to be at the root of all that is wrong in the western world.

 

The general consensus of what everyday life should be, from a spiritual perspective, is quite a ridiculous lifestyle.

 

I agree with this at least.

 

Those who contemplate very deeply on topics of life, humanity and political control, such as pot smokers, may rightfully start disassociating themselves from their environment... creating a logic structure that is different than the rest whom are playing 'follow the leader.'

 

The idea that pot smokers contemplate these issues more than other people is nonsense. So assuming they develop there own logic structure, is this because they have competently covered all the relavant issuses from every viewpoint and come to a sound logical conclusion or is it just a lazy way of self-validation through dismissing other peoples values. When people claim that the majority play 'follow the leader' the emphasis is that the majority is wrong , what exactly they are doing wrong is secondary. western civilisation is far from perfect but I doubt the solution lies in dissociation from the environment or smoking more pot.

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But a great deal of the pot out there is laced with cocaine without the user ever knowing it.'

 

I have to disagree with that as because the price of cocaine is so high and much larger doses are required when smoking it (unless you convert into crack) it would be pointless for a drug dealer to add cocaine to his stash.

 

Also yes cannabis laced with cocaine is sometimes sold (as white widow), but the dealer will always tell his customers as it will almost definately increase his sales as it has such a hype surrounding it.

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That's just an urban myth, white widow is a 'hybrid' that can be bought in coffee shops in Amsterdam so certainly has nothing added to it. 'Dealers' have no reason to add something expensive to their wares when they have to sell it for the same price, they'd just lose out. They may 'say' something has been added, to up the price...but they're more likely to be lying.

 

Following from a few points ashennell has raised, I'm not sure anyone has promoted cannabis use in this thread, but merely pointing out that so far there is no evidence supporting anything conclusive about the harm it could do (mentally). The media, I feel, are irresponsible in taking any stance until there is something conclusive, and when you hear sooooo many stories of people being violent et.c and they mention they use cannabis is daft, because the correlation between the two is unsubstantiated.

 

It's clear that cannabis can cause motivation problems, ability to concentrate and short term memory loss (whilst using it)...but in the long term there is nothing concrete linking it to schizophrenia or any other mental illness...yet. So ashennell is dead right in saying that promoting or condoning it's use is pointless until we have evidence backing up either argument. However, the problem is that the information to the public could be smeared by propoganda, and going by some of the responses in this thread, that seems to be the case.

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There's no correlation between chronic cannabis use and schizophrenia. This is pseudoscientific voodoo fabricated to facilitate the organized trafficking of antipsychotics medication. The truth is cannabis medicine is potential antipsychotic (CBD) treatment for a variety of symptoms. THC is also implicated in the antidepressant activity of cannabis.

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There's no correlation between chronic cannabis use and schizophrenia. This is pseudoscientific voodoo fabricated to facilitate the organized trafficking of antipsychotics medication. The truth is cannabis medicine is potential antipsychotic (CBD) treatment for a variety of symptoms. THC is also implicated in the antidepressant activity of cannabis.

 

There is a significant body of literature linking high doses of THC as well as chronic use to psychoses. While more studies are needed it is simply wrong to claim that there is no evidence.

 

For example Bambico et al. J Neuro sci 2007 highlighted that low doses helpes with depression, but high doses seem to worsen the symptoms.

That is not to say that cannabis components may not have uses as antipsychotic treatments as other studies have found beneficial effects. Yet there are also plenty of studies that suggest the opposite. There is also speculation of a genetic component as the reason for the different effects on individuals.

 

Ultimately at this point the jury is still out, but stating that it is absolutely safe and beneficial is just wishful thinking (as well as dishonest) at this point. Most would agree that it is less harmful than inmodest alcohol consumption, but that is not a particularly high bar.

 

Just for perusal, some very recent reviews discussing the link between cannbinoids and disorders as well as therapeutic benefits(all 2016)

Colizzi et al Neurosci Biobehav Rev

Curran et al Nat Rev Neurosci

Mandelbaum & de la Monte Pediatr Neurol

Sherif et al. Biol Psychiatry

Castellanos & Gralnik World J Clin Pediatr (the authors discuss the interesting point that synthetic cannabinoids may be more strongly associated with adverse health effects than marijuana which may indicate that that the type and composition is an important factor)

Skosnik et al. Biol Psychiatry (Potentially relevant due to your interest in neuronal oscillations)

Campos et al. Pharmacol Res (one of the reviews focussing on the potential benefits of CBD)

Ksir & Hart Curr Psychatry Rep (here the authors argue that cannabis itself may not cause psychoses but that cannabis use is more likely in individuals with vulnerability to psychosis)

 

So even if we take just the recent lit, one would need incredible selective reading to dismiss all issues. It has to be said that more work is being presented that indicates a level of disruption of the glutamate signaling pathways and that these may lead to neurological issues, which is discussed in some of the reviews.

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