In 2016, cannabis was legalized in California, which enabled people the age of 21 and up to obtain marijuana at a taxed price, unless they have a recreational card which allows patients to use it for medicinal purposes without being taxed. Since it has been legalized, cannabis has been abused by users that do not have a recreational card, which has become very common among many types of people. Many of these people are unaware of the affects marijuana can have on a person because it became legalized so recently, but some research found that cannabis can affect people with schizophrenia in a negative way.
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that involves a variation of the thought process, the consciousness, and perceptions which then produces psychosis.
The article, Cannabis Use and the Course of Schizophrenia, talks about a study that involves over 200 patients that have schizophrenia who use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Researchers and evaluated them five different times, which were at the intervals of six months, two years, four years, and ten years.
The study found that people that have consumed cannabis tend to show increased or accelerated symptoms. It then goes on to say, “Two longitudinal studies of cannabis abuse in schizophrenia yielded conflicting findings: one reported an association with severity of thought disorder but not psychotic or negative symptoms, and the other reported an association with severity of negative symptoms but not disorganized or psychotic symptoms.”
The researchers found that people with schizophrenia tend not to get more ill but end up having more severe psychotic symptoms.
They then go on to say how, “This relationship with psychotic symptoms was bidirectional: cannabis exposure predicted severity of psychosis, and individuals with more severe psychotic symptoms were more likely to use cannabis in the future. This is consistent with findings from two recent studies, one conducted in a nonclinical sample and the other focusing on relapse among individuals with recent-onset psychosis over a 6-month follow-up.”
Demographics also showed that the relationship between cannabis and psychotic symptoms could have an impact on how severe it affects the person. This can include how they were raised, what they were exposed to, what they were around, and many other factors that could have affected them when they consumed cannabis. Even though this study was recorded over a span of time, there were some issues that conflicted with the data such as not being able to precisely determine when the patients used it and when they started showing more severe symptoms. An ongoing question researchers still have to study is how cannabis affects the consumer with schizophrenia biologically and behaviorally.
After learning how cannabis can severely impact people with schizophrenia negatively, it makes us question whether or not cannabis should be used for medicinal purposes for people that are found to have a higher risk of having schizophrenia. Since researchers do not know whether or not the demographics affect the person biologically or behaviorally, we have to assume that anyone with or who has the genes of this psychological disease can have a negative encounter with cannabis. People with a higher risk of having schizophrenia also tend to produce a psychotic symptom after consuming cannabis so as a result, people should check their family history to see if they have this gene if they plan on consuming it.