What Is Schizophrenia?
It is a chronic brain disorder characterized by symptoms such as hallucinations, lack of motivation, delusion, and difficulty in thinking. Severe conditions cause patients to become paranoid, lose their ability to speak or move and hear voices. Only one person in every one hundred people develops schizophrenia during their lifetime. The genetic composition of an individual and environmental factors contribute to the development of the condition.
Correlation between Schizophrenia and Cannabis Use
Studies show that people who have schizophrenia are more likely to smoke weed than healthy individuals. This often worsens the conditions. In fact, 42% of the patients suffering from the condition develop a severe addiction to marijuana. For some people, the drug offers a good feeling for a short period, but the symptoms worsen when it wears off.
Other patients report improved cognitive function (memory, executive functioning, and visual memory) compared to those who did not use marijuana. Several factors are credited with worsening schizophrenia symptoms when smoking marijuana:
Evidence shows that young people with a tendency to psychotic disorders may worsen the condition after smoking weed. Chronic consumption of cannabis in the early twenties and late teens also increases the risk of developing schizophrenic symptoms 2.7 years earlier than non-consumers.
The Type of Marijuana Used
There are two types of weed – THC, and CBD. Marijuana with high doses of THC is known to worsen schizophrenia symptoms. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive compound that causes one to get high. The ingredient works by triggering the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter responsible for feeling pain, pleasure, and motivation. Studies show that people with psychotic conditions cause the brain to produce too much dopamine. As such, cannabis with a high concentration of THC only worsens schizophrenia symptoms like anxiety and paranoia.
CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis, on the other hand, makes an effective therapy for patients with schizophrenia. A trial that included 88 patients suffering from treatment-resistant schizophrenia reported improved function and quality of life when CBD was combined with other conventional medication for psychotic disorders.
Health problems like severe depression and schizophrenia are associated with one’s genetic composition just as an individual’s dependence on marijuana. As such, patients who have schizophrenia are likely to carry genes that cause cannabis use during their lifetime. Also, while they may experience euphoric qualities after smoking weed, the undesirable side effects of cannabis may be more powerful compared to healthy users.
This article proves that smoking weed does not cause schizophrenia directly. However heavy consumption of marijuana during one’s early life may cause the condition. Other factors like the genetic composition of an individual and the type of cannabis used may worsen schizophrenia symptoms.