Link discovered between marijuana use and mental illness


A new study purports that pot causes mental illness symptoms to come on far sooner than in patients who don't use marijuana. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

New research has found a link between a greater likelihood of mental illness and using marijuana. A review of more than 80 studies found that pot use was linked to mental illness such as schizophrenia or other psychosis developing faster in patients prone to mental illnesses. It appears a new generation of “Reefer Madness” has emerged.

Marijuana users develop mental illness faster

Emerging research has found a link between marijuana use and faster onset mental illness for individuals predisposed to developing mental illness, according to WebMD. The study will be published in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, a psychiatric science journal. The research was compiled by a team of researchers led by Dr. Matthew Large from the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Data from 83 individual studies involving more than 8,000 individuals were reviewed, and it was discovered that pot use was linked to an earlier emergence of mental health disorders, especially schizophrenia.

Marijuana and other drug use

The link suggested by the research is that people at risk for developing mental illness such as schizophrenia can develop symptoms earlier if they use marijuana. Subjects in the study that were marijuana users developed schizophrenia symptoms 2.7 years earlier than those who did not. People who used multiple substances, including marijuana, cocaine and other drugs, developed symptoms of mental illness two years earlier than those who did not use drugs. Alcohol was not found to accelerate the onset of symptoms of mental illness by itself, according to Time. Tobacco use is noted in the study as not having sufficient evidence to find any affect on mental illness.

Study warns those at risk of mental illness should not use drugs

It has been suggested many times that people at risk for mental illness should not use psychoactive substances. There has been more than one study suggesting a link between schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis and marijuana use. However, no link has ever been found suggesting that marijuana use causes schizophrenia, only that those at risk can have their symptoms made worse or brought about earlier by using marijuana.




Archives of General Psychiatry (PDF – Requires Adobe Reader)

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