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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Does Pot make you Crazy?

At a time when there is considerable lobbying to legalize possession of pot, (indeed, it has already happened in Washington state and Uruguay is voting on it next week), significant amounts of research show a strong link between cannabis use and psychosis, ie schizophrenia, paranoia, hallucinations, etc.

From Australia
A new report from John McGrath, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Queensland, Australia, suggests young adults more vulnerable to psychosis start smoking marijuana at a younger age, an event that could trigger a non-affective psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia. - See more at:

 The Downside of High (CBC Nature of Things documentary with Dr David Suzuki)

Teenagers who start smoking marijuana before the age of sixteen are four times more likely to become schizophrenic.

For all young adults, smoking marijuana nearly doubles the risk of developing recurring psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations - the hallmarks of schizophrenia.

Today's super-potent pot may be a big part of the problem. Modern growing techniques have dramatically increased the amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana - ramping up the threat to the developing teenage brain.

Marijuana and mental illness 30 sec trailer

But there's an intriguing twist to the story: in the process of cultivating more potent strains of pot, growers have also been breeding out a little-known ingredient called cannabidiol that seems to buffer the effects of THC. So today's high-octane pot actually contains a double-whammy - more psychosis-producing THC, and less of the protective CBD or cannabidiol. See the full documentary:

Research from the UK (reported in the Telegraph)

The number of cannabis users suffering serious mental or behaviour disorders has increased by half in just four years.
In 2008, leading psychiatrists warned people who smoked super strength were 18 times more likely to suffer a psychotic episode.
“Skunk (super strength pot), which accounts for about 80 per cent of the UK market has an average THC (a psychoactive ingredient) content of 16.2 per cent and ranges up to 46 per cent.
Old fashioned 60 to 70s cannabis had around 1-2 per cent THC.

Research from the UK (reported in the Daily Mail)

Cannabis is a threat to mental health.
Cannabis use is now the biggest single cause of serious mental disorders in the UK, a leading expert warned yesterday.

Up to 80 per cent of new patients at many units have a history of smoking the drug, said consultant psychiatrist Professor Robin Murray.

The stark message comes just three weeks before the Government officially downgrades cannabis to Class C, putting it on the same level as growth hormones and prescription painkillers.

Doctors fear the change will wrongly lead young people to believe the drug is harmless and that more people will try it as they are unlikely to be prosecuted.

Professor Murray, head of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, said the vast majority of psychotic patients - those who lose contact with reality and are unable to function in their daily lives - have used cannabis.

He added: "Since then, there have been at least four studies that show the use of cannabis, particularly in young people, can significantly increase the likelihood of the onset of psychosis."

Professor Murray himself led a study last year which showed that cannabis users are seven times more at risk of developing mental illness than the population in general.

Experts believe the figures reflect the fact that cannabis typically contains ten times as much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the crucial ingredient which induces the feeling of being "high" - today as it did in the 1960s and 1970s.

Pot and Cancer
Cannabis also causes cancer and lung disease and doctors say it could be responsible for 30,000 deaths a year in the UK.

The Netherlands (reported by BBC)
The famous cannabis-selling coffee shops of the Netherlands are facing new tighter restrictions.
The Dutch government is reclassifying high-strength cannabis to put it in the same category as hard drugs.

It says the amount of the main active chemical in the drug, THC, has gone up, making it far more potent than a generation ago.


Marijuana users sometimes report that pot enhances their desire for sex. But a new review of research on marijuana and sexual health suggests that male smokers could be courting sexual dysfunction. Rany Shamloul, a physician with appointments at the University of Ottawa and Queen's University in Canada as well as the University of Cairo, said "It's a strong message to our younger generations and younger men.”
See more at: http://www.livescience.com/12825-marijuana-men-sexual-function.html#sthash.caagytyZ.dpuf

From Brown University
A variety of physical risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Factors that may be present for younger men include:
Substance abuse - Chronic use of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs can cause erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual drive.

Northwoods Ministries 

Aside from erectile dysfunction, male marijuana users have a decreased capacity to father children.

Many of the statistics quoted above are likely to increase, perhaps dramatically, as super strength pot was becoming more and more popular while some of these studies were in progress.

My personal observations of people who smoke pot regularly is that they simply stop maturing. If they started smoking pot at 15 years of age and continued for 25 years, at 40 they would still act, talk and even dress like they did when they were 15. Even their taste in music would not change. And those observations were mostly made before super strength pot became popular.

This may not be true of everyone, but I have seen it frequently enough to know that it is often the case. Look at the people you know who smoke pot. Do you know anyone like that? Do you know any young people who have suddenly become psychotic? I'll bet you do.