Cannabis and Psychosis
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Cannabis and Psychosis: What does recent evidence say?

Excessive consumption of Cannabis is one of the causes of psychosis. Due to genetics and other factors, people who have a high chance of psychotic disorder can be triggered by the use of cannabis. In these kinds of persons, symptoms of psychosis gradually come up. 

The close relation between Cannabis and Psychosis will be extensively discussed in this article.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a condition that affects the way the brain takes in information. This condition can take you away from reality, people with psychosis tend to see, hear and believe things that are not true and real. 

It is a symptom that can be caused by an adverse mental or physical illness, substance abuse, stress, or trauma. According to research, young people are more susceptible to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. It starts from the early teenage years to young adulthood.

How can the use of Cannabis cause Psychosis?

Regardless of the quantity taken, Cannabis is known for its intoxicating properties. Furthermore, people who take Cannabis are at risk of a condition known as “Cannabis induced Psychosis” which causes a shocking disconnection from reality.

Research and Statistics

Studies have connected the use of cannabis to the risks of having psychosis;

  • Recent research suggests that smoking high-potency Cannabis every day could increase the chances of developing psychosis by nearly five times compared to people who have never used Cannabis.
  • Another study found an increased risk of psychosis among adults who had used cannabis in adolescence and carried a specific variant of the gene for catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
  • Additionally, in 2016, about four million Americans aged 12 and over had a Cannabis-use disorder, representing about 1.5 percent of this population group.
  • In 2017, 35 million American adults, or 14 percent of the adult population, were monthly recreational users of cannabis products, while another eight percent (20 million) had consumed Cannabis within the previous year.
  • Furthermore, research conducted in New Zealand found that over  15 percent of consistent Cannabis users had reported symptoms similar to psychosis.
  • Shortly after the legalization of Cannabis in a few states in America, the number of cannabis-related teenager saga has multiplied drastically.

Symptoms of  Cannabis induced Psychosis

Psychosis doesn’t just happen in a day. It gives out a few warning signs before it becomes Full blown;

1).  Warning signs before psychosis.

It starts gradually and changes your perception of the world in general. For instance, these are notable changes you may notice:

  • Trouble concentrating. 
  • Lower grades or performance 
  • Lack of self care and hygiene 
  • Spending time alone. 
  • Mood swings
  • Suspicious around others. 
  • No emotions at all.

2).  Signs of an early Psychosis 

The early stages of psychosis also has its own symptoms, these include:

  • Hear,  see or taste things that others don’t 
  • Distant yourself from family and friends. 
  • Hanging unto unusual beliefs no matter what others say. 
  • Lack of focus and concentration. 

3).  Symptoms during Psychosis

In the process of psychosis, some behaivours will be excited ;

  • Hallucinations 
  • Auditory hallucinations

 This is when you start hearing voices that do not except. 

  • Tactile hallucinations 

When the patient start having strange sensation or feelings. 

  •    Visual hallucinations 

You start seeing things and people that are not  there. 

  • Delusions.

This refers to beliefs that are not the usual and that doesn’t make sense to others, like;

  •  Foreign forces are in charge of Feelings and actions. 
  • Little events or comments  have  huge impact or meaning. 
  • Dissociation or depersonalization.

 People in a psychotic state often feel disconnected from the world and detached from their own minds and bodies.

  • Anxiety and agitation

Psychotic symptoms of anxiety may start out as extreme restlessness or emotional disquiet, before degenerating into paranoia or hostility.

  • Disorganized thoughts and speech. 

Normal speech pattern will change , become garbled and confused due ti the effect of Cannabis Psychosis 

Since cannabis-induced psychosis is associated with frequent or heavy marijuana consumption, there may be signs of drug use as well, which can help identify the cause of the psychotic symptoms.

The symptoms of cannabis abuse include:

  • Euphoria
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Altered perceptions
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Excessive appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed reflexes and poor coordination
  • Impaired memory and thinking processes

Symptoms of heavy drug use before or during a psychotic episode offer significant clues as to the nature of the condition.

How to diagnose Cannabis and Psychosis? 

When psychotic symptoms are experienced, medical professionals may diagnose cannabis-induced psychosis if:

  •  The symptoms cannot be traced to an active, pre-existing mental health condition known to cause psychotic side effects (specifically bipolar disorder and schizophrenia).
  • Psychotic symptoms must have manifested shortly after cannabis use, or within a month after withdrawal symptoms have abated if drug use has been halted.
  • Strong hallucinations and delusions are experienced in connection with cannabis use and are not related to episodes of delirium caused by acute drug intoxication.
  • Psychotic symptoms are not transitory but persist for an extended period and continue to cause serious life disruption. 

To diagnose a cannabis use Psychosis , medical professionals must identify at least two of the following symptoms in people who admit to using the Cannabis continuously for one year or longer:

  • Frequent overuse of cannabis, contrary to intentions
  • Relapses after previous attempts to quit using cannabis products
  • Use of cannabis and recovering from its effects occupies a significant amount of time
  • Consumption continues despite adverse personal consequences (criminal charges, relationship problems, etc.)
  • Cannabis use interferes with daily life responsibilities (parenting, working, attending school, etc.)
  • Cannabis use has been implicated in dangerous or reckless behavior, such as driving under the influence.
  • The use of the drug continues despite it causing physical or mental health problems.
  • Cravings for cannabis occur frequently.
  • Tolerance for the drug has led to escalating usage
  • Withdrawal symptoms are experienced when the drug is not used for a few hours. 

Conclusion 

Cannabis is a common recreational drug. The majority of people who use cannabis are unlikely to develop any lasting mental illness as a result of its use. 

However, continued cannabis use may result in a poorer long-term outcome in those with an existing psychotic disorder. 

Cannabis use may increase the chances of developing psychosis. Its use may also cause psychosis to begin at an earlier age in those who are at a greater risk for psychosis than the general population.

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