Marijuana may Produce Psychotic-Like Effects in High-Risk Individuals

It is becoming more and more obvious with every passing day that marijuana is a superfood with the capacity to heal a large variety of different ailments. These ailments include anxiety, glaucoma, PTSD, Bi-Polar, chronic pain, migraines, headaches, Parkinson’s, ADHD, ADD, schizophrenia, Lumens and much more. The medicinal benefits of THC are unparalleled, as it acts as a cannabinoid found in the human body. But some conditions, specifically psychological ones, are quite complex and there is no saying how different people will react to different strains of marijuana. Despite all the labels pretty much every strain is unique, the same as every individual. People have to test and experiment for themselves as to what is good and what is bad for their particular bodies.

Psychotic Marijuana Effects

A preliminary study completed by the Columbia University Medical Center has found that marijuana may bring on temporary paranoia and other psychotic-related effects in individuals who are at risk of developing a psychotic condition. The study was recently published in Psychiatry Research and has received a considerable amount of traction. The study found that people who were already prone to unusual thoughts, perceptual disturbances, suspiciousness or related psychotic symptoms might find these conditions are heightened upon ingesting marijuana. This might not come as much of a surprise to many regular cannabis users. Some people do not tend to do well on marijuana, experience what is regularly called anxiety. Like alcohol it might not suit some people, and it is a personal decision which needs to be made on subjective experience as opposed to scientific machine-like standards.

There have been a number of studies which have found a link between psychotic disorders and marijuana use, but there still remains a large number of confounding variables. For example, do people smoke marijuana because they happen to be psychotic, or does extended marijuana use render people psychotic? A possible criticism of the study is that it fails to differentiate between the different strains of marijuana, and few studies are capable of doing this. Indica and Sativa dominant strains may have completely different effects on mental and emotional health, yet this is never taken into account with marijuana studies. Senior study author Margaret Haney stated that

Many adolescents and young adults who are at high risk for psychosis smoke marijuana regularly or have a cannabis use disorder,…Yet researchers haven’t studied the effects of marijuana in this population in a rigorous, controlled manner.”

It is true that the effects of marijuana on psychological health have not been fully investigated in the larger population. However, the results and the exposure that this study is getting might be a little overblown. Despite the fact that it was a rigorous study, it consisted of s sum total of 6 test subjects who were high risk and 6 control subjects who were in perfect health. Not exactly what anybody could refer to as a large study set, and extrapolating these findings out to the wider public may be a little premature. After smoking marijuana for an extended time period, both the control group and the test group experience increases in heart rate and in libido. However, only the high-risk group experienced increases in paranoid and anxiety, along with distorted sensory perception and a decrease in cognitive functioning. According to first author Nehal Vadhan:

“Although this was a small, preliminary study, it suggests that marijuana may affect individuals at high risk for psychosis differently than other marijuana users, by briefly inducing psychotic-like experiences and impairing their cognition… While larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, they may aid clinicians in their guidance to individuals at risk for psychosis about marijuana’s potential effects.”

The Study Summarized

To an extent the study has revealed nothing new to many members of the cannabis community. To those who are already susceptible to certain conditions marijuana may exacerbate them to a degree. But only in certain people, and there is a certain holistic argument that this is merely the THC taking its course. In order to get better, perhaps the symptoms have to be expressed or worsened before they get better. This perspective is the opposite of the one currently endorsed by the medical and pharmaceutical complex, which advocates that diseases get better by taking a form of medicine which targets and masks the symptoms.

It would be interesting to see how a large number of people report their psychotic conditions before and after long term marijuana use. It could easily be that they report feeling calmer and more adjusted when after regular marijuana consumption, but in the early healing phase the problems need to run through them and they will see increased symptoms. “No pain no gain” might be an appropriate expression when it comes to holistic health. Needless to say, marijuana should always be consumed with caution, it is not a magic cure-all all and some do respond adversely to the plant.


Geez, there seem to be a lot of people named Ann who write marijuana blogs. Well, that’s my name too, and when I asked my mom why she decided to give me such a mundane label she explained that the name Ann meant God has favored me. My name took on a whole new significance and I no longer thought it boring. And God has favored me – he gave me the gift of the gab and he smiled his approval when I decided to move to San Francisco. I love this city, I love the people, and most of all I love writing about marijuana.

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