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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Schizophrenic Epidemic and Marijuana Use

Yes, there is an increase in psychosis and schizophrenia over the last few decades.  No one is denying it, and all studies point towards a genuine upward track.

I found several very interesting articles linking marijuana use to this rise, along with the general societal stigma of mental illness:

I find it right annoying that people want to call marijuana 'safe' when we pull toys off the shelves because less than 1% of the users suffer a preventable injury.  The numbers for marijuana brain-injury are much higher.

Yes, I said "marijuana brain-injury."

These studies demonstrate that marijuana is linked to lowering IQ points, along with triggering psychosis and schizophrenia.  The brain is being injured by marijuana.

You may think that I am being hypocritical because I think that marijuana should remain illegal, whereas I am not calling for a new Prohibition when some studies point to 8% of Americans as being problem drinkers or alcoholics (actual medical diagnosis for alcoholism is around .06%).  Here's why I think there is a difference:

We have laws banning underage drinking, which are important because the human brain continues to develop until age 25, and we know that alcohol consumption during development has negative consequences.  However, after this critical time, long-term severe brain damage (the proverbial 'wet-brain') takes a level of alcohol consumption that most alcoholics never achieve.  Studies are showing that it takes far less marijuana to do the type of long-term damage that alcohol can rarely accomplish.

Perhaps this has to do with the fact that the body does not fight THC as it does alcohol, or that marijuana is now so much more powerful than it once was prior to hybridizing and concentrating.  The reasons are so much less important than the results: 'moderate' amounts of marijuana have a significantly deleterious effect on the brain for a significant segment of the population.

So, you may drink and run the risk of being addicted, or you can smoke pot and run that risk as well as irreversible brain damage.  After all, the type of psychosis and schizophrenia they are talking about isn't temporary.

I think the increase in marijuana use, coupled with its increased THC levels, has much to do with the modern spike in psychosis and schizophrenia.  This is a message that should not be tucked away in medical journals because marijuana has become a political issue.

If you are concerned about public health, then this is really something that should be discussed as more than just an attempt to "kill everyone's buzz."

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