The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites marijuana as a major public health problem in the United States. Its use has increased 30-fold over the last 20 years, and it is estimated that more than a quarter of the American population has used it.
One of the most dreaded outcomes of marijuana abuse is that it is linked to mental conditions like schizophrenia and hence precipitates dual diagnosis. Several key centers, like the dual diagnosis facilities, come up with cases where mental disorders like schizophrenia stem from abuse of cannabis or marijuana cbd for cats with arthritis to treat stiffness and pain.
A study titled “Cannabis and psychosis/schizophrenia: human studies,” published first in 2009, revealed that “cannabinoids can produce a full range of transient schizophrenia-like positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms in some healthy individuals.” It further stated that for people who already have a psychological disorder, abuse of marijuana will surely exacerbate their conditions.
Marijuana or cannabis has the property of altering perception and has amnesic effects. These effects make it difficult for the user to recall events. To make it worse, marijuana is often used in conjunction with other substances which could lead to overdose. People with mental conditions like schizophrenia often abuse marijuana as self-medication, which only magnifies the problem.
According to another study, regular cannabis use, especially at an early age, proves to be a big risk factor for developing schizophrenia later in life. However, it could not establish a definite relation between the disorder and the substance abuse. The study – Cannabis abuse and brain morphology in schizophrenia: a review of the available evidence – says, “While there is some evidence that chronic cannabis abuse could alter brain morphology in schizophrenia in patients continuing their cannabis consumption, there is no convincing evidence that this alteration takes place before the onset of schizophrenia when looking at first-episode patients.”
The study concluded that only “well-designed studies and the combination of brain imaging and neuro-physiological techniques will open the doors to new possibilities for the investigation of these important questions.”
Ceasing the Use of Marijuana Has Its Benefits
Substance abuse in individuals with schizophrenia is very common, and the fact can’t be denied. It has emerged as the most prevalent comorbid psychiatric condition associated with schizophrenia, often leading to an unfavorable disease course.
Other studies have also suggested that not using marijuana at all or using it only past the adolescent stage could significantly delay or even prevent the occurrence of schizophrenia in people. Abusing marijuana could also trigger relapses in schizophrenia patients, prolonged hospitalization and worsen symptoms.
For those who already have psychotic disorders, using marijuana can aggravate the conditions, worsening the situation further. Hence, a mental patient is advised to quit marijuana which will somewhat improve the situation. Seeking help is a prudent decision for those who find it difficult to quit. In such a scenario, dual diagnosis treatment is the best solution. It incorporates a two pronged therapy by treating the mental condition and addressing the substance abuse problem concurrently.