Cannabis and Schizophrenia

Smoking cannabis can make you nuts?

I’ve been thinking about this for several days now. I know I’m biased on the subject. The existence of this blog makes that quite evident. Even still, I don’t care to go spouting off or making claims that I can’t back up. Not only would that undermine any credibility this blog may possess but it would also put me on the same level as the prohibitionists that make unfounded statements and tell outright lies. ‘Sides, knowingly lying is contrary to my personality. I do my best to be an honest man. In that vein I’ll offer the following caveat; I have absolutely no academic accreditation that would support my following opinion(s). They are worth way less than what you paid for the pixels they are represented on.

So I’ve been thinking about the claims that there’s a causal relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia. Some of my conclusions are based upon various studies I’ve been reading the last several days. A good portion of those studies rely on assumption. The exact mechanisms involved are based upon suggested evidence.

It’s thought that there is a complex interaction between the dopaminergic and cannabinoid receptor system. This is why cannabidiol (CBD) has been eyed as a possible treatment for psychosis. CBD blocks the interaction at the cannabinoid receptor 1. The levels of dopamine and anandamide (anandamide is present in the cerebrospinal fluid) are different in folks suffering from schizophrenia. If THC fiddles with these levels in genetically predisposed people it can act as a trigger. The match that lights the fuze. I’m not prepared to argue.  I do have a few questions.

I would like to read studies on other psychotropics and their relationship with the onset of psychosis. Can, cocaine, LSD, alcohol and\or too many triple mochas flip the switch too? – Accepting the possibility that cannabis may indeed have a role in pushing people on the edge off of the cliff.

I would like to know the amount of cannabis the subjects use(d) and the CBD THC percentages. I have no doubt in my mind if an individual was to be repeatedly injected with THC it wouldn’t take long for them to go bonkers to some degree. We have a big variable here in the foundation of the particular study I’m referring to. (Kristen Mullor-Vahl. Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany).

Okay, this isn’t a question but a statement: Anyone with a family history of mental illness would be wise to refrain from using anything that is brain chemistry altering.

At this point I’ll acquiesce. There may be an association with cannabis use and psychosis in people genetically predisposed. The quoted study itself states that induced psychosis in individuals with normal dopamine and anandamide levels is unlikely. I’m good with letting that ride.

Here’s the flip side;

Several studies done by teams from various New York hospitals and published in the journal Schizophrenia Reasearch suggests cannabis in the treatment of psychosis. I’m not talking CBD. I’m talking whole plant administration.

In one particular report (The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY) 455 patients exhibiting a clinical presentation of SZ were tested for cognitive ability, processing speed, verbal learning, memory, etc. 280 of these people had no history of cannabis use. 175 were actively using cannabis. Yes, the cannabis users scored higher on the testing (no pun intended). Some also report subjective relief from the symptoms of SZ.

The fact is cannabis’ relationship with Schizophrenia is far from understood. I also don’t understand why it is that the studies showing only the possibly negative  association are those most publicized. At this point we truly don’t know.

As I’ve posted before, these are exciting times. Finally, some real science is being done. I don’t prescribe to, “What you don’t know can’t hurt ya’.”


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