One of the most staggering and dragging arguments against legal marijuana in America is the continuing decline in mental health.
Some of the biggest critics of the cannabis movement have, at one time or another, argued that once again the population is turning into smokersmental health issues ranging from depression to schizophrenia will be exacerbated.
They think it will eventually turn the United States into a land of madmen. Not that we need any help with that.
Some people have indeed lost their minds after using marijuana. The New York Times’ occasional reports to the Anywhere, USA Gazette appear, of stories where enthusiastic cannabis enthusiasts accidentally entered the temporary lunatic realm after consuming too much THC.
And maybe you’ve also heard a few stories about those who have gone crazy on cannabis after years of heavy use. It would seem that the proverbial cheese can, in fact, slip from the cracker of those pot lovers who fly a little too close to the sun in their quest for the eternal buzz.
Even national cannabis advocates admit there is some truth to these claims.
“Scientists have known for decades that THC is psychoactive and that blood spikes in its main active metabolite, 11-OH-THC, are sometimes associated with temporary feelings of dysphoria, paranoia and even panic attacks” , said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, wrote in a 2007 article discussing a study by Kings College London.
“Concerns that chronic cannabis use may be positively associated with various mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia, have also long existed.”
While many of these fears stem from decades of stigma-related misinformation and speak to precise dosing versus macro-dosing, the question remains.
The prospect of losing their minds, for obvious reasons, makes many nugget newbies a little nervous that catching a crazy case could happen to them or someone they love.
Most of us have enough day-to-day problems without being taken to the laughing factory to spend the rest of our days eating bad cafeteria food on the third floor.
Unfortunately, research on the impact of marijuana on mental health is mixed. Some medical professionals believe that cannabis can definitely lead to mental health issues. Some say the threshold for an impaired mind depends on the person, frequency of use, family history and more.
Ryan VandreyPh.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, subscribes to the latter.
He said Brutality that the development of mental health problems is a potential risk associated with cannabis use, but he admits that certain nuances cannot be ignored. Fortunately, most risks, he tells us, are mostly temporary, and the method of consumption and the concentration of THC make the difference.
“Acute and chronic cannabis use can contribute to negative changes in mental health,” he said. “Most of these are related to the use of cannabis products containing high doses of THC. These are usually time-limited changes that fade within hours, depending on the dose taken. and the route of administration used (oral dosing tends to last longer than inhalation),” he explained.
A person who is too high may experience various unpleasant side effects (anxiety, paranoia, panic, nausea/vomiting and/or hallucinations) after consuming high doses of THC. These side effects can even make a person feel like they are completely losing their shit.
Some of the cannabis advocates we spoke to admit that they have at times been concerned that their mental health was teetering on a very fine line between a bit of anxiety and raving madness.
“I first dabbed at Hash Bash in 2014 and was blown away,” said one Michigan cannabis user Brutality. “Scary experience, I learned that day that there is something like ‘too high’.”
The threat of losing your mind to weed more permanently is more closely related to long-term use and people with a history of mental disorders.
“Chronic use of high-THC cannabis has been associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders,” Vandrey said.
“Risk is higher in people with other risk factors for these conditions, and continued heavy use of high-THC cannabis after diagnosis of these health conditions is generally associated with worsening symptoms of each condition. disorder over time, particularly in cases where cannabis is used for adaptive reasons.”
So, let’s get down to business. Does weed drive people crazy?
We asked Vandrey if he’s ever heard of someone “going crazy” from cannabis use, developing schizophrenia or other serious and debilitating mental health issues.
Although Vandrey maintains a strong association between heavy cannabis use and the early onset of schizophrenia, primarily use that begins in early adolescence, the jury is still out on whether there is a direct link.
As it stands, it doesn’t appear that the padded cells of public hospitals across the country are filled with new or long-time cannabis users who have caught a nasty case of mad marijuana disease.
“Right now it’s a bit unclear whether cannabis use directly ’causes’ the onset of schizophrenia, but there is a clear relationship between cannabis use and psychosis, so people with with schizophrenia are much more likely to use cannabis than those without the disorder, and people who use cannabis are more likely to develop schizophrenia than those who don’t,” Vandrey explained.
So does this mean that people who have been using marijuana daily for decades are potentially one step away from licking windows and banging their heads against the wall? Uh, probably not.
Most crazes, Vandrey continued, are time-limited psychotic episodes and are relatively rare. Considering the millions of cannabis users around the world, there are only a few people here and there who are grabbing their sanity for dear life in an ultra-stoned state. Fortunately, the odds are in your favor.
Yet no one can guarantee that a small recreational use won’t take a bad turn down the line.
“There is no way to guarantee the impact of cannabis use on a person’s mental health one way or another,” Vandrey said. “The longer you wait in life to start using cannabis, the better. Initiation into cannabis use in adolescence, in particular, is associated with negative health outcomes.”
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