While some believe that smoking cannabis is beneficial to the body and mind, new research suggests that the plant actually has unwelcoming side effects after it is smoked just five times. Scientists are now sharing that the drug, often smoked by youngsters, leads to mental health issues, even leading some to suicide. Researchers at the University of Oulo have concluded that these issues are more likely to occur if you start smoking at a young age, and the earlier someone is when they start smoking, the more likely they are to see these mental issues start to surface.
The news of this new research is aligned with the recent super-strength skunk that has flooded Britain’s illegal market, leading campaigners to emit caution.
In a landmark study conducted two years ago, skunk was responsible for a quarter of new cases of psychosis. This part of the drug is potent and has been linked to the study that associated cannabis to psychosis.
The British Journal of Psychiatry published the findings of the recent study after 6,000 volunteers were monitored from when they were 15 until they were 30 years old.
According to the estimates, one percent of the population suffers from psychosis, which includes severe distress, hearing voices, psychosis, and delusions.
“We found that young people who had used cannabis at least five times had a heightened risk of psychoses during the follow-up,” said PhD student Antti Mustonen. “Our findings are in line with current views of heavy cannabis use, particularly when begun at an early age, being linked to an increased risk of psychosis. Based on our results, it’s very important that we take notice of cannabis-using young people who report symptoms of psychosis.”
Mustonen’s is recommending that we strive to prevent the use of cannabis at an early age.
In a different study, there was a correlation between smoking cigarettes and psychosis. The study, which was published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, showed that teens who smoke ten cigarettes a day have a higher risk of developing psychosis, and this risk rises if the habit starts before the age of 13.
Professor Jouko Miettunen, who is leading the study, found that the risk is evident even when using other possible risk factors, including family histories.
“Based on the results, prevention of adolescent smoking is likely to have positive effects on the mental health of the population in later life,” said Mustonen.
There is also the fact that those with mental health problems are more likely to smoke.
“We need to do much more to encourage people with mental health problems to think about quitting and provide them with the help to do this,” said York University mental health lecturer, Ian Hamilton. “Smoking is one of the main reasons that people with severe mental health problems die decades before those who don’t, something that we can potentially improve.”
One commenter made a point about the impossibility of convincing cannabis lovers that the drug causes negative side effects…
“You will never convince cannabis fans of its downside. In itself, it may not be addictive but the feelings it creates are. They are addicts just like any other. I have known many cannabis users and all of them, even older ones, display symptoms of paranoia and “poor me” to a degree. What terrifies me is the number of people who are driving having smoked without any fear of the consequences.”