Debunking Cannabis Myths Pt. IV: Marijuana Causes Schizophrenia
Distort the research just so, and bam – weed causes psychotic episodes.
Published on March 24, 2016

Ever since we covered a wide range of marijuana myths, we realized conspiracy theories regarding cannabis are being made up on a daily basis. As true connoisseurs, we feel it is vital to keep debunking those rumors at the very same rate they keep popping up on our radar.

Because, let’s face it, the Internet is a highly subjective medium and if you choose your words carefully, you can prove almost anything. Twist a little research every now and then and bam – marijuana causes schizophrenia. And it’s so easy to connect the dots that most people just glaze over facts. Which is why we’re hardcore and by hardcore we mean – we stick to research driven facts.

For years, numerous and dubious marijuana articles have been appearing literally out of nowhere, most of them claiming that cannabis inevitably causes psychosis, specifically schizophrenia, which is a very bold statement. Sometimes, the focus of this blasphemy was on the general population. Other times, the articles were niched, aimed at teenagers who have been smoking marijuana in their teenage years and were, therefore, at a much greater risk of developing the aforementioned condition. Needless to say, that rarely stopped anyone from smoking a joint but it certainly tarnished the already beaten up image of marijuana.

Facts Before Blog Posts

Luckily, the researchers at Harvard Medical School thought there was something iffy about this wild accumulation of assumptions that were starting to clog the Internet. So, researchers did what they do best – researched.

The results they came up with were radical because they contained details, clear distinctions that debunked rumors almost as soon as they went into print in the Schizophrenia Research Journal. If you feel like not going through the entire study, let us sum it up for you. Essentially, the study concluded that schizophrenia is not caused by marijuana abuse solely because of the fact you consumed it. However, if you were genetically predisposed to psychotic behavior, meaning there is a history of it in your family, then yes – marijuana may very well boost the development process.

But that’s a very clear distinction and in even in that case, marijuana is not solely responsible for people developing any form of psychosis. And no, being nervous after you ran out of cannabis does not constitute a psychosis. The research team was led by a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Lynn Delisy, MD. The size of the sample was also no laughing matter since it constituted out of medical histories of 171 people without schizophrenia and 108 schizophrenia patients. With a firm conclusion that cannabis is unlikely to be the cause of any psychotic condition, we can finally put a lid on this myth and consider it officially debunked.

What we believe is the actual root of this rumor is the fact that inexperienced smokers should get educated on strain management. If not, strains rich in THC just might induce psychotic like effects that can sometimes land them a night at the county hospital so that’s definitely something to keep in the back of your head next time you decided to go on a cannabis adventure. Be a responsible consumer, that’s all we’re saying.

Could Cannabis Actually Cure Schizophrenia?

What future researchers have to consider is the fact that cannabis could actually be beneficial in treating schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions. For instance, CBD might play a key role in that regard because it has the exact opposite effect of THC.

Israel is already well ahead of the competition since a company called Tikun Olam managed to produce a strain of cannabis called Avidekel that contains only 1%-2% of THC and over 15% of CBD. And that is actually a major breakthrough because CBD rich strains are not exactly available at every seed shop in the world. In fact, they are very hard to find.

For instance, this piece of research actually tells us that CBD is a helpful little motivator when it comes to activating cannabinoids in the brain that are usually produced naturally by the brain, meaning it alleviates symptoms caused by schizophrenia. It’s really not that hard to get your facts straight, all you really need to do is look in the right direction.

While we realize that not everyone has time to dig through piles of research studies, it’s sometimes enough to take things with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to cannabis, a topic that will remain hot for the next couple of decades.

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Holden Caulfield
A storyteller with several years of professional experience in copywriting, branding and digital production. Currently, he is researching transmedia production and creative technologies while pursuing a degree in ‘Media Studies’ at The New School in New York.
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