Dagga tied to psychosis recovery trouble

2012-03-01 20:01

Dordrecht - People who suffer an episode of psychotic symptoms may want to steer clear of marijuana afterwards, according to a study from the Netherlands.

Researchers, whose findings appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that people who kept smoking cannabis after a psychotic break tended to have certain problems in recovery.

The effects were fairly small and seemed to be limited to social life and financial independence, rather than mental health symptoms. But the findings did support conventional wisdom that people who have ever suffered from psychosis should avoid smoking marijuana.

"I would advise patients who've suffered from a psychosis and still use cannabis to stop using it," said lead researcher Gunnar Faber, of Yulius Mental Health Institute in Dordrecht, the Netherlands.

"The message is clear that marijuana is not helping people with a history of psychosis," he told Reuters Health by email.

Studies have linked heavy marijuana use to a higher-than-normal risk of having a first episode of psychosis, which usually features hallucinations and delusions, but it hasn't been clear whether people who continue using the drug after a psychotic break have a tougher time recovering.

For the new study, researchers looked at 124 people who had been part of a clinical trial testing the effects of longer-term treatment with antipsychotic medication. All had gone on treatment after a first-time episode of psychotic symptoms.

As part of that trial, the patients were asked about marijuana use. Overall, 21% continued smoking cannabis during the two-year study - and 35% had used the drug before.

By the end of the trial, 53% of study participants had seen their psychotic symptoms go away, with marijuana users just as likely as non-users to recover.

Scoring lower

They also had as good a chance of "clinical recovery," which meant their symptoms were gone and their daily functioning was back to normal, or close to it.

About one-fifth of all patients had a clinical recovery.

Still, cannabis users did show an increased risk of certain "social" problems, scoring lower on questionnaires gauging financial independence and social activities.

"In real life, this could mean that continuing cannabis use has a detrimental effect on social functioning," Faber said.

He noted, though, that any effects would vary from one user to another - and the findings don't necessarily mean that marijuana itself caused the social problems.

Few marijuana users in the study used it heavily, which may help explain why the habit did not seem to have strong effects on recovery, he said.

It's possible that continued marijuana smoking keeps some users from working or going out, though less work and less play might feed people's use, Faber said. Or perhaps some other factor altogether could explain the connection.

Still, the bottom line is that it's best for people being treated for psychosis to avoid, he said. 

  • Ian - 2012-03-01 20:08

    yeah booze as well, its the legal stuff thats the problem...

      RA - 2012-03-03 11:08

      people who make articles who know nothing about marijuana must rather keep it shut....

      RA - 2012-03-03 11:18

      hustle hard, blaze it up harder,know ur enemy-naysayers

      RA - 2012-03-03 11:21

      and watch all them haters die.. 6ft under,nevercuminback

      Patrick - 2012-03-06 11:42

      The issue with this subject is that it's not clear cut and dry. There is a lot of evidence to support MJ helping people with psychosis, depression, etc (particularly landrace sativas) however there is a lot of evidence supporting certain cannabinoids agravating these disorders in people who are gentically predisposed to these disorders. The key point being people who are predisposed to these disorders must be a tad more careful than those who are not. There is a lot of very conclusive research to support cannabis not inducing psychosis in people not predisposed to these disorders, funnily enough most of this research comes from the UK who are very big supporters of keeping cannabis illegal for the whole "psychosis" issue. This whole issue reminds me of antidepressants and other drugs in that category, in some cases they can severely aggrivate psychosis, in other cases they can greatly treat these disorders, it's all the right strain for the right person and taking into account said persons' body chemistry. This subject is definitely not clear, cut and dried yet. As for the legal stuff, proven fact that alcohol and tobacco are the biggest killers in society today. Secondly, prescription drugs and alcohol abuse are bigger culprits to causing psychosis and other mental health ailments.

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 12:55

      Patrick, I don't know if you use ... but you couldn't have said it better. "evidence supporting certain cannabinoids agravating these disorders in people who are gentically predisposed to these disorders" "ARE GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED TO" and that is a well known fact.

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 13:04

      PS. GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED --- this can apply to any legal drug or substance and/or banned drug or substance, not just Hemp.

      sachasea - 2012-03-07 11:59

      The government are out of step with public opinion concerning cannabis/dagga/marijuana. I read countless articles published on the web about cannabis. You only have to read the string of comments following most articles to see how much support marijuana reform has. People are aware of the overwhelming benefits of the plant, with new benefits being discovered almost weekly thanks to active research into cannabis especially in countries like Israel. If the South African government doesn't open it's eyes soon and accept the facts then we will be left behind when we could have become a world leader in cannabis related research and industry.

  • andysor - 2012-03-01 20:53

    So there was no control for causation? I don't see how this in any way shows that marijuana caused lack of financial independence and a social life rather than the other way around. My experience with heavy marijuana smokers is that they tend to prefer to stay home rather than go out and take a few extra sick days if they're feeling tired. It's their personality though...

      Richard - 2012-03-02 09:41

      nah.. I used to be one of those and since I have stopped I lead a healthy active life with a little saved in the bank every month. That being said there are many other heavy smokers who do lead active lives. But rather than assume that it's the person maybe one should consider that not everyone is affected by the same thing in the same way.. I.e. this study (which is obvious and has been known for many years) indicates that SOME people are at risk. Anyway, it has been common knowledge that excessive use of marijuana triggers bipolar in people that have a tendency for it (which is a psychotic disease in the first place).

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 09:49

      @Richard, could you please provide a link about the trigger mechanism for Bi-Polar Disease. I'd like to include it in my research.

  • ZION - 2012-03-02 07:08

    What must I say? Here it comes again and there we go again. Seems NEWS 24 is supplying all the evidence I need without an argument. And all is thus proven for me. Life is good. Not all lies, lies lies. viva NEWS24.

      Buzz - 2012-03-06 07:42

      Haha Zion: Another report that they admit is not conclusive, but you see it as fact. Lol. The phsycosis debate still can't get to what came first, the weed use or the psychosis. This has been the continued chicken and egg problem with these studies for years. Then again, weed is not for everyone and if you have schizo issues you should probably avoid a lot of things other than just weed. All that this study does is highlight the existing hypocrisy of marijuana prohibition. We don't incarcerate those who suffer from diabetes for eating sweets or those prone to heart conditions for eating fatty foods. Neither do we outlaw sweets of fatty foods. Yet we do this with marijuana, when every report done on the legal status of marijuana has concluded that is should not be illegal. Have another Bells Zion.

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 09:45

      See, smoking makes it psycho-active, the heat changes the molecular structure of THC that is the main contributor to the "trippy" feeling. When it is consumed in it's raw, natural form, it's stays non-psycho-active, thus not giving that "trippy" sensation. The medicinal value of the herb is thus about 60times more potent than when smoked. As for CB1 and CB2 receptors, still looking into this. So once again the propaganda is being spread by incorrect information and papers that has not been scientifically verified. But for gullible peoples like ZION, I guess if the 6'o'Clock news says aliens have landed and abducted 25% of earths population, he would believe it with out a doubt. The only current known fact, is that it can affect short term memory in a negative way. But that's going into the CB1 and CB2 receptors that I've not looked into yet.

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 13:02

      ZION why so quiet all of a sudden? Is your LSD fried mind not working right? But I guess in your state of mind you could use some juicing to get those brain cells firing again. Please people, do understand that there are people that use it for recreation only, thus smoking it. Then there are people whom only consume it for its medical properties. Then there are people like me who smoke it for recreation, but also consume it for medical reasons. I can't see myself taking chemicals (pain killers, that's highly addictive) everyday to stop the back pain I have from a accident a couple of years ago. The big thing here is that people only see the complete recreational aspect of using HEMP, and not it's actual medicinal properties, and any other benefit hit has. Yes, at the end of the day, it is still currently a banned substance, but my use has never put anybody else in harms way, nor have I ever harmed anybody while using. It has only put me at easy knowing that I do not have to spend THOUSANDS of rands on pain killers vs. something I can grow in my back yard. Please people, start to think for yourselves, and stop believing the BSP that you have been fed for the last 70years. If this goes on, I will burn every single cotton field I can find, because they are the main culprits for this being a banned substance. We wont miss cotton, really we wont, Hemp can replace it, and is much more cost effective.

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-02 13:16

    So nothing really substantial came out of the study than psychotic patients should avoid weed in recovery . Ground breaking stuff.

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 09:50

      They should not smoke it ... heating it makes it psycho-active, and I can see that this could affect recovery.

  • Buzz - 2012-03-06 08:09

    A very half hearted study. Given that there has been loads of these studies over the decades, we still haven't seen anything conclusive. Every one of these inconclusive studies that are filled with ambiguos and non committal words just highlights how for a hundred years they have been trying to hammer a square peg into the round hole that is Reefer Madness.

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 09:52

      I find it disturbing that these tests are always done on people who smoke it ... never on people who consume it. Do they know anything about the herb at all?

      Buzz - 2012-03-06 14:58

      Agreed PhilipV, there is this constant focus on smoked MJ. It's the crudest form of ingestion but seems to be the only one that studies like these focus on.

  • Buzz - 2012-03-06 08:13

    @News24: Very poor headline for an article that doesn't deal with anything other than speculation. How is dagga "tied" to psychosis recovery trouble? With Unicorn hair?

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 09:56

      Wait, I find it even more disturbing that this "research" does not state the intake method, that's poor reporting on News24s side. Assumptions are the greatest mother of all F&^%#-ups. I rate this article : FAIL

  • imiel.visser - 2012-03-06 11:13

    This article didn't need anything more than: "By the end of the trial, 53% of study participants had seen their psychotic symptoms go away, with marijuana users just as likely as non-users to recover." and what's this? Faber said "Or perhaps some other factor altogether could explain the connection." That doesn't sound very scientific to me... BS Propaganda...

      Buzz - 2012-03-06 15:00

      "BS Propaganda", definitely. The study says much about nothing, but we get another cherry picking article vilifying grass:(

  • Nicholas - 2012-03-06 11:38

    for all you uneducated stupid tards watch this

      PhilipV - 2012-03-06 12:36

      Nicholas, please in future state the length of the clip ... some people have faster connections than others ... so the buffering happens quicker and could thus put a persons job at risk by pulling too much internet traffic ... you know ... firefox has that little option on highlighting a link and open in new tab. Ladies and Gents ... this is a 50min video ... I suggest you open it at home if you have internet usage policies in place at the office.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-03-07 15:52

      "For all you useless -stupid- -tards-"... I have no doubt in my mind that weed is relitavely harmless in comparison to other substances freely available, but a stoner in denial is not harmless... Well not to anyone but himself.

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-03-07 15:46

    Stupid article. Let's do a study on alcohol and psychosis. Mind you, stoners are quite useless too.

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-03-07 16:00

    I Used to live below the lion.

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