Cannabis users face an increased risk of schizophrenia
Regular use of cannabis appears to lead to serious mental illness. Researchers have now found that cannabis users are five times more likely to develop schizophrenia than people who have never smoked cannabis.
Scientists at Copenhagen University Hospital’s Mental Health Center found that regular cannabis use increases the risk of schizophrenia. The doctors presented the results of their study at this year's conference of the International Early Psychosis Association.
Cannabis dangerous to mental health?
Apparently, cannabis use leads to a higher risk of mental health compared to all other substances, including so-called class A drugs, the scientists explain. If users regularly use cannabis, the risk of developing schizophrenia increases 5.2 times compared to non-users. Alcohol increased the risk of schizophrenia 3.4 times, hallucinogenic drugs 1.9 times, and amphetamines increased the risk 1.24 times, the experts add.
Scientists are studying the medical data of more than 3.1 million people
For their study, the Danish researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 3.1 million people in order to find a possible link between the use of cannabis and the development of schizophrenia.
Strong cannabis is responsible for many cases of psychosis
The doctors suspect that the hormone dopamine released by cannabis could trigger disorders in people, which then lead to increased susceptibility. There was a study last year that showed that very strong types of cannabis are responsible for one in four cases of psychosis, the Danish experts explain.
Cannabis affects the brains of consumers and can cause schizophrenia
Positive campaigns about the effects of cannabis claim that there is no evidence of the development of psychotic disorders from cannabis use. Affected people may have previously suffered from schizophrenia. But researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital’s Mental Health Center said there is evidence that cannabis affects the brains of consumers, leading to schizophrenia.
Effects of cannabis abuse on pregnant women
When pregnant women use cannabis, the chances of schizophrenia in their children are even six times higher, the researchers report. This suggests that the effects of the drug can be passed on in the womb and a child in the womb does not voluntarily take up the substance, but has no choice. "For me, the current results mean that cannabis is a causal mechanism of schizophrenia," explains Dr. Carsten Hjorthøj from the University of Copenhagen. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder related to dopamine and cannabis-altered dopamine levels, the expert added. (as)