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Long-term cannabis use can double risk of psychosis

March 4th 2010 06:27
I'm really sorry but due to some problems Orble is having at the moment I can't get my pictures on, but time marches on and there are some wonderful views that I do not wish for you to miss out on. This has been going on for several days and the situation is becoming intolerable and unmanageable from my point of view.

My apologies to all my steady supporters and to any new ones who happen along. I do hope the situation is remedied soon as it becomes very time consuming to keep trying and be continually rejected in trying to get a picture up. The odd one does go through, but no sooner done than it fails to operate again.

What I provide is the best I can do under the current circumstances.

From: LONDON (Reuters) - Young people who smoke cannabis or marijuana for six years or more are twice as likely to have psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions than people who have never used the drug, scientists said on Monday.


The findings adds weight to previous research which linked psychosis with the drug -- particularly in its most potent form as "skunk" -- and will feed the debate about the level of controls over its use.

Despite laws against it, up to 190 million people around the world use cannabis, according to United Nations estimates, equating to about 4 percent of the adult population.

John McGrath of the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia studied more than 3,801 men and women born between 1981 and 1984 and followed them up after 21 years to ask about their cannabis use and assessed them for psychotic episodes. Around 18 percent reported using cannabis for three or fewer years, 16 percent for four to five years and 14 percent for six or more years.

"Compared with those who had never used cannabis, young adults who had six or more years since first use of cannabis were twice as likely to develop a non-affective psychosis (such as schizophrenia)," McGrath wrote in a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry journal.

They were also four times as likely to have high scores in clinical tests of delusion, he wrote, and a so-called "dose-response" relationship showed that the longer the duration since first cannabis use, the higher the risk of psychosis-related symptoms.

A study by British scientists last year suggested that people who smoke skunk, a potent form of cannabis, are almost seven times more likely to develop psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia than those who smoke "hash" or cannabis resin.

Previous studies had also suggested smoking cannabis can double the risk of psychosis, but the British study was the first to look specifically at skunk. Skunk has higher amounts of the psychoactive ingredient THC which can produce psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.

McGrath said, however, that "the nature of the relationship between psychosis and cannabis use is by no means simple" and more research was needed to examine the mechanisms at work.

As part of his study, McGrath and his team looked at links between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms among a group of 228 sibling pairs and found the association still held. This suggests other influences like genes or the environment were less likely to be responsible for the psychosis, they said.

A international group of drug policy experts published a book earlier this year arguing that laws against cannabis have failed to cut its use but instead led to vast numbers of arrests for drug possession in countries like Britain, Switzerland and the United States, which cause social division and pointless government expense.

(Editing by Myra MacDonald)


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16 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by Lester Caudill

March 4th 2010 13:42
Hey Katyzzz I still can't vote on your blog unless I comment, but sometimes I just don't have the time to give a good shot, but do try to vote, I wish they would get the problem fixed.

This is a interesting article, I am glad I don't have to worry about this for myself, but my brother was a heavy user, and it shows.

Comment by katyzzz

March 4th 2010 16:16
I understand the 'time' problem, Lester, I know you are always with me, and it is so sad to hear about your brother, they are always the last who want to know, but the most who should.

If only we could turn back the clock for some people and influence them not to do it.

The current young do not want to know either, they always find out too late and they and those around them suffer for it.

'Tis a sad, sad, world in which we live.

I too wish Orble would fix all the current problems.

And the world would fix the disastrous mess it has created with too much licence for one and all. They produce suffering and not always for only those who deserve it.

Comment by Someone

March 5th 2010 02:56
That study sounds a little flawed? I smoked more than 6 years ago... but then had a break for a few years.

I mean.. someone who smokes non-stop for 2 years, in this study, would be rated as less of a user than someone who did it occassionally (say once a month) for 6 years.

Comment by katyzzz

March 5th 2010 03:27
All studies are a little flawed and there are not always studies done on what we can see happening around us. But hiding one's head in the sand does not work and there is a stack of evidence that smoking pot is harmful, have you ever looked at any when you're 'sober' the cannabis smokers I mean.

I have, they were spaced out of their minds.

But your comments are welcome and I'd like to see a few others responding, they have much to learn. And maybe a little something to give.

Comment by jon

March 5th 2010 07:00

Comment by katyzzz

March 5th 2010 07:47
Not laced with cannabis are they? Let's hope it keeps working, I think I've been doing this for long enough to know when there is a problem. How is photography tips going?

It's great to have a visit from the big guy himself, pity you're too old for me.

Monkey see, monkey do, it has been said.

Comment by Quintin J Watt

March 5th 2010 10:41
Katyzzz - nice to be back .. sorry for the absence. Still getting notifications of all your new blogs, many of which look interesting and which I've filed for when I get time to read them (!) ..

This one though, grabbed me IMMEDIATELY as one I must reply to. Weak and pathetic are most of the warning posters and government messages there have been about the dangers of using habitually even the so-called 'recreational' drugs like pot and the like - in all their various forms - here in the UK and, it would seem, they've not been much more effective elsewhere either, such as in the US.

It should be remembered that most addicitve drugs (and make no mistake, these drugs ARE addictive - however 'recreationally' used) have also an effect of distorting proper judgement, not only while 'spaced out' on them, as you rightly point out, but even chronically in habitual use ... as do such drugs as tobacco and alcohol (oh yes, these are drugs too!) and as can all destructive addictive and compulsive behaviour - gambling, compulsive eating, excessive exercise and extreme dieting, even being a 'shopaholic' (so-called 'retail therapy' or no) .......

All lead to what I have called (and I am still fully researching this) a kind of 'meta-dopamine effect'. High sugar foods and some high-calorie foods generally do this also .. it's what we colloquially call the 'sugar rush' .. but it actually exists as a biochemical phenomenon, with also deep-reaching mental/psychological ramifications also - and it's not just from sugar, it's from all these destructive addictive behaviours ...

Not all such pleasure-seeking activity is bad. A 'meta-dopamine' effect can be had by many other ways - such as affectionate love-making (!), some artistic activities, making something go really well in work, some kinds of sport (but not to compulsive excess), mild exercise, even simply going for long walks, doing a good job around the house or in the garden or taking a very refreshing shower, or having a beautiful dream! .. to name but a few.

One aspect of the 'jugement clouding' effect caused by biochemical addictions, is, of course, the apparent blindness and unwillingness on the part of the addictee to consider any long-term ill effects which this might be having upon him or her. This is already well established in the case of 'hard' drugs such as heroin and hallucinogens such as LSD. But it is true, in fact, of ALL destructive or potentially destructive addicitve beahviour - as any long-term addictive gambler or alcoholic will admit (indeed, admisssion of this is usually a first prerequisite to being helped and to permanent recovery).

It is also a symptom of many kinds of psychotic illness. That this is indeed so is shown by the fact that some of these drugs were actually in the past used (before their addictive effects were fully understood) to artificially induce some psychotic conditions in the 'laboratory'. The infamous Dr. Timothy Leary (of 'turn on, tune in and drop out' 1960's fame!) was one of those who first experimented (rather irresponsibly in his case) with these in the 1950's, or earlier.

In my work, I know of oh so many who once have fallen victim to the 'mild' addictions of subsatnces like pot and its ilk but who now, seeking a 'cleaner', healthier better life, without the need for incessant 'detoxes' followed by relapses, have come to me. As I often say, and advise them, the best way to 'detox' is not to 'tox' in the first place!

ALL drugs, incuding all medically prescribed drugs actually, have side effects - they are all biochemical substances which are not natural to your body and as such are, to some degree, a species of toxins (like alcohol) which your body will often try at first to reject - as it does by vomitting, painful wind, excessive bowel movements, urination and so forth ... how many still remember how their first cigarette made them cough, feel dizzy, gave them a headache, maybe (if they smoked a lot in one go) made them throw up?
Sound familiar? Thought so.

Every time you're on a 'high' from all this which I have called desructive 'meta-dopamine' and this addictive/compulsive behaviour - like any gambler who thinks he's on a 'winning streak' or on a 'roll' and just can't quit ... and like absolutely ANY habitual drug user (including users of all so-called 'recreational drugs') - you will NEVER be interested in what the 'come down' will be like or what it is doing to you, and to your life even, long-term.

Fortunately, though, the user of the 'milder' 'recreational drug', like the very light smoker or the mild alcoholic, is much better able to make the decision now ... not to QUIT (NEGATIVE!) but to begin a new life free from further need to take this stuff and with other (less potentially harmful) ways of getting pleasure, thrills, even 'meta-dopamine' effects (yes such ways do indeed exist - see above, and many many more)!

Quintin J. Watt, Mental and Spiritual Healer

Comment by Techno

March 5th 2010 13:14
oops sorry, wrong spot

Comment by katyzzz

March 5th 2010 13:18
Quintin, it's great to hear from you and with such positive and TRUE things to say, there is so much gobbledygook about ...oh, it doesn't hurt you and so many who fall victim to such attitudes, they are the ones who suffer, not the ones who spread those views.

'tis a sad, sad, world in which we live.

Good luck in your courageous and very valuable work, it makes sense to me.

Comment by Jason King

March 6th 2010 05:57
I think the flaw - I think it's already mentioned above - with this study is that long term use mixed with heavy usage will lead to the issues discussed. Not just sharing a joint every week for 6 or so years.

I was a long term user - 15yrs and towards the end over $250- a week to myself on the drug. This, coupled with the fact I was still working 80hrs a week over 3 jobs (fully coherantly I might add) led to anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression and a massive panic attack in the harbour tunnel which led to ambulances etc. I then was medicated for 9 months and had to have over a month off from work. But it was not just the drug that caused it - it was my life situation - I hated my job and the people I worked with and I also worked graveyard shift (11pm - 7am) as a night porter. I got about 4 or 5 hrs sleep at work (this was allowed) and then I would come home, have breakfast, a coffee, and a cone and then head into the city for my 9-5 job. It was stupidity but I could not say no to money

Basically every night I was not regenerating during sleep - caused by no vitamin b and drug use and erratic sleep caused by guests arriving and international enquiries.

I took 5yrs off smoking at all and felt the better for it - it was a hard slog and I became a new person - occasionally now I will smoke a joint socially but I will never put myself in that stupid situation, which began as something to look cool with at school. When I think of the things I missed out on I shudder - no uni and mum mentions that with all the money I literally blew on it I could now be driving a Ferrari - too showy a car anyway - definately a Porshce for me

I always find these studies interesting - I was actually a guinea pig for NDARC to get me off pot once - and it worked for 3 months - better than nothing.

All things in moderation and if you have an addictive personality steer clear of anything that could be detrimental to your health - works for me now, although my new addiction is exercise and I am loving it!!

Comment by katyzzz

March 6th 2010 06:19
You must have had a really rough time of it Jason, but the end result now seems to have put you on the right track, but why at all now, even if you regard it as merely social, I wouldn't and couldn't and there are other ways for maintaining and gaining friendship.

As I've said before and often, 'tis a sad sad world in which we live, drugs we could do without, life is hard enough.

Thanks for sharing this poignant story with us and I hope many get to read it and benefit from it.

Comment by Jason King

March 6th 2010 06:26
I still enjoy it occasionally - I don't do it for social reasons but partake occasionally socially.

I also think I am now more grown up, let's hope so.

To me - it is now like sitting down for a cognac or a cigar. Something to be enjoyed as a rare treat. This way I also know there will never be a falling off the wago (so to speak). I get an occasional enjoyment but know exactly what it can do if not repsected.

The one drug I wish this world never discovered was alcohol - to me it ruins way too many lives.

In a perfect world with me at its head I would make cigarettes illegal, alcohol and pot only in the enclosure of homes but not sold over venue counters. If mild pot was available to the masses as opposed to alcohol it would be a much more peaceful world - but these are my weird views and not many would agree.

Comment by Jason King

March 6th 2010 06:27

Comment by katyzzz

March 6th 2010 07:52
I recognize the problems with alcohol too, but I'd ban ALL drugs and more caution with medically prescribed ones and vitamin tablets and drinks.

I think it would be really good if people learned to relax and to enjoy themselves, overcoming their inhibitions to socialiising by realising that none of us are perfect and it doesn't hurt to let your deficiencies show.

Drugs just give you the delusion that everything is OK.

And the habits are hard to break.

We've all but done it with cigarette smoking, now it's time for the rest, I go and smell the roses and try to engage my mind free of the effects of druga.

Comment by Quintin J. Watt

March 6th 2010 16:35
Katyzzz - thank you for all your good wishes and encouragement. Spread the word for me! I MUST disagree with you, however, about your desire to ban the use of vitamins - or did I misunderstand you on that? Vitamins, of course, can be abused or overused .. so can food and certain types of it!! I'm sure you don't want to suggest we ban food ? I jest, of course!

Vitamins are NOT drugs. They are nutritional supplements; they are NATURAL substances and therefore not alien to your body's biochemistry. Now, they are NOT of course any subsitute for eating right. And they, like even humble sodium chloride, aka common salt, or sucrose - table sugar - can become toxins if taken in excess. Even a vast excess of water comsumption can kill you - but it would have to be truly VAST!!!

Your story is salutory Jason King, and as katyzzz says, it is corageous of you to share it with us. Thank you. Katyzzz is right, though, to still 'do it socailly' - take pot, you mean, presumably - is wrong-headed. Is that not, from what you say, exactly how you got 'hooked' on the habit in the first place? It sounds to me - dare I be the one to judge here? - as if you have indeed at some point - presumably after your hair-raising experience, with which I do sympathise, made a kinda decision to QUIT ... it is rather like the smoker who decides he'll 'cut down a lot' but doesn't actually give it up. It rarely works, as I'm sure you know.

Next great life crsisis, will you reach back for the habit again, like so many 'SEMI-reformed' smokers, gamblers, alcoholics do ... who have merely 'cut right down' but not actually changed their lives? Be honest with yourself! To kick the habit altogether requires a whole new way of thinking and living. If you still keep company with those who 'do' it - socially, 'recreationally' or whatever other eupemism you wish .. you will NEVER be wholly free of it. Perhaps you don't want to? Again, be honest: with yourself!

'Go smell the roses' well - with all the greatest respect to katyzzz - maybe THAT won't do it for you. It probably wouldn't for me either, if I'm being honest! But, like I've said, there really ARE many many ways of getting a real buzz and thrill: without any substance abuse, without spending your very last dime - to coin a cliche - and without becoming trapped in a behaviour pattern which you know, like the habitual gambler, is master of you - not servant!

That's why I say: just decide to QUIT per se - it seldom works. It's negative. It's about GIVING UP something ... something you actually enjoy ... when you're on a 'high' from it, as I've already said. You gotta find something in your life that can make you feel as good - or maybe a whole range of things - and ones that will make you feel wonderful whilst enhancing, rather than destroying, all the rest of your life. I can't tell what those things will be. But I know sure as hell it will mean you gotta make some life changes.
Takes courage? Yep! You'd be surprised what a 'meta-dopamine' effect you can get just from the sheer feeling of triumph in succeeding in that. But sure you sound like you got the guts - not everone has, alas, as I so sadly have seen. I believe you will, could, anytime you choose to.

As to what you said about your body's B vit levels ... and take note here will you please, resepctfully, katyzzz?: MOST drugs - including caffeine - of which so many Amercians consume so much, alas! - do indeed destroy your body's natural viatmin reserves; especially the B vitamins. Depletion of these can result in anxiety, edginess, exhaustion, depression and, almost invariably, insomnia .. this last makes all the others aforsesaid MUCH MUCH worse. All this sounds a bit familiar doesn't it? I'm sorry that it does.

Many recovery programmes which have been successful do, indeed, include a fairly prolonged course of vitamins and some, in fact, for life thereafter- IN ADDITION, of course, to sensible eating, sleeping and life planning for a manageable workload, with space for 'me' time, liesure and pleasure time, relaxation time ... oh yes, make no mistake, we all need this - and guilt-free too! ... and, of course, family time.

So many people in the business world, stressed up to the eyeballs, have allowed their work to ensalve them, robbing them of all this. It is physically, mentally and spiritually most unhealthy and eventually will cost them dear:- heart conditions, broken marriages and families, nervous breakdowns, even suicides ... unfortunately, I've seen some of it.
That is why I always insist on taking a holistic approach with all my clients - and, for those who come to me with addictive/compulsive behaviour problems of many kinds -including 'workaholics' ; oh, they DO exist! - this will invariably mean majorly restructuring their lives. Anything else, frankly, is a fudge, a quick fix, a sticking plaster. It's NOT a cure! And it won't really work, not in the long term.

'Everything in moderation' - no, I cannot agree. Rape in moderation, crime in moderation, incest and adultery in moderation, violence in moderation .... drugs in moderation? NO! NO!! NEVER!!!

Quintin J. Watt Mental and Spiriual Healer

Comment by katyzzz

March 6th 2010 23:50
Quintin, thanks for the extra input, with that I agree, I still have my reservations about vitamins, getting the correct doses in the food is the best approach, but they may serve their purpose in some particular incidences as do medically prescribed drugs, so I don't really take much issue with anything you say.

I think your work sounds great and I hope you are appreciated, roses don't do it, try gardenias, they're intoxicating, but a job well done and I accept the issues you have with me.

I'm a big girl, more than happy to take it.

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