June 14, 2019
The frequent use of high-potency cannabis is linked to an increased susceptibility of developing mental health problems in users established a recently conducted study. The study, the largest till date, has been published in the Lancet Psychiatry. Previous research also linked heavy cannabis use with psychosis, especially in the vulnerable population. Now, according to the latest research, the potency of cannabis is also a critical factor as patterns of cannabis use reflected newer incidences of mental disorders in various cities.
The present study projected that nearly 30 percent of the first-time cases of mental disorders were in London and 50 percent of those in Amsterdam could have been avoided if high-strength cannabis was unavailable. This could have meant approximately 60 fewer cases each year in south London. Skunk, a high-potency cannabis, has approximately 10 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance. Such varieties of cannabis have little amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) which provides protection against psychosis.
People with mental disorders used cannabis at some point
The authors reported that they collected data of 901 adults, in the age group of 18-65 years. These patients had visited the mental health treatment facilities in either of the 10 locations in Europe or one in Brazil for treatment for psychosis during a five year period, between May 2010 and April 2015. These patients had received their initial screening of a mental disorder that was not due to chronic drug use or brain tumors.
The researchers also surveyed around 1,200 normal healthy individuals belonging to the same area about their pattern of cannabis use. Based on the names given to the drugs, the strength of the cannabis present in the products was estimated. It was found out that those with a mental disorder would have used cannabis at some point compared to those without the condition. The researchers controlled for multiple factors like education, drinking, and use of other drugs like ketamine.
The probability of developing a mental disorder increased by 40 percent in those users who reported two or more incidences of cannabis use in a week, relative to those who used it rarely. In addition, the chances of having a psychotic disorder increased by three times in those who used the drug daily, compared to those who used it rarely. The daily users of cannabis were at a high risk of developing psychotic disorders in comparison to those who used the drug rarely or used a lower potency.
Risk of developing psychotic disorders highest in Amsterdam
The study found that the risk of developing a psychotic disorder in those who used cannabis daily was the highest in Amsterdam. Here, the chances were seven times higher than among those who never used the drug. Also, majority of the cannabis sold in the coffee shops in Amsterdam is high-strength while some varieties in Netherlands have up to 67 percent THC. Therefore, the incidence of psychosis was higher in Amsterdam. However, the authors also noted that not all the daily users of cannabis developed psychosis, therefore, it is also important to identify other important factors affecting the development of these incapacitating disorders.
The study had certain drawbacks like it depended on the self-reported use of cannabis and population size was also small at each site. Additionally, the CBD and THC content of the cannabis was not measured directly. Further, the authors emphasized that the legalization of cannabis should not encourage an increase in its consumption and an increase in its potency.
Treatment for dual diagnosis is possible
With more and more states legalizing cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use, especially in the United States, it is critical to keep a tab on the number of users getting mentally affected by its use. Cannabis is relatively new in the field of psychoactive drugs and the effects of its short- or long-term use are still not clear. Cannabis has serious addictive properties and can easily cause a substance use disorder. Gradually increasing the dosage and potency of the drug results in the development of psychotic disorders, leading to a dual diagnosis.
Dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders are when a person suffers from both a mental disorder and a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, in many cases, an individual suffering from a mental disorder takes to substance abuse to self-medicate the symptoms. Conversely, a chronic user of substances may develop a mental disorder. In both the conditions, the cycle proves to be vicious, leading to a dual diagnosis.
If you know a person addicted to marijuana and displaying the symptoms of a metal disorder, get in touch with the Invictus Health Group. We understand that battling a dual diagnosis can be overwhelming. It is imperative that one finds a dual diagnosis rehab offering individualized treatment plan as inadequate treatment may increase the chances of a relapse. Call our 24/7 dual diagnosis treatment helpline 866-548-0190 to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment. You can also chat online with our representative for further assistance.