A recent study in the Archives of General Psychiatry was created in an effort to prove the hypothesis that marijuana may cause an early onset of psychosis. While the data did show that the use of cannabis was connected with those who experienced psychosis, there is no real way to estimate when the psychosis actually began or if the use of marijuana had an impact on the timing of the psychosis.
The one thing this particular study did accomplish was to promote the school of thought that psychiatry is not a true science, but is instead a matter of guess work and manipulation of social values. Researchers basically took a list of people who had psychosis, then compared them to see who used marijuana. The numbers showed that people who used cannabis experienced psychosis approximately 2 years before those that didn’t.
Researchers then assumed that the cannabis had a causal relationship with psychosis. The fact that no other variables were considered, such as demographics, previous mental health problems and an entire spectrum of other variables simply means that no causal relationship was proved. Yet the researchers involved offer that there is a causal relationship and that the world needs to be warned of these “proven” dangers of marijuana.
Let’s look at some of the facts. Further, let’s hope that the psychiatric community begins to look at some facts along with us.
Timing is unpredictable. Unless there is a genetic disposition or a direct cause, such as is the case in alcohol induced psychosis, psychiatric professionals really have no idea what causes psychosis, much less have the ability to predict the onset of psychosis. If you cannot predict the onset then it stands to reason that you can’t predict if the onset was any earlier than usual for any reason, much less because of one specific herb.
Marijuana may have preventative qualities. Since there is no way to predict the potential age of the onset of psychosis, it’s even possible that those who use cannabis may have actually held off the psychosis through the use of cannabis. After all, there is no evidence to the contrary. Psychotic features are actually common in several mental health disorders. It’s no secret that stress levels often play a role in psychotic breaks. Since marijuana is often used as a stress reducer, it would not be impossible for it to help in the prevention of psychosis.
Cannabis may be used for self medication. The study does actually briefly mention that marijuana may actually be in use by those with psychosis as a way for them to cope with the onset of psychosis. This makes the conclusions of the study even more bizarre since the possibility of the use of cannabis to self medicate for psychotic features would indicate that the marijuana use followed the onset of the psychosis and would therefore have no responsibility for the onset of the psychosis.
Obviously more research needs to be done. There’s no need to make up things about marijuana. That card has been played to death. The hard truth is that cannabis may very well be useful in quelling the stress that can lead to psychosis. In fact, since cannabis is not physically addictive, it could easily eliminate some of the thousands of deaths caused by prescription drugs every year. It’s use could also eliminate some of the side effects that prescription drugs cause and which need to be treated with other addictive prescription drugs.