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Young Men Who Heavily Use Cannabis At Risk For Schizophrenia

May 10, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to the New York Post, recent study suggested that heavy cannabis use in young men may increase their risk of developing schizophrenia. The findings, published on May 4 in the journal Psychological Medicine, indicate that up to 30% of schizophrenia cases in men aged 21 to 30 could have been prevented if they had not developed cannabis use disorder (CUD).

The study focused on recent cases of schizophrenia, a mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking. The researchers noted that CUD played a significant role in 15% of cases among men aged 16 to 49 and 4% of cases among women in the same age range.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it impacts 3 in 10 marijuana smokers.

“When you’re looking at cannabis use, or substance use in general, men tend to be on the higher end of the [consumption] spectrum than women,” Dr. Scott Krakower, a psychiatrist at Northwell Health’s Zucker Hillside Hospital, told The Post. “They may also be more prone to sensation-seeking behavior.”

Limited regulation and legalized weed and certainly isn’t helping, the doctor noted.

“A kid could smoke a lot and nothing is going to happen to them [but] god forbid your kid is predisposed and they get a psychotic disorder,” he said.

“The brain is at its peak developmental years from 12 to 20,” Krakower said. “When marijuana comes into the picture, the normal brain development is impaired.”

 

A study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences has shown that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in marijuana was typically less than 1.5% in 1980. However, in modern times, certain cannabis products are reported to contain THC levels exceeding 30%. Concentrated derivatives such as oils and edibles may even possess THC levels surpassing 95%.

“A lot of these products are mislabeled. When you’re looking at the weed market, nothing is regulated — you always have to know in the back of your head if you’re having 5 mg you might be having 10 or 15, there’s no way of knowing,” Krakower said.

CUD is defined as the persistent use of marijuana despite negative consequences on one’s health and social life, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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