cannabis and adult psychosis
cannabis and adult psychosis

Does Exposure to Cannabis as a Young Person Cause Psychosis Later as an Adult?

New headlines claim that using cannabis as a young person can lead to adult psychosis episodes.

Posted by:
Nanci Chi-Town on Tuesday Nov 2, 2021

youth cannabis use adult psychosis

As the legalization of cannabis is sweeping across the United States of America, people with anti-marijuana views have begun to spread different propaganda about the use of cannabis in young adults.

These individuals have painted scenes that are similar to the popular anti-marijuana movie released in 1936 called Reefer Madness. The J.Cashier-directed movie was one of the tools used to instill fear in teenagers when cannabis prohibition was raging hot.

Another example is the 1980 mainstream advert in which the narrator implied that the brain of a cannabis user is less like a broken egg that was getting fried. All these were used to confirm the public against cannabis use.

Now, residents are being told that cannabis use in young adults will result in mental disorders in their later years. Unlike the 1900s when hypes like this were swallowed hook and sinker by the public, things are now different. People truly want to know what experts think about cannabis use in young adults. Are the anti-marijuana camp trying to arouse public fear, or are they telling the truth?


Young Persons, Cannabis, and Later Mental Issues

Over the years, one of the strategies of anti-weed politicians or advocates has been to make unproven claims regarding kids and their health in the future. Mental and health experts disclosed that these claims were a little overboard. Sure, it had some truth in it, however, the truth was bent too much. A recent study was carried out to measure the level of truth in these claims.


The Study

This investigation involved a set of twins; one of them was a heavy marijuana consumer, and the other was not. The team of researchers wanted to examine the effect of cannabis use in young adults and the possibility of it being a major cause of adult psychosis in their later years.

The decision of the team to use twins instead of siblings or unrelated individuals in this research is because studies involving twins give out in-depth information that can be used by the global cannabis community.


More Details About The Study

At the end of the review, the researchers stated that the observed reactions from the study do not support the hypotheses that young individuals who use cannabis have higher chances of developing adult psychosis or schizophrenia than their mates who do not use cannabis.

The researchers added that adult psychosis in individuals who smoked when they were young can be attributed to their vulnerability factors. Like their medical history and genetics.

Associating cannabis use in young adults to an elevated risk of developing adult mental disorders to petrify young persons is a bad tactic that shouldn't be encouraged.


Conclusion of the Study

The researchers wrote that the observed results points that adolescent cannabis use and adult psychosis can be ascribed to familial relations rather than an early exposure of a patient to cannabis use.

The results also imply that the risk of mental harm to young persons due to the use of cannabis products may be exaggerated.

With this study, it is clear that the focus of clinical and public health interventions should be trained on something else that can better impact society.


Young Persons Vulnerable to Mental Illness remain at risk

The above study results do not cancel out the fact that some persons with a medical history of mental disorder or familial connections to it have a high risk of developing a full-fledged psychotic disorder.

Public health interventions can focus on educating young persons to know their health history before using cannabis. A family history of psychosis combined with environmental factors determines whether or not a young person will need extended treatment for psychosis.

A 2019 study showed that vulnerable young persons have an 11% risk of developing schizophrenia after a cannabis-induced psychosis.

A vulnerable person that uses pot won't have their life crashing down unless they overuse the drug. Families have to make their wards aware if there's a family history of serious mental disorders.


Limiting Youth Consumption of Cannabis

Now that it has been established that adult psychosis cannot be linked to early exposure of young persons to cannabis. More attention should be directed towards taking youth consumption seriously.

The human brain continues developing until young persons are in their mid-20s. While cannabis consumption may not pose a risk for the future, the present also matters.

Excessive consumption of cannabis in young persons affects the parts of the brain which are responsible for solving problems and making judgments. Smoking or consuming weed via any method will cause a young person to be vulnerable to psychotic thoughts at their present age.

In 2019, it was reported that a young person, named Madison McIntosh, experienced a psychotic episode after vaping a potent form of THC.

The 24-year-old was rushed to the hospital by his parents after he had wandered around muttering gibberish for about 12 hours. The doctors diagnosed him as suffering from cannabis use disorder and a form of psychosis.

In an interview, McIntosh recalled that he had felt delusional and afraid when he was going through the manic episode.

The more young people misuse cannabis, the more people will be admitted into the ERs for psychotic symptoms. Government and cannabis advocates have to preach safe and responsible ways of smoking cannabis, as well as the accepted limit for young persons.

Dr. Itai Danivitch, Cedars-Sinai head of behavioral neurosciences and psychiatry Los Angeles, commented on the alarming rates of psychotics being observed in admitted patients. Itai said that psychotic symptoms occur when a person uses cannabis products excessively. The psychotic episodes last as long as they remain active in the bloodstream. Once it wears off, psychosis stops.



Youth consumption is a matter that requires urgent attention. Public health strategies need to be reflective of other things that can lead to poor mental health as adults. This will help strike the right balance. Rather than handle this subject by preaching abstinence or maintaining prohibition laws, the situation will be better handled by preaching safe consumption of weed. Lastly, cannabis is not the only intoxicating substance that needs to be studied. Other prohibited substances have to be studied to even out any possibility of psychosis as adults.








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