Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Monday, May 02, 2005

Psychotic symptoms in susceptible individuals?

Heavy use of cannabis may lead to psychotic symptoms in susceptible individuals

Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J. and Ridder, E.M. (2005) Tests of causal linkages between cannabis use and psychotic symptoms. Addiction, 100 (3)

Cannabis is thought by many to be a harmless recreational drug and is used regularly by people of all ages although research over many years has shown that people who use cannabis regularly are more likely to suffer from schizophrenia. What has not been clear is whether the symptoms are caused by cannabis use or whether people who are likely to develop psychotic symptoms happen also to be more likely to be attracted to cannabis.

In the Addiction paper, Professor David Fergusson and colleagues from the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, in New Zealand used data gathered across the course of a 25 year study of over 1,000 New Zealanders born in 1977. They devised complex statistical models that took into account the possibility that psychosis encouraged cannabis use, and that also adjusted the results for other factors associated with cannabis use. The fact that this was a prospective study allowed the researchers to get a better understanding of the direction of effect. Said David Fergusson “Even when all factors were taken into account, there was a clear increase in rates of psychotic symptoms after the start of regular use, with daily users of cannabis having rates that were over 150% those of non users. These findings add to a growing body of evidence from different sources, all of which suggest that heavy use of cannabis may lead to increased risks of psychotic symptoms and illness in susceptible individuals”.

Blair Anderson
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