New Research: Dramatic Increase Of Psychosis In Teenage Marijuana Users
As marijuana is becoming more available in the United States – including not only the physical but also the economic, social and psychological availability – evidence shows that more and more children and young people are taking up use of marijuana. For many it is leading to serious problems.
This is not a novel concern. There’s vast evidence showing an increased risk for mental health issues among teenagers. Reporter Sue Bailey of the Canadian Press has produced the latest story and it includes interviews from front-line workers who deal with the teenage victims of marijuana.
“I see more and more cases of substance-induced psychosis,” says Dr. Suntharalingam, who works at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa (CHEO).
“The most common substance that’s abused is cannabis.
“They will present with active hallucinations. Parents will be very scared. They don’t know what’s going on. They’ll be seeing things, hearing things, sometimes they will try to self-harm or go after other people.”
Earlier this March, research from Harvard Medical School concluded there exists a “need for widespread education and intervention efforts among youth” after finding teens who started smoking marijuana before 16 were harming their brains. Findings showed that teens using marijuana had poorer scores on tests determining brain damage than the teenagers who started using marijuana later or who did not use it at all.
Another study published in 2012 and conducted in New Zealand tracked over 1,000 adolescents finding that those who used marijuana more than once per week suffered a loss of intelligence. They lost upon average 8 points on IQ tests. Alarmingly, the study found that those who went on to quit using marijuana never regained those lost IQ points.
Contrary to what legalisation lobbyists have society believe, marijuana is not harmless.
Harm associated with marijuana use includes among others, road traffic accidents, youth unemployment, as well as physical development and well-being. Evidence shows that marijuana and driving is risky and that people who use marijuana when young have a higher chance of being unemployed by the time they reach their 30s. A study released last month found that marijuana affects growth hormones and can stunt physical development in adolescents.
“Teenagers think that cannabis is harmless,” she said. “It is not. And for some people, it’s particularly dangerous,” explained Dr. Romina Mizrahi, the director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention clinic and the head of the research program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.