Marijuana Creates ‘Noise’ In The Brain: How Psychosis and Neural Noise Are Related
New research on cannabis shows its psychological effects, and sheds lights on marijuana use as a “medical treatment” and associated long-term effects. A new study on marijuana and schizophrenia may lead to better understanding of the disorder.
Published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the research reports that the central active constituent of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) causes transient psychosis-like effects (neural noise) in healthy participants similar to those observed in schizophrenic patients.
The mechanisms underlying the effects are not yet understood, but the study suggests that this random neural activity, termed neural noise, may be partly responsible for the psychosis-like effects of cannabis. Neural noise comprises random fluctuations within the neural networks that are not associated with a response to internal or external stimuli.
At doses roughly equivalent to half or a single joint, delta-9-THC produced psychosis-like effects and increased neural noise in humans,” said senior author Dr. Deepak Cyril D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, in statement.
First author Dr. Jose Cortes-Briones, a postdoctoral associate in psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, added:
The dose-dependent and strong positive relationship between these two findings suggest that the psychosis-like effects of cannabis may be related to neural noise, which disrupts the brain’s normal information processing.”
The researchers conducted the study with 24 participants during a three-day, double-blind, randomized experiment. If their findings are confirmed, the link between psychosis and neural noise could be helpful in explaining the biology of certain schizophrenia symptoms. A chronic mental disorder, schizophrenia is hallmarked by psychosis and currently has no cure. Understanding the specific neural functions underlying Schizophrenia’s biggest symptom could lead to more effective treatments for the disorder.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) writes:
Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for mental illnesses, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, and anxiety…”