Teen Marijuana Use Increases Psychosis Risk


The evidence is piling up that teens who use marijuana on a regular basis are increasing their chances for developing psychosis, a pattern of unusual thoughts or perceptions, such as believing the television is transmitting secret messages. Regular marijuana use also increases the risk of developing schizophrenia, a disabling mental health disorder that not only causes psychosis, but also problems concentrating and loss of emotional expression. In many cases, a person with schizophrenia is confined to living their life in a mental health facility.


In a recent study done at Harvard Medical School researchers followed 2,000 teenagers as they became young adults, young people who smoked marijuana at least five times. Those students were twice as likely to develop psychosis within a ten-year period.

Hereditary Factor

Many mental illnesses are hereditary schizophrenia and psychosis is among the list of hereditary mental illnesses. A teen that has a parent or a sibling with one of the two conditions has a one in ten chance of also having one of the conditions. When a predisposed teen abuses marijuana, they double their risk to a one in five chance of developing schizophrenia or psychosis.


Research on how the brain is affected by marijuana and other illicit drugs is still being studied. Scientists have a fairly good grasp on how dangerous marijuana and other drugs can be for the brain but just how much damage can be done by drugs is still unknown.

Source: Harvard Health Publications


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