Weeding Through The Hype: Interpreting The Latest Warnings About Pot and Schizophrenia

Once again members of the mainstream media are running wild with the notion that marijuana use causes schizophrenia and psychosis.
To add insult to injury, this latest dose of reefer rhetoric comes only days after investigators in the United Kingdom reported in the prestigious scientific journal Addiction that the available evidence in support of this theory is “neither very new, nor by normal criteria, particularly compelling.” (Predictably, the conclusions of that study went all together unnoticed by the mainstream press.)
Yet today’s latest alarmist report, like those studies touting similar claims before it, fails to account for the following: If, as the authors of this latest study suggest, cannabis use is a cause of mental illness (and schizophrenia in particular), then why have diagnosed incidences of schizophrenia not paralleled rising trends in cannabis use over time?
In fact, it was only in September when investigators at the Keele University Medical School in Britain smashed the pot = schizophrenia theory to smithereens. Writing in the journal Schizophrenia Research, the team compared trends in marijuana use and incidences of schizophrenia in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2005. Researchers reported that the “incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining” during this period, even the use of cannabis among the general population was rising.
That said, none of this is to suggest that there may not be some association between marijuana use and certain psychiatric ailments. Cannabis use can correlate with mental illness for many reasons. People often turn to cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of distress. One study performed in Germany showed that cannabis offsets certain cognitive declines in schizophrenic patients. Another study demonstrated that psychotic symptoms predict later use of cannabis, suggesting that people might turn to the plant for help rather than become ill after use.
Of course, even if one takes the MSM’s latest ‘sky is falling’ scenario at face value, health risks connected with pot use — when scientifically documented — should not be seen as legitimate reasons for criminal prohibition, but instead, as reasons for the plant’s legal regulation.
For instance, as I told AOL News earlier today: “We don’t outlaw peanuts because a small percentage of people have allergic reactions. We educate the community, we regulate where and when peanuts can be exchanged. That seems like it ought to apply to marijuana, too.”
To draw another real world comparison, millions of Americans safely use ibuprofen as an effective pain reliever. However, among a minority of the population who suffer from liver and kidney problems, ibuprofen presents a legitimate and substantial health risk. However, this fact no more calls for the criminalization of ibuprofen among adults than do these latest anti-pot allegations, even if true, call for the current prohibition of cannabis.
Placed in this context, today’s warnings latest do little to advance the government’s position in favor of tightening prohibition, and provide ample ammunition to wage for its repeal.

0 thoughts

  1. When will this go away…?
    I am so tired of this story. MSM just keeps stirring the pot of steaming BS.
    I there no struggling network will to expose the true side of Marijuana and other BS issues.
    The network that jumps on the Marijuana Band Wagon first will make Billions.

  2. yeah and how about alcohol? That kills people everyday. Ever heard of someone dying from marijuana use? I haven’t.

  3. God I feel like we’re all living inside reefer madness. Although that movie is fantastic when blazed, it has painted marijuana with a fucking awful image.

  4. Our upcoming 78 million or so baby boomers should be evidence to debunk these studies. Also, these studies were conducted using correlational data which is just bad science. The article is also misleading, and most people that might glance at it and see, “Long-term pot users have 50/50 chance of psychosis”. That’s just bad media. While I see progression every day, I realize that we still have a far way to go. There is such a stigmatism around pot, and people need to get over it!

  5. I think the only effect of marijuana is being paranoid that the local united states law might find your pot and have to pay fines or jail/prison time, that might cause a person to go crazy? I think the USA people is just confused. I seen/read everyday people killed on alcohol/pills driving and acting up. Alcohol/pills can lead to instant death? so why should Marijuana be illegal, tax it make it legal give it a try to all the states in the USA not just a few…

  6. The Reuters Web Site doesn’t check if its a real email for those who want to comment and don’t care to give them a valid email.

  7. I also blogged about these interesting findings (below) back in October, (International Researchers Reveal Medical Cannabis Breakthroughs! http://maryjanecannabian.blogspot.com/2009/10/international-researchers-reveal.html) but I guess that headline just isn’t as interesting to mainstream media as “Evil Pot Will Turn Your Kids Crazy!!!” :~p
    Thank You, Norml, for once again setting the record strait when the MSM gets sucked into the propaganda free-for-all. I really appreciate it.
    Excerpts from:
    International Association for Cannabis as Medicine
    IACM 5th Conference on Cannabinoids in Medicine
    2-3 October 2009, Cologne
    Program and Abstracts
    Copyright by
    International Association for Cannabis as Medicine
    Am Mildenweg 6
    59602 Rüthen
    In recent years much concern has arisen over the possibility that cannabis smoking in
    adolescence may be a risk factor for schizophrenia in adult life, although this remains a
    controversial issue. In contrast, considerable interest in the potential role of the non-psychoactive naturally occurring cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) as an anti-psychotic medicine has also developed. The anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of both THC and CBD are well established. A systematic literature review has suggested the intriguing possibility that habitual cannabis use may protect cognitive function in schizophrenia patients, and CBD has been shown to improve a marker of this in healthy subjects.
    There are preliminary data to suggest that cannabinoids may have beneficial effects on abnormal stress reaction, metabolic dysfunction and dyslipidaemia. Since the mechanism of action for the anti-psychotic effects of CBD and other cannabinoids almost certainly differs from all existing agents, synergistic combinations withboth typical and atypical antipsychotics are a possibility. Taken overall, these observations lead to the hypothesis that an appropriately formulated medicine containing a combination of selected cannabinoids may have the potential to target all the major components of the schizophrenia syndrome and thereby significantly reduce the need for polypharmacy.
    In Layman’s terms, Cannabis may help the symptoms of schizophrenia and cut down the number of prescription drugs (polypharmacy) a person has to take.

  8. They say the mind is a terrible thing to waste is true when you have mainstream media propaganda on the loose. The government and rest of the PROHIBITIONISTS are taking old school info and rehashing it into new bullshit. When is going to end? You sure in the hell are not going to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I think all of these FDA approved mind control BIG PHARM MEDS can make people schizo and can cause psychosis. We live in a over medicated society where you can walk into a doctors office and tell them your depressed and under stress and the next thing your walking out with a prescription. Science and the mind is a broad subject on who is on the left and who is on the right. That last hooter put my mind on the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON and the next may send me out into the cosmos somewhere. How schizoid can you get?

  9. I think the facts are clear. Not matter how much you argue against prohibition, not matter the mounting scientific data , harms to society , loss of freedoms ect ,ect. The powers that be do not want to relenquish power , nor do they care. This is a struggle for freedom. IMHO, thids freedom will only be obtained throught the states and the vote of the people…on state at a time. Then , when prohibition falls in this country , grab the beer and hot dogs , the show around the world will be just beginning. Oh but the fight wont be over folks , those in power will not let it stand, the real fight for freedom will have just begun. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There will always be SOMETHING someone or somegroup will want to percecute some poeple for. If not pot , maybe guns or your political viewsor both. It may come to your political views , for they are what will remove power from those and they will be angery for it.

  10. I have two questions what percentage of the people in this study developed schizophrenia and phsychosis and what is the normal percentage of non users that develop these disorders in the general population? Actually here is a few more questions how many people were in these studies? Were they all from the same region of the same country? If so the results were easily skewed if the participants used in the study were unknowingly pulled from a group that for some reason had a slightly higher disposition to mental illness for other reasons such as heredity. I take it these results were taken from a group of British citizens, if so would the results be the same if the participants were from the U.S. or Australia. Hmm… could some of these mentally ill people simply be self medicating and further skewing the results to make it seem like marijuana is the cause for their illness? I would read these articles and find out for myself but i need to go commit myself before i am a danger to those around me!

  11. Aldous Huxley called schizophrenia, “the 20th cetury’s disease” because it didn’t exist before, so that would mean Cannabis was selective about its effects, truly remarkable!

  12. just more BS from GB. perhaps, and i am willing to bet, the biggest mental issue is constant paranoia caused by the OUTLAW weed. take away the OUTLAW, and the paranoia disappears. bottom line,period.

  13. I found another ed-op about this study. It seems that the researchers did not know if the subjects had the psychosis first and smoked after,or smoked first and developed the psychosis. It would seem necessary to me,to know that,in order to blame the problems on pot.
    All their statistical study proved was that people,young and old,with psychosis,are more likely to use pot.
    It is another “the egg or the chicken study”,bought for drug propaganda.
    The op-ed is at opposingviews.com.

  14. making mountains over mole hills, plus kids should not be partaking in cannabis at that young age, weak science

  15. When the Iowa phcy. board voted 6-0 in favor of medicinal pot, the sherrif of cerro-gordo co. said on local t.v. we might as well ok meth and coke! then added “where is it going to end! After the public bombarded his office with phone calls, the SHERRIF TRIED THE NEXT DAY TO RIGHT HIS MISSPOKEN BOO BOO by saying “I don`t mind the thc pill but, I have issues about the leaf form. (what a goofball!) Realizing his cash cow was to go on life support he had to add “we`ve been fighting the war on drugs for decades and we`reare suppose to just give it up!” I had to blog the local paper and say “if he would have been in charge of the viet nam war I would still be over there!!” I also added: “too bad the sherrif can`t call the local veteranarian to heal his cash cow because the vet is in jail for pot possession!!!! God bless.

  16. I wish I could marry a pot plant! She could relax me after a hard day. she wood give me the munchies so I could stay healthy, and when I get tired she would help me get a good nights sleep. And if we were to part our ways, we wouldn`t need a lawyer because all I have to do is SMOKE HER!! GOD BLESS MARY JANE!!

  17. It really is staggering. This has been the top result at Google News for the search “cannabis” since this weekend. The MSM lags behind public opinion, though not as much as the politicians do. Ultimately though, The Media is beholden to turning a profit over everything else. Collectively, They still haven’t figured out the benefits that positive coverage of cannabis can bring, but they will, and more people speaking out about it, the sooner.

  18. Prohibitionists’ conceptual squirming when faced with facts about cannabis consumption is more evidence of their cause’s failures. Of course, the main reason they are wrong is that their advocacy is in direct violation of God’s will for people to live in freedom with liberty as acknowledged and cited in the Constitution of the United States. Perhaps I would be more concerned with the dangers of cannabis use if someone, anyone, could identify even one substance people consume that is not dangerous. For example, several people a year die in this country from overdosing on water. The truth is more likely that cannabis is less toxic than aspirin and less addictive than coffee, than that it is a particularly dangerous substance. I think a question more to the point is, who owns your body, you or the government? If it is not you, it is the government, and that truely is dangerous, unless you do not mind being a slave.

  19. “Once again members of the mainstream media are running wild…”
    It seems that maybe we should identify the ‘members’ that are ‘running wild’ and point out that the content coming forth from those members is no different than the content found in National Enquirer.

  20. post 14 Ray. as i understand it, the UK (Keele Uni) report collated statistics from all family practices in the UK looking for existing and new patients showing psychotic or schizophrenic symptoms. the results are as reported above but essentially this was the method.
    another UK survey concentrated on one area of london which contained a high proportion of immigrants. this report came out in favour of cannabis causing psychosis but has been dismissed because first generation immigrants tend to have a higher than average rate of psychosis anyway.

  21. i forgot to mention that the Keele Uni survey went back to the early nineties when what the papers call skunk (and i call sensimillia) first became common on the streets here.
    apart from all that, i’d rather be a dope smoker in england than most anywhere else except holland. you people in the states have my sympathy and respect for fighting on in the face of appalling penalties.

  22. Theres a new album out you tokers will like.
    Shooter Jennings : Black ribbons.
    Check it out.
    ….I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon….
    ….Seems to be the only safe place from government insanity…..all governments…
    “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”
    From Benito Mussolini
    “London Sunday Express,” December 8, 1935

  23. I don’t know man, if I began toking at 13/14 I might have a delusion here and there. I just love how the media BLOWS it up into such mass proportions. Like has already been stated is the hypocrisy of the gov’t to allow many other drugs with much worse implications roam free through the countryside, while so much emphasis, time, and money is being put towards keeping this plant illegal.

  24. ALCOHOL is the real cause of this . I know someone as timmid as a mouse but when he starts drinking he’s more violent than a raging bull .

  25. These sort of studies are often performed with a bias for a negatve output to support existing political decisions. Always notice who funds the study to determine the accuracy of the results.

  26. The sentence of death can be carried out on a defendant who has been found guilty of manufacturing, importing or distributing a controlled substance if the act was committed as part of a continuing criminal enterprise – but only if the defendant is (1) the principal administrator, organizer, or leader of the enterprise or is one of several such principal administrators, organizers, or leaders, and (2) the quantity of the controlled substance is 60,000 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana, or 60,000 or more marijuana plants, or the if the enterprise received more than $20 million in gross receipts during any 12-month period of its existence.
    With this being federal law should we fear medical providers could be facing the worse?!
    If someone feels this deeply about any plants God put on this Earth we are in DEEP SHIT!

  27. (Sorry about posting this to multiple blogs, but I think it is extremely important. Hopefully NORML verifies it and posts a blog about it. Thanks!)
    I guess once again we learn that the Obama administration was full of it offering us any change. Marijuana Seizure have nearly DOUBLED under his tenure thus far: http://www.mainjustice.com/2010/03/01/dea-marijuana-seizures-nearly-double/
    [The total amount of marijuana seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration nearly doubled from 1,539 metric tons in fiscal 2008 to 2,980 metric tons in last year.
    The numbers were disclosed as part of the DEA’s budget request for fiscal 2011.
    Despite Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that targeting individual users of cannabis for medical purposes was no longer a priority, the DEA budget request spoke dismissively of the benefits of medical marijuana, even placing the word patients in quotation marks.
    “DEA does not investigate or target individual ‘patients’ who use cannabis, but instead the drug trafficking organizations involved in marijuana trafficking,” the request stated.]
    Whomever we think is viable or not in 2012, please don’t vote for this fraud. Clearly NOTHING will change under the Obama presidency.

  28. Alcohol-related psychosis is a secondary psychosis with predominant hallucinations occurring in many alcohol-related conditions, including acute intoxication, withdrawal, after a major decrease in alcohol consumption, and alcohol idiosyncratic intoxication. Alcohol is a neurotoxin that affects the brain in a complex manner through prolonged exposure and repeated withdrawal, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Alcohol-related psychosis is often an indication of chronic alcoholism; thus, it is associated with medical, neurological, and psychosocial complications.
    Alcohol-related psychosis spontaneously clears with discontinuation of alcohol use and may resume during repeated alcohol exposure. Although distinguishing alcohol-related psychosis from schizophrenia through clinical presentation often is difficult, it is generally accepted that alcohol-related psychosis remits with abstinence, unlike schizophrenia. If persistent psychosis develops, diagnostic confusion can result. Comorbid psychotic disorders, eg, schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder, may exist, resulting in the psychosis being attributed to the wrong etiology.

  29. Mainstream media keeps bringing this up because the “news” on networks is at most a 1 or 2 minute scatter-shot of random info. They’re hoping that the viewers think “Yeah, I saw something on tv about pot and schizophrenia.”
    If you have friends or family still brainwashed by the lies and propaganda spread about cannabis, have them watch some Cannabis TV. Check it out at CannabisTV.org

  30. How about the classic “marijuana is the gateway drug”. I guess since I used other drugs when I was younger (and yes they became a problem), marijuana was to blame and in a warped way it was. After finding out what a LIE we were all being fed concerning pot, sure I had to find out what other lies there were! Try truth in educating.

  31. What I’m tired of are the people representing this country under our stars and stripes and they don’t value it’s representation or what our forefathers/fallen soldiers gave up for this dream. Or our soldiers that continue to lay down their lives in order for each and everyone of us to enjoy this “freedom”. This country is more “free” than most but why is it that I feel those “freedoms” slowly dissolving day by day? Like the objective is to level out our “freedoms” and “rights” with the rest of the world. It’s all a shell game just like everything else is. I have a feeling that they just want to see how far they can push us before something does happen. How far can we be pushed before we push back? Peacefully, I’m not saying violence cause I pray that it will never come to that. Although, what happens to those who come in peace? You need only look at history to find this answer.
    Alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals. Each of these is far more toxic than cannabis and they call us out of touch with reality? Seems a bit azz backwards doesn’t it? I can see/experience for myself and I don’t need anyone telling me what I should think, feel or believe. I know I’m not the only one that feels the way I do. How huge industries such as these 3 can be given the green light to the consumer and the deaths that are associated with each is beyond me. I guess I have to be a normal, independent/free thinking individual to understand this? No, I don’t. The devil is in the details. Only two things are guaranteed in life. Death and taxes. Why do you wish pain and suffering on me and others? All because we decide to think of cannabis as a valuable commodity. I believe in my country and what the flag represents. If you don’t then you need to take a long, hard look at yourself and ask yourself what exactly is “freedom”. Freedom is not control. Past predicts future?

  32. The Editor of the MSM report is the one who usually chooses the headline title. Not to say the reporter isn’t just as guilty.
    Geraldo, Stossel, Napolitano, and others I can’t remember are against prohibition. So let’s not curse at all of the MSM reporters. It’s just the bozo’s that want to bring attention to themselves for one reason or another.
    With that said, get this MSM, we are not backing down and we will call you on every piece of BS you decide to publish on the plant cannabis. And get this MSM, you are doomed unless you change your ways.
    Thanks for the information Brian #33. This cannot and will not be tolerated. How g’ment cannot comprehend this is beyond me.

  33. If America has any sense,they won’t just vote Obama out,
    there should be no returning professional politicians in congress or our state legislatures,ever again. We cannot
    afford to make this mistake again and allow a group of
    “good ol boy’s” to support the agendas and protect the
    profits of big business. It is what has gotten us into this mess and the only way out is to flush the toilet in DC.

  34. The argument makes absolutely NO sense.
    If Cannabis use causes schizophrenia, why has the incidences of schizophrenia stayed flat while
    the usage of cannabis has skyrocketed in the past 4+ decades?
    I think it is as others have suggested, that people with schizophrenia may migrate to using cannabis in an effort to relieve their symptoms.

  35. To Ray: I can answer your questions finally and clearly. The incidence of scizophrenia in the general population is roughly one percent. The percentage of MJ users in the study to develope schizophrenia: roughly one percent….you see, the researchers were only looking at correlations. If pot contributed in any meaningful way to the development of scizophrenia, one would see the percentage in the polulation rise and fall, at least in some measure as pot gains or falls in levels of use.
    I think it it much more concerning that one hundred percent of people who later contracted shizophrenia, drank milk as children! We should outlaw milk and lock up lactating mothers. See how absurd this is?

  36. i mean it makes sense that marijuana doesn’t cause sczophrenia … wouldn’t EVERY pot smoker be nuts then?
    which is obviously not the case.

  37. Well had to post this, a story from the Bangkok Post, talking about “schizo” kind of things. I just betcha that if the Cannabis plant was free…well I hope so(don’t know for sure cause I think this is really weird sh*t) …these guys would never do anything so stupid.
    Tuesday, February 16, 2010
    HIgh on human ashes
    NAKHON SRI THAMMARAT: In the latest drug craze to hit the south, youths in Nakhon Sri Thammarat’s Muang District are reportedly drinking a concoction that includes the ashes of recently-cremated corpses and extract from leaves of the krathom tree.
    ‘Phon’, a 17-year-old from Muang District, said he and his gang of about 10 friends had tried every known concoction of krathom leaf available until they stumbled upon the new formula.
    The mixture is made by boiling the leaves and then adding ashes taken from beneath funeral pyres following cremation ceremonies.
    The youths believe the mixture confers physical strength as well as spiritual protection from the ghost of the person whose ashes were drunk, Mr Phon said.
    The drink has an indescribably amazing taste and anybody who tries it becomes instantly addicted, he added.
    To satisfy their thirst for the elixir, the youths drive around looking for funerals. When the cremation is over, they sneak in to steal the left over ashes, he said.
    The mixture is known as ‘Avatar’ after the hit film or ‘tai hong’, which means ‘violent death’.
    Sumol Aksonphalee, Chief of tambon Bang Chak Village 5, said he was well aware of the problem of youths getting high from boiled krathom leaves.
    He also confirmed that the latest fad of youths mixing their krathom juice with ashes of the recently deceased – though he added that he couldn’t understand how they dared drink it.
    Most of the kids who were into Avatar, both male and female, tended to look very unhealthy and he suspected they wouldn’t have long lives.
    Truancy officer Somphong Yutao said he spoke to students who were into drinking ashes to try and find out what was behind the trend.
    “The youths believe [the mixture] gives them special powers, especially when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. When they speak [to someone they like] they will have a special aura that makes [their target] fall for them,” Mr Somphong said.
    “This type of behaviour is very worrying, but all we can do is keep track of it and inform the parents and schools,” he said.
    Nakhon Sri Thammarat Governor Thira Minthrasak held a meeting on January 28 to discuss the problem and ordered a police crackdown.
    This is not the first unusual drug trend to come out of the South. For years authorities have been trying to stamp out ‘4×100’, a mixture of krathom extract, cola, cough medicine and ground up mosquito repellent coils.

  38. Senator Cliff Aldridge (OKLA) scheduled an appointment with a medical marijuana advocate. He had the police waiting for her to show up. He was on KFOR News channel 4 tonite getting asked why. I have emailed him and we need your support here in Oklahoma. Email Senator Cliff Aldridge at aldridge@oksenate.gov. Don’t let him be a bully. We will not stand down!!

  39. CNN had ‘Younger Marijuana users at higher risk of psychosis, study says’ (something like that) made me wanna get up and punch the shit outta my tv, then e-mail them. Although i’ve already have whats the point.

  40. Peanuts? Nice… you’re stealing my arguments from my 411 fact or fiction article… but go ahead, they’re cmmunal like a joint. Whatever it takes to get it done (I stole your videos so it’s only fair lol)
    Anyway, none of this matters… the forces of evil in the US are **NOT** anti-pot. They’re anti-change, of any kind. They’re crotchety old men who just want everything to go back to a way it never was in the first place: the way TV depicts the 50s

  41. this is an off topic question but im seekign the guidence of my fellow peers
    hey i dont think anyone will read this or even help but hey i can try right so last night i told my dad i was gonna take a shower and that i ran out of soap but i thought i had one last bar in my room so he said alright and i told him goodnight well i unpackeded all my things and i hear a knock at my door i had my ipod in and my dad hands me some soap and looks down at the floor only to see my glass pipe he never said anythign but i packed up didnt even get to smoke and hopped into the shower after i got out i went up to say goodnigth again just to see what type of mood he was in and he was pissed nothing was said but i could tell he wanted to i smoked maybe 3 days ago i took 5 hits maybe 6 of mids my tolerance is really low cause i had just quit for a month only taking a puff or two halfway through just because i could is their anyway i could pass this drug test my dad migth give me or anything i could say i was thinking about just telling him its not mine i was holdign onto it and i just wanted to see what it looked like because my room never smelt of smoke or anything last time i was busted about a year ago i just told him the truth that i “tried” it but im a little lost and freakin out at the moment thanks in advance for any helpful tips on what to say or could i even pass a test im 5 10 maybe 6 foot i weigh 120-125 im 16 almost 17 yes extremely underweight i know thanks to the goverments adderal.

  42. I for one had mental disorders before I started using Marijuana. I think it had more to due with taking Riddelin as a six year old, multiple concussions, and having my share of problems growing up. Before I smoked pot I stole from stores, was on probation for assault, and went to jail for unpaid tickets. I then tried Marijuana and the only thing I have been in trouble for since then is Drunk driving. I for one enjoy a beer alot more after smoking pot. I started using pot to self medicate for social anxiety disorder, and that is still the case.

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