Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition. Symptoms can result in dangerous and at times self-destructive behaviors that can negatively impact your day-to-day life. You may experience symptoms regularly or they may come and go in phases.
- speech difficulty
- unpredictable behavior
- inability to function
Schizophrenia requires vigilant lifelong treatment. It’s very important to work with a doctor to create a treatment plan that addresses your symptoms.
You may be tempted to self-medicate with marijuana. You may think that it helps you manage your symptoms, but just the opposite may be true. Many studies suggest that the drug may:
- trigger the condition in people who may be susceptible to schizophrenia
- make existing symptoms worse
- put you at risk for substance abuse
Additionally, marijuana is still illegal in the majority of states, including for medicinal purposes. It is considered illegal by the Drug Enforcement Agency because it is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug.
There is no single known cause of schizophrenia. Some suspected causes include:
- brain development
- complications that occurred in utero or during birth
There are also events that may trigger the condition. They include:
- repeated drug use
Researchers have published many studies about marijuana use and schizophrenia. These studies range in how they approach the topic, but most draw negative effects between the drug and the condition.
Keep in mind that there are many variables at play in these studies. Some variables are:
- drug use frequency
- drug potency
- risk factors for schizophrenia
Regular marijuana use may increase your risk for schizophrenia or other mental illness
You may be more at risk of developing schizophrenia if you use marijuana habitually.
Certain genes in your body may trigger the condition if you use marijuana
Some recent studies have examined specific genes you may have in your body and how they may increase your risk for schizophrenia. If you have a certain type of AKTI gene and use marijuana, your risk of developing a psychotic disorder
The frequency of marijuana intake also comes into play with this gene. Those who use the drug every day and have this gene variant may be at a
Genes linked to the condition may increase the likelihood that you’ll use marijuana frequently
Genes that put you at risk for the condition may also make it more likely that you will use marijuana, according to one 2017 study.
Marijuana use in young teens may lead to the condition later in life
The age people begin using the drug may also lead to schizophrenia when they get older.
One often referenced, 15-year longitudinal study of more than 50,000 people in the armed services in Sweden, indicated that those who used marijuana by the time they turned 18 were
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Research has not only examined how marijuana might be a causal risk factor for schizophrenia. Other research highlights how marijuana can worsen symptoms and lead to substance abuse.
Marijuana can make the condition worse
You may be at a higher risk for relapses, worsening symptoms, and even hospitalization if you have schizophrenia and use marijuana. For example, a substance in the drug can contribute to anxiety or paranoia.
Use can lead to substance abuse
You may be at risk of developing a substance abuse disorder if you have schizophrenia. Drug use disorders and mental health conditions can develop simultaneously because their risk factors are similar. Some people may also try to self-medicate with drugs in order to control symptoms.
Cannabis use disorder can occur in as much as
Most research on marijuana and schizophrenia concludes that using the drug is not beneficial. Talk to your doctor about other treatment methods to manage your condition. These may include prescription medications as well as therapy. You should not self-medicate. A doctor should direct your treatment plan.
Many studies have linked marijuana to health benefits in recent decades. Keep in mind that the plant itself is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medical use.
However, the FDA has approved the use of individual components of marijuana or similar synthetic substances for specific health purposes. These are called cannabinoids. They include:
- cannabidiol or CBD (
Epidiolix) to treat seizures in rare forms of epilepsy
- dronabinol (Syndros) to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and restoring appetite in people who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- nabilone (Cesamet) to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy
Several states have approved marijuana for medical use even though it is not federally regulated. Some benefits of the drug for medical use may include:
New research may uncover more evidence of the benefits of the drug for certain health conditions.
Using marijuana if you have schizophrenia could have negative outcomes. You may develop anxiety or paranoia after using the drug, for example. You should contact a doctor if you experience these sensations.
You should also contact a doctor if you are having suicidal thoughts or if you are unable to function in daily life because of your condition.
Marijuana may not be a useful drug if you have schizophrenia or if you are at risk for developing the condition. Many studies have linked negative outcomes with marijuana use and this serious mental health condition. There are other treatment options available for managing the condition that can help you reduce symptoms effectively.