Environmental factors account for the link between cannabis and psychosis

Posted on June 12, 2015

In the first direct test of whether the link between cannabis use and psychosis is due more to environmental or genetic factors, Sania Shakoor of the University of London and colleagues show that environmental factors can account for the co-occurrence of cannabis use and paranoia, cognitive disorganization, and negative symptoms (flat affect, low motivation). Their results are published in the June issue of the journal Psychiatry Research.

Previous work has shown a strong link between cannabis use (smoking marijuana) and the development of psychosis. Overall, a regular cannabis user has approximately double the risk of developing a psychotic disorder than a non-user. The cause of this connection, however, is unknown.

Most cannabis users do not develop psychosis and although the risk of developing psychosis following cannabis use seems to run in families, this could still be due to shared genetic effects or common environmental risk factors. It could be the case that cannabis use alters one’s brain chemistry (and that some families are more at risk than others), or that particular environmental factors like socioeconomic disadvantage or trauma lead independently to increased rates of cannabis use and psychosis.

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Category(s):Drug Addiction

Source material from PsyPost