Psychosis often results in crippling mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, where the mind is out of touch with reality. Today I want to talk mainly about a growing body of evidence that points to a strong link between heavy weed use and psychosis. The rot sets in during adolescence and may develop into full blown psychosis in early adulthood. So think seriously about quitting marijuana, whatever your age. Don’t be deterred by stories that the only people at risk are teens, or those with a family history of psychosis, or those who already have psychosis symptoms. Every chronic user may be at risk. For more on how to stop smoking weed and ultimately avoid schizophrenia, see our complete guide.
Major Psychosis Symptoms
The severe psychotic symptoms are a wake-up call for those unsure about quitting marijuana. A study showed that 15 percent of weed users admitted to having psychotic episodes after taking weed. The symptoms are fleeting at first, but become more regular and more prolonged the more weed you use. Some people I know admitted to having a psychotic episode the first time they took weed. Others said they started having episodes a few times a month, at first, then weekly, then every day. If this mirrors your experience, start thinking about how to quit smoking weed, today. Here are some serious weed-inspired psychotic symptoms you should know about.
Brain Activity Deteriorates
Psychosis slows down the brain, robbing it of its ability to think up or take in new ideas, as well as solve problems or make decisions.
Paranoia escalates with heavy weed use. People are disconnected from reality. They hear voices, see things, feel persecuted, and make grandiose claims. Some are suicidal or fear death.
Planning on how to quit smoking weed becomes more difficult if you let these symptoms develop over years.
The Generalist Theory
A growing number of studies suggest that every chronic marijuana user, no matter their background, can develop a psychotic illness purely from smoking weed. A study showed that 41 percent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder were abusing a drug and for many, that drug was weed.
If you’re a teen, I think you should be seeking strategies on how to stop smoking weed. A Dutch study showed that youths who took weed just five times increased their psychosis risk significantly. Experts believe that up to 13 percent of schizophrenic cases start in the teens, and that much of the damage occurs in the years leading to early adulthood. A 15-year study of 50 000 young recruits in the Swedish army, concluded that those who smoked weed heavily at 18 were six times more likely to become schizophrenic over the 15 years than those who had never taken it. Other researchers found that regular users from age 15 were about 5 times more vulnerable to schizophrenia in their mid 20s than if they began abusing it at age 18. These statistics are a compelling reason for quitting marijuana.
Marijuana potency has also come under scrutiny. Experts say the risk of psychosis increases fivefold with daily use of the more powerful forms of marijuana. Today’s street weed is said to be 15 times more potent than that of 30 years ago. Weed growers have apparently been upping weed’s THC content regularly these last 10 years. In many cases it’s up 15 percent. A study suggests that heavy use of weed with this much THC will increase schizophrenia-related psychosis from the current one percent to 5 percent.
Other theorists point to different dimensions in the weed/psychosis link. They make good points. Here are some of their arguments.
The Heredity Theory
Some theorists claim that only those with a family history of psychosis stand the risk of developing the disorder from chronic weed use. They say studies show this group to be six times more prone to schizophrenia than any other when they abuse weed. And although weed use is on the rise, they say, there hasn’t been a corresponding rise in the numbers in this group because most chronic users are not affected. Currently, they make up just one percent of the U.S. people. Projections are, however, that with more potent marijuana in use, figures could rise steadily so figuring out how to stop smoking weed should still be your priority.
The Self-Medicating Theory
Other theorists say people who already show signs of schizophrenia may start taking weed as a self-medicating option but that the weed worsens their pre-existing conditions. People in this situation are hospitalized for psychosis far more than others and treatment and recovery are much more difficult. If you’re in this group, I suggest you think of quitting marijuana altogether. It won’t improve your condition.
The Holistic Theory
Another group of experts see heavy marijuana use and genetic factors as part of a number of causes of psychosis, together with dosage, frequency and user’s age. So they don’t believe that heavy weed use of itself leads to psychosis.
All the above arguments show that there is a link between chronic marijuana use and psychosis. They collectively show how important quitting marijuana is especially among teens. However, I believe public health policy should also stress the possible risks of chronic weed use for everyone, not just those with mental problems or a predisposition for them. Collectively this information should inspire you to keep educating yourself on how to stop smoking weed.