“Findings warrant future longitudinal studies to evaluate psychosis in U.S. states.”
A team of U.S. and Canadian researchers report that cannabis-related hospital discharges for psychosis are higher in U.S. states that have given the green light to bud.
They then calculated a score for each area to reflect cannabis legality, specifically considering if a jurisdiction was illegal or allowed only CBD/low-potency cannabis, had legalized medical marijuana or had legalized both recreational and medicinal cannabis.
Although the association between cannabis use and psychosis continues to generate debate, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports “several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia), depression, anxiety and substance use disorders.” It makes clear, however, that there has been no determination of a causal link.
A study review appearing in The Lancet almost three years ago concluded that “differences in frequency of daily cannabis use and in use of high-potency cannabis contributed to the striking variation in the incidence of psychotic disorder across the 11 studied sites.”
But a Canadian study determined that “further research is required to investigate the reasons for the increase in hospitalizations for cannabis-related psychotic disorder.” As those authors pointed out, “The introduction of high-potency cannabinoid products and synthetic cannabinoids into the illicit market are considered as possible factors.”
As part of the latest study, hospitalizations for psychosis/cannabis use were found to be more likely in areas with legal weed, and legalization of recreational cannabis was associated with a greater rate of hospitalization.
There were an estimated 129,070 hospital discharges for psychosis associated with cannabis use in 2017, the authors write. But data from the Pacific census division — much of the area has legalized, including California, Washington and Oregon — “had significantly higher odds of discharges than other divisions.”
Still, investigators for the new study cite a need for additional research. “Findings warrant future longitudinal studies to evaluate psychosis in U.S. states,” the authors conclude.
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