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Experts Say Cannabis Does Not Cause Psychosis, Time For ‘Re-Think’

By on July 14, 2013
New research is challenging the way we think about drug-induced psychosis

New research shows that the relationship between marijuana use and psychosis is poorly understood.

TruthOnPot.com – While the belief that cannabis use leads to schizophrenia has slowly faded, most still accept temporary psychosis as one of the major side effects of pot. Now, a group of scientists from Imperial College London say it’s time to reconsider this as well.

Their study, published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, ranked the effects of five psychoactive drugs and found that all of them, including marijuana, were unreliable at causing symptoms of psychosis. Marijuana was found to be only 6% reliable at mimicking psychosis and psychedelic mushrooms – the highest scoring drug in the category – was barely ahead at 13%.

How could science have been wrong all this time? One explanation comes from the broad definition of psychosis, which is easy to misinterpret. In conducting the study, the researchers surveyed nearly 60 mental health experts and used the most frequently mentioned symptoms as a baseline for their results.

The study also involved a survey of drug users themselves, which gives an unique perspective that many have failed to consider. For example, previous laboratory studies may have involved doses that were higher than what is used in the real world, the researchers explain. Frequent users may also represent people who react more positively to substances and may become more tolerant to their effects over time.

Interestingly, the study also found alcohol to be 46% reliable at causing symptoms of mania – ranking highest in the category. This seems to point out another flaw in how we characterize drugs based on their legal status. “While amphetamine is an established drug model of mania, alcohol is not, and yet it produced symptoms with the highest exclusivity for any symptom cluster,” wrote the authors.

Legal or illegal, the researchers believe the evidence uncovered by the study calls for a “re-think on drug models of psychosis and other psychiatric disorders” and they’re hoping for more research to be done in the future.

Psychedelic mushrooms only scored high for one effect: I think that things that I see or hear that I would not normally notice have been put there to give me a message.

Psychedelic mushrooms only scored high for “I think that things that I see or hear that I would not normally notice have been put there to give me a message.”

Some of the most common effects of alcohol also fit symptoms of mania, including I become more talkative and I become less worried about spending money and doing dangerous things.

Common effects of alcohol also fit symptoms of mania, such as “I become more talkative” and “I become less worried about spending money and doing dangerous things.”

The study was published ahead of print on June 19, 2013. The research was conducted at Imperial College London’s Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology and funded by the Medical Research Council (UK).