What is Cannabis induced psychosis?

Over the last few years, marijuana has started as ubiquitous a presence as alcohol in modern society.  Slowly, it’s losing the stigma that it once carried as recently as the early aughts.  We’ve seen it glamorized in the media by rock stars and celebrities for years. But we now even see it being normalized amongst suburban moms on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, where they inconspicuously refer to marijuana use as “gardening.”  Cannabis has often been touted as the “safe” drug of choice.   However, is marijuana really as non-problematic as it seems?

Over the last few years, we have seen marijuana begin to be legalized in various states.  Because of this, we have also seen an increase in usage overall, both on average and as a proportion of the U.S. population. Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally), both psychiatrists and doctors have seen an influx in patients struggling with Marijuana Use Disorder, which has been linked to an increase in Cannabis-Induced Psychosis. 

What is Psychosis?

What exactly is psychosis? Whether the person is experiencing cannabis induced psychosis or another form of psychosis, the symptoms are similar. Common experiences include:

  • Hallucinations – Seeing, hearing, or tasting things that do not actually exist
  • Delusional Thoughts – Oftentimes, people experiencing psychosis create strong convictions and beliefs that are not grounded in reality. 
  • Confusion: A person experiencing psychosis may report feeling confused or having disorganized and chaotic thoughts.
  • Behavioral Changes: Family members and friends of one suffering from psychosis report often dramatic changes in mood and behavior. These changes can range from the person becoming a recluse and isolating to becoming erratic and impulsive.  A person may experience both in a short period of time. 

Cannabis-Induced Psychotic Disorder

Many may be surprised to learn that Cannabis-Induced Psychotic Disorder is listed in the DSM–5, which is a catalog of mental health disorders that is utilized by mental health professionals for patient diagnosis. In a study published in 2019, it was found that adults that reguary used cannabis were 3.2 times more likely to experience psychosis compared to their peers who did not use marijuana. Moreover, one study found that this correlation became 5 times more likely if the cannabis given to the subject was stronger. This number is especially concerning when you consider that in today’s cannabis market, we are seeing a shocking rise in THC potency.  This is likely due to more efficient growing practices, along with companies wanting to beat out their competitors by offering stronger varieties of marijuana. 

In the United States, significant research into the potency of cannabis has been conducted through the Potency Monitoring Program, an initiative spearheaded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and implemented at the University of Mississippi. This research has uncovered a distinct pattern: over the past five decades, the average concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the primary psychoactive substance in cannabis — has risen by more than ten times in the past year.

Long-Term Effects of Cannabis Induced Psychosis

There have been many cases of individuals who experienced cannabis induced psychosis being able to successfully recover and reclaim their life back.  However, there may be some long-term effects to cannabis induced psychosis that one may not expect. While definitive studies are still ongoing and are often the subject of debate amongst both physicians, and the broader medical community, epidemiological research indicates a correlation between increased cannabis abuse and heightened risk of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. There is also a correlation between bipolar disorder and marijuana use.  While the studies remain inconclusive on whether or not cannabis can truly cause bipolar disorder, marijuana is the most commonly abused drug amongst those suffering from bipolar disorder. 

There is Hope. Get help today at Better Tomorrow

If you or a loved one may be suffering from cannabis induced psychosis, there is still hope for a better life.  Many patients have found relief by asking for help and finding support. 

Better Tomorrow Treatment Center’s modern, evidence-based addiction care is designed to foster the personal growth needed to sustain a lifetime of recovery. Find the insight and strength required for the rewarding sober lifestyle you or your loved one deserves. If you or a loved one wants to start their recovery journey, with drug treatment in West Palm Beach, Florida, please contact us at (888) 653-1149, or head over to our website, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and fill out our 100% confidential information form and a compassionate member of our team will reach out to you.

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