When it comes to a subject as controversial as marijuana use and addiction, you can be sure that not much scientific data exists to prove or disprove any theory concerning the connection between weed and schizophrenia. However, many of the symptoms of marijuana addiction do mimic those associated with schizophrenia. For instance, marijuana use can cause paranoia, a distorted sense of reality and the inability to concentrate. Many of these symptoms of schizophrenia are similar or present in people who use marijuana on a regular or periodic basis. Some researchers believe that marijuana use disorder (CUD) is a result of schizophrenia patients using marijuana to mask their symptoms.
To understand how this may be possible, it’s important to look at the basic workings of marijuana and how it affects the brain. Marijuana contains three main chemicals: THC, CBD and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the primary active ingredient that gives marijuana its “high”, or psychological high. CBD is a natural compound in marijuana that may help reduce negative side effects and the possibility of schizophrenia and can act as an anti-psychotic. Cannabidiol is the compound in marijuana that causes the psychologically “high” that people experience when smoking weed.
It’s widely believed that marijuana use can lead to a form of schizophrenia, called schizophrenia-based impairment. This occurs when the individual who uses marijuana begins to experience disjointed thoughts and symptoms that are indicative of a disease like schizophrenia. Because of the complicated nature of marijuana and the way it interacts with the human brain, there is really no good measure for detecting the disease at this point in time. Some researchers, however, have been able to detect a link between frequent use of weed and a decrease in short-term memory, attention span and response, and an increase in risky behavior, especially during the teens.
If you or someone you know exhibits any of these symptoms, it’s important to discuss the drug with your doctor. Although the symptoms of cannabis use disorder are somewhat difficult to diagnose, your doctor may be able to rule out other conditions that exhibit similar behaviors. They may be able to recommend therapy, prescribe other drugs, or refer you to a psychiatrist that can work on your mental health.
If you’re worried that you may be a victim of marijuana abuse or schizophrenia-based impairment, don’t hesitate to report your suspicions to the authorities. It’s not uncommon for patients to turn to marijuana as a means of self-medication, or for family members to believe that they need it in order to cope with certain life situations. Don’t stand idly by, knowing that you could be helping to cause damage to yourself or those around you.
If you or a friend is a victim of substance abuse or dependence, don’t be afraid to go to a treatment center. Many state facilities offer a wide range of services to help those struggling to deal with their addiction and their lives. They may even offer discreet visits so that you can talk in private without the interruption of others. Although marijuana use can’t be cured, it can be treated and the side effects can be minimized.