Pot and Psychosis: Researchers Find Possible Link in Adolescent Marijuana Use

A new study that was recently published in the Netherlands has shown a connection between marijuana use in teenagers and psychosis; furthering the debate regarding early age marijuana use.

The study was published in the journal Addiction and complied data from 2,120 Dutch teenagers who had previously admitted to using marijuana. The study was concerned with determining if adolescent marijuana use contributed to a higher percentage of developed psychosis cases or if it had a negligible effect.

For the study the participants were given psychosis vulnerability tests to determine if they were more or less likely to suffer from hallucinations and delusions. Those tests included questions regarding their ability to concentrate, if they hallucinate and their attitudes towards loneliness.

"We have focused mainly on temporal order; is it the chicken or the egg? As the study shows, it is a bidirectional relationship," Merel Griffith-Lendering, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate at Leiden University in the Netherlands, told Reuters.

Researchers found 940 teens, or roughly 44 percent, of those who reported smoking pot, showed signs of possible psychosis showcasing a primitive bidirectional link between pot use and psychosis.

This study was, in part, a response to earlier research conducted in 2010. For that particular study researchers compiled data from 3,800 Australian teenagers and concluded that adolescents who used marijuana on a consistent basis were roughly twice as likely to develop some form of psychosis as opposed to those adolescents who had never smoked marijuana.

Researchers, however, maintain that this study is not definitive and that possible psychosis may already exist in some adolescents while cautioning that the active ingredient in marijuana may act as an catalyst for such psychosis, but not necessarily being the sole cause.

"We can say for some people that cannabis comes first and psychosis comes second, but for some people they have some (undiagnosed) psychosis (and) perhaps cannabis makes them feel better," Dr. Marta Di Forti, who was not involved with the study, told Reuters.