Study Reveals High Potency Cannabis Use in Teens Doubles Risk of Psychotic Episodes

by [email protected]

Regular cannabis use is associated with the risk of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. The use of high-potency cannabis in teen years almost doubles the risk of developing psychotic episodes in early adulthood compared to the use of those with lower potency, a study revealed.

Earlier studies have shown that the concentration of THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, has increased by 14% in the last five decades. In the latest study from the University of Bath published in the scientific journal, Addiction, researchers examined the link between early adolescent psychosis and cannabis potency.

The researchers used the Children of the 90s study, which had data of around 14,000 individuals from the time of their birth. The participants were asked about their cannabis use between the ages of 16 to 18. They were also inquired about the primary cannabis type and incidence of psychotic experiences such as hallucinations or delusions by the age of 24.

These are some of the important findings:

1) The rate of new psychotic experiences was 6.4% in young people who use cannabis, compared to 3.8% in non-users.

2) While comparing high-potency and low-potency cannabis use, researchers noted that 10.1% of young people on high potency reported new psychotic experiences, while only 3.8% on lower potency experienced the same.

“Young people using higher-potency forms of cannabis are twice as likely to have experiences associated with psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions. Importantly, the young people we asked had not previously reported these experiences before starting their cannabis use. This adds to the evidence that use of higher-potency cannabis may negatively impact mental health,” the lead author, Dr. Lindsey Hines from the University of Bath Department of Psychology, said in a news release.

Based on the study findings, the researchers now call for further studies to examine the long-term outcomes of high-potency cannabis, and to take measures to reduce the potency of cannabis available to young people.

“Cannabis is changing and higher-potency cannabis is increasingly available. These findings show how important it is to understand the long-term effects of higher-potency use in young people. We need to improve messaging and information available to young people on the impacts of cannabis use in the 21st century,” Dr. Hines said.

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