Does marijuana cause mental illness?

Mental illness is a symptom that is out of touch with reality. When people suffer from mental illness, they may experience symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and thought disturbances. It is a symptom of many mental health conditions and can have multiple causes, including smoking marijuana.

This article discusses the ways in which cannabis is associated with the risk of mental illness. It also covers some treatments for mental illness caused by marijuana.

Does marijuana cause mental illness?

Many substances and drugs can cause a condition called substance/drug-induced mental disorder. After taking drugs or drugs, some people may develop mental illness within one month of using the substance or when they withdraw from the drug.

Other substances and drugs that can cause psychosis include alcohol, hallucinogens, tranquilizers, stimulants, amphetamines, antidepressants, and steroids.

Studies have shown that people who suffer from both mental health disorders and substance use disorders are at higher risk of psychosis related to substance or drug use. This may indicate that substances such as marijuana may trigger psychotic episodes in people at risk of psychosis.

Marijuana and mental illness

Cannabis use is also associated with an increased risk of developing a variety of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.

However, researchers are still unsure whether cannabis causes mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in healthy individuals. On the contrary, the use of marijuana may trigger certain mental illnesses in people who are prone to these diseases.

Although the underlying mechanism is unclear, marijuana is a known risk factor for the onset of schizophrenia. Studies have found that 50% of schizophrenia, psychosis, and schizophrenia-like psychosis are related to cannabis use.

A study published in a journal Lancet Studies have found that compared with people who have never smoked marijuana, people who smoke high-potency marijuana every day may have a five times higher risk of mental illness.

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In this study, high-efficiency cannabis is defined as a product containing more than 10% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound in cannabis that is responsible for the mental effects of the drug.

One reason cannabis psychosis may be more of a concern today is that these highly effective products are easier to obtain than in the past.

Symptoms of psychosis

When people suffer from mental illness from smoking marijuana, they may experience many different symptoms related to disconnection from reality. Symptoms of psychosis caused by marijuana include:

  • Hallucinations: These hallucinations are characterized by unreal sensory experiences, including seeing, hearing or feeling things that do not exist in reality.
  • Paranoia: This is a way of thinking that leads people to doubt and distrust other people.
  • Feelings of persecution: This is an aspect of paranoia where people think that other people are trying to hurt or destroy them.
  • Depersonalization: This happens when a person feels separated from their own thoughts, identities, feelings, emotions, and memories.
  • Derealization: This symptom is characterized by feeling separated from the environment and feeling things are not happening in real time.
  • Exaggeration: This includes an exaggeration of power and importance. People who have experienced arrogance may feel that they are superior or invulnerable to others.

People may also experience other symptoms during psychosis, including irritability, anxiety, or confusion.

When using substances such as marijuana to cause psychosis, these symptoms are acute rather than persistent. Once substances leave the body, they usually subside.

If you experience psychotic symptoms due to marijuana use, please seek help from a healthcare provider.

Risk factors

There are many factors that may make a person more prone to mental illness after using marijuana.

  • Heavy use of marijuana
  • Chronic, long-term use
  • age
  • Existing mental illness vulnerability

Adolescent use

Teens who smoke marijuana have a higher risk of mental illness. Some researchers believe this may be due to the emotional challenges that sometimes lead to cannabis use.

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The regular use of marijuana among teenagers also affects the brain in many ways, and may affect cognition, learning, and development.

genetic mutation

Studies have found that people who smoke marijuana and have a certain mutation in the AKT1 gene are responsible for encoding the enzyme that affects dopamine signals in specific areas of the striatum of the brain, and are at greater risk of mental illness.

People with this AKT1 gene mutation have a 7 times higher risk of mental illness if they smoke marijuana every day.

The study also found that another genetic variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme can increase the risk of psychosis in adults who use marijuana during adolescence. COMT is involved in the inactivation of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine.


People with acute psychotic episodes may need to be hospitalized until their condition stabilizes. The treatment of psychosis associated with the use of marijuana involves antipsychotic drugs. In some cases, it may be necessary to use sedative antipsychotics or benzodiazepines to control certain behaviors.

The most effective treatment option for cannabis-induced psychosis is to stop using the drug. However, this can be difficult for people who have been using marijuana for some time or have a marijuana use disorder.

After the immediate symptoms are resolved, the individual will be further evaluated to determine the cause of the mental illness and diagnose any other concurrent conditions that may have caused the symptoms.

Depending on the cause of the mental illness, a doctor or mental health professional may recommend other treatments, including antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes.

CBD and mental illness

Some studies suggest that another compound found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), may help reduce the risk of mental illness associated with cannabis.

CBD has many alleged mental health benefits, although a comprehensive review of existing research has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of CBD to relieve symptoms of mental health conditions. However, some studies have shown that CBD may offset some of the negative psychological effects associated with THC, such as anxiety.

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The effect of CBD on mental illness is not fully understood, but some evidence suggests that it may be helpful.

  • Reducing psychiatric symptoms: A randomized controlled trial in 2017 looked at the use of CBD as an adjuvant treatment of antipsychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia. Compared with the placebo group, patients treated with CBD and antipsychotics had reduced psychotic symptoms and improved cognitive function.
  • Reduce the risk of marijuana-induced psychosis: Studies have also shown that people who smoke marijuana have a higher CBD to THC ratio and tend to have a lower risk of marijuana-related psychosis.
  • Fewer side effects: A clinical trial comparing CBD with the antipsychotic amisulpride found that although the results of the two were similar, compared with antipsychotics, patients treated with CBD had more negative symptoms. There are fewer side effects.

Although CBD shows some promise as a potential adjuvant treatment for psychosis, further research is needed to determine its possible effects.

Very good sentence

As more and more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, it is important to be aware of the potential adverse consequences of marijuana use, including an increased risk of mental illness.

Knowing your potential risks—including how long you use marijuana, how much you use, and whether you are prone to psychosis—can play a role in determining your personal risk of experiencing such negative side effects.

Adopting harm reduction strategies, such as reducing the frequency of drug use and using only less potent preparations, may help. If you are worried about having a mental illness or about smoking marijuana, please consult your doctor for further evaluation and advice on your treatment plan.