Pot smoking may lead to schizophrenia


New research shows that schizophrenic patients who have a history of cannabis use show a different pattern of brain activity in a fMRI than schizophrenics who have not used cannabis products.

Previous reports also support the new findings

The team, from University of Bergen in Norway, had previously demonstrated that cannabis use leads to a temporary cognitive breakdown in non-psychotic people, eventually resulting in long-term psychosis. In another report from Yale, researchers there indicated that the main active ingredient in cannabis causes temporary schizophrenia-like symptoms like delusions and impairments in memory.

Cannabis makes non-psychotic people vulnerable

This new study provides evidence that cannabis users who are living with schizophrenia may have higher cognitive abilities than schizophrenics who never used cannabis. This suggests that those who used cannabis did not have the same mental inclination for psychosis. Their brains were able to maintain higher cognitive abilities. In other words, cannabis makes non-psychotic people vulnerable to schizophrenia.

Brain activity is different

“While brain activity for both groups was similar, there are subtle differences between schizophrenia sufferers with a history of cannabis use and those who have never used cannabis. These differences lead us to believe that the cognitive weakness leading to schizophrenia is imitated by the effects of cannabis in otherwise non-psychotic people,” explained Else-Marie Loebert, lead author and associate professor of Psychology at the University of Bergen.

The volunteers submitted to a series of tests which challenged their auditory processing abilities while in a fMRI. They found that schizophrenic patients with a history of cannabis use not only had consistently higher levels of brain activity, but could also answer questions correctly. Their neuro-cognitive shortcomings are different.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Frontiers in Psychiatry


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