Strong cannabis may result in mental illness
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A new study found that strong cannabis might lead to brain damage in frequent users, a trend that is reportedly growing in the United Kingdom. High-potency cannabis, or “skunk”, has been shown to have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Even more, it’s apparently much stronger than it was around 10 years ago.
Researchers at King’s College London conducted a study to understand the potential risk of frequent use of high-potency marijuana. Their research included 56 patients who claimed an episode of psychosis with the average age of 29 years old, and another 43 participants who were deemed healthy, with the average age of 27 years old.
Psychosis is considered a very serious mental condition that shows through delusions or hallucinations, which can later lead a schizophrenia diagnosis. In testing, THC has been noticed to lead to episodes of psychosis, which would be much graver within “skunk” due to higher levels. The study was also fueled by the fact that high-potency cannabis is becoming the most commonly used type of marijuana in the U.K.
Among the patients with psychosis, 70% of them smoked cannabis every day, while only 50% of the healthy participants did the same. Researchers found that by consuming daily doses of high-potency marijuana, the participants featured greater damage within the white matter of their brain. It’s made of axons, or neural fibers.
The more they smoked strong marijuana, the greater the damage was found in the neural fibers in the “corpus callosum”. That is the structure that essentially allows communication between the right and left side of the brain. Any amount of distress or disruption can lead to serious conditions. It’s a crucial part of the brain, and the damage could lead to various mental illnesses.
Participants who consumed high-potency cannabis displayed much greater damage than those who weren’t smokers, or daily consumed low-potency marijuana. The stronger kind has started being made around a decade ago for the purpose of giving consumers a longer and more intense ‘buzz’.
According to Dr. Paola Dazzan, they found that strong cannabis significantly affects the white matter in the brain. This was the case for both types of participants, be it healthy or those who had suffered episodes of psychosis. It damages an important part of the brain, and it was found to be independent to pre-existing conditions.
Dr. Dazzan called for an “urgent need” to both educate the public, policy makers, and medial health professionals on the risks commonly associated with daily marijuana use. Its more stronger counterpart could be met with long-term effects.
Image source: dailyrecord.co.uk