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Smoking Pot & Schitzophrenia

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electricsheep

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Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
16
Just want to put the issue out there. I'm interested in other peoples experiences of smoking weed and becoming psychotic?

There are many people who do use drugs and weed and don't have psychosis BUT is there a connection between the smoking of pot (usually Skunk as its 20x stronger than just pot) and people having psychotic episodes. Have other people smoked and had mad episodes and psychosis? Have people over tiime continued smoking and develped SZ or was SZ latent and weed activated it?

What do people think about the legalization debate? Weed being cat. B drug?

Do people sTill smoke? WhaT efFects does it have now?

I mySelf started smoking twenty years ago and continued as a heavy dope head for 10 years after my first psychotic episode. If I had stopped after my 1st episode would I have recovered or not? That question haunts me as I have developed chronic SZ.

But my mum said I was weird as a kid!! So I just don't know the answers to these questions. What I do know is there are millions of people that use weed and DON'T have psychosis - is it just a very small %?

Any thoughts very welcome :) Electricsheep :unsure:
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I smoked pot heavily for 17 years; along with taking other drugs.

My opinion is that the brain is highly complex - I don't think that there is any singular cause for mental health difficulties. That there is no either/or answer; but in reality a plethora of factors that influence & combine to both cause & exasperate a MH condition. I have no simple answer as to drug use either. I had some great experiences on drugs, & bad ones. Overall my drug using was a nightmare & took me to Hell. But in some ways; especially early on, I think that self medicating with drugs may have helped, & at certain times I did feel better when under the influence. It was consequences of drug use that was far more the problem.

Despite a small slip, in the 8 years of being T-Total & in addiction recovery - I have had some of the worst psychosis in my life. I have been stable for over 4 years now, & my quality of life is much better being off all street drugs. Some aspects of my well being, & MH was linked to drug use. Overall my MH has improved not taking drugs & drinking. But other aspects of my condition; I don't think had anything to do with drug usage.

I can cite & explore as causes & influences to my MH condition - physical (Biological), Mental (psychological), spiritual (Trans-Personal), life experiences, society, environment, up-bringing, diet, trauma & stress, past life issues, socio-economic/political concerns, inter personal relationships & family dynamics, & all kinds of stuff as impacting this condition. I don't think that things can be easily separated out, as being distinct causes & influences over other things; everything is intertwined with everything else, in many ways.

As regards to severe mental illness; & schizophrenia - drug use does not cause it, & there is no scientific evidence that it does. It may well be that drug use influences, exasperates, or contributes to a MH condition; but causes it? I don't think so. The reality is that no one knows what causes things like schizophrenia.

Society loves something to blame & demonise - drugs are an easy scape goat. People want explanations for things; again drugs fit the bill. I think that we need to be careful here. Isn't it saying that it's the persons fault that they are mad because they chose to take drugs? I used to have a lot of guilt & shame over my drug use - I no longer do, not in any way like I did anyway.

Simply put; I do think that the street drugs exasperated my MH condition, but did not wholly cause it. I think that another interesting question is why would some us take these drugs to begin with? What caused that? & what other factors were involved in that. Largely I think that people take drink & drugs to feel better. Although there were many reasons, I think that was the main reason I took drugs - was to ease certain mental & emotional pain. The problem is that drugs are not a solution.

This whole drugs debate always raises in me the question of medication - separated from the legality issues - medications are mind altering psychoactive substances - little different from their illegal cousins; in fact many street drugs had medicinal usage; & were often once widely used psychiatric drugs themselves; & are often used in the same way & for the same reasons as prescribed psychiatric drugs are. Unfortunately, highly emotive reactions get in the way of the majority of peoples ability to rationally, intelligently & calmly debate this pertinent issue. Cognitive dissonance is preferable & more acceptable for the vast majority.
 
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electricsheep

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Nov 1, 2009
Messages
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Thanks for your very cogent and intelligent insight into the questions raised. I also believe that drugs (street) are very easily blamed and in reality it is the culmination of many different fators (PHYSICAL/MENTAl/SOCIOLOGICAL/ENVIRONMENTAL) etc. There is no debate or questions raised by the powers that be on the treatment of MH with very powerful, brain altering medications and the very serios side-effects of these DRUGS.

In every era we see through a certain perspective in our age it is chemical - the chemical mechanisms of the brain and how doctors treat EVERYTHING with drugs. The PHARMA companies can now medicate beeing too unhappy, being too happy, being too thin, being too fat, OCD, B/P/ SZ/ social phobias etc. We live in a chemical age. I think its true that doctors use MDMA as a therapy.

I don't follow the laws on street drugs as they make no sense and I do know that some of my most creative and enlightning experiences have been under the influence and some of the worst trips haver been whilst on prescribed medications. There ar no simple answers or solutions.

After 20 years as an ADDICT I am now iun recovery and yes it is important to ask the questions WHY was I using drugs, alchohol etc. to escape?

In loving felowship

Sheep :confused:
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
After 20 years as an ADDICT I am now iun recovery and yes it is important to ask the questions WHY was I using drugs, alchohol etc. to escape?

In loving felowship

Sheep :confused:
For me I simply took then to feel good, that was it. It's that simple. Of course I had silly hedonistic ideas as well, about mind expansion, & spiritual ritualistic practise & other vagaries. At a deeper level I could say that I was unhappy & in a certain amount of mental & emotional pain, & then go into all the reasons for that; especially past trauma issues from early childhood. I can also go deeper again, & look at potential spiritual explanations & reasons such as ego/spirit imbalances, dark entities & energies, & past life issues. But in reality; it isn't really necessary to know the full explanations as to why things were the way they were, or why I was unhappy. Maybe if I spend my entire life trying to figure out why it is I was so unhappy, & had such difficulties, then maybe I would finally arrive at an answer? But is it not better to instead focus on the 'why' of being content & happy, in the present moment; & how to achieve that?

If we have a reason to live for - a person, a role, a goal, something that only we can do as individuals; a purpose - a 'why' for our existence - they just about any 'how' can be tolerated.
 
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E

electricsheep

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Nov 1, 2009
Messages
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You have a very deep insight into humaness and are very elequent in your explanation. Yes, there are questions as to 'WHY' and 'HOW' and 'WHAT [email protected] etc. all questions to meditate on and perhaps pend the rest of life trying to understand. For me it was a good 'high' ith other peope - the experience was great and social - the problemsstarted when it wasn't so great and I became isolated and turned to hermitue in a way to try to find 'meaning in my suffering'. I started with the MH team, then councillors (who all are coming from a specific theory or philsophy .

I remember 1 councillr who said 'it was your potty training' I left and wish I had said 'wht a load of sh**t!!'. You can spend a lifetime searchhing for reasons and answers and after all we are all doctors with PhD's of ourselves. I think it was Aristotkle who liked the bottle!! No, he said 'Know thyself heal thyself physician'.

We all have thought and looked and imagined what if? Childhood trauma, traumatic experience, spiritual awakning, spiritual crisis, birth trauma, conception trauma, past life regression, karmic (I think you know what I'm saying).

:)

:)
 
J

jamesdean

Guest
I smoked cannabis for ten years and loved every minute of it "it chilled me out more than anything ever in my life"I only gave it up really because I gave up smoking so it was the habit that I gave up really,I have had some orally since but it keeps me awake at night n thats something that I enjoy since being on ad's and temazepam is a sleeping pattern most of the time.
My imagination and thoughts whilst always stoned were very pleasent and I didnt have any needs to do things during the day I was almost recluse.

I do understand there is a need has to why people drink or take drugs and that is to ease the pain of life.I think that will always be.JD
 
A

Apotheosis

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E

electricsheep

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Nov 1, 2009
Messages
16
Current Research

Of course there is lots of research out there on both sides of the debate - but I thought this may be of interest.

People with any biological predisposition towards schizophrenia are at the highest risk -- unfortunately its impossible to accurately identify this predisposition beforehand ( a family history of mental illness is just one indicator of such a predisposition). [see causes and prevention of schizophrenia for more information on all risk factors linked to a person developing schizophrenia]

Researchers in New Zealand found that those who used cannabis by the age of 15 were more than three times (300%) more likely to develop illnesses such as schizophrenia. Other research has backed this up, showing that cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis by up to 700% for heavy users, and that the risk increases in proportion to the amount of cannabis used (smoked or consumed). Additionally, the younger a person smokes/uses cannabis, the higher the risk for schizophrenia, and the worse the schizophrenia is when the person does develop it. Research by psychiatrists in inner-city areas speak of cannabis being a factor in up to 80 percent of schizophrenia cases.

Professor Robin Murray (London Institute of Psychiatry) has recently (2005) completed a 15-year study of more than 750 adolescents in conjunction with colleagues at King's College London and the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Overall people were 4.5 times more likely to be schizophrenic at 26 if they were regular cannabis smokers at 15, compared to 1.65 times for those who did not report regular use until age 18.

Many researchers now believe that using the drug while the brain is still developing boosts levels of the chemical dopamine in the brain, which can directly lead to schizophrenia.

Professor John Henry, clinical toxicologist at Imperial College London said research has shown that people with a certain genetic makeup who use the drug face a ten times (1000%) higher risk of schizophrenia. (for example - if your risk of schizophrenia was 6% (due to a family history of mental illness) prior to taking cannabis, it could be 60% -- or more likely than not - after taking cannabis). Every person is different (i.e. has different genes and different environments) - so this "10 Times Higher Risk with cannabis use"- is just a generalization, and it may or may not apply to a given person.

The increased risk applies to people who inherit variants of a gene named COMT and who smoked cannabis as teenagers. About a quarter of the population have this genetic make-up and up to 15 per cent of the group are likely to develop psychotic conditions if exposed to the drug early in life. Neither the drug nor the gene raises the risk of psychosis by itself.

A recent Dutch study showed that teenagers who indulge in cannabis as few as five times in their life significantly increase their risk of psychotic symptoms.

The increase in evidence during the past decade could be tied to the increased potency of marijuana. A review by the British Lung Association says that the cannabis available on the streets today is 15 times more powerful than the joints being smoked three decades ago.

Schizophrenia can sometimes be triggered by heavy use of hallucinogenic drugs, especially LSD; but it appears that one has to have a genetic predisposition towards developing schizophrenia for this to occur. There is also some evidence suggesting that people suffering from schizophrenia but responding to treatment can have an episode as a result of use of LSD. Methamphetamine and PCP also mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia, and can trigger ongoing symptoms of schizophrenia in those who are vulnerable.

Melbourne University's Professor David Castle stated in a February, 2005 interview that heavy drug use during formative times of life, such as the years at school, could affect the way a teenager or young adult thought, impairing cognitive ability and having a long-term impact on job prospects. Victorian studies had revealed that regular use of cannabis by adolescent girls could trigger long-term depression. And for those vulnerable to a psychotic disorder, even a small amount of cannabis could pose a threat.

Professor Castle, author of the book Marijuana and Madness, has said that those people with this "psychotic proneness" were those who had a family history of mental illness or who had had a bad response on their first use of cannabis or to a tiny amount. Others at risk included those who had experienced a psychotic episode where they had paranoid thinking or heard a voice calling their name. Professor Castle said experiencing such a one-off episode was far more common than people thought.

"People with such a vulnerability should avoid cannabis like the plague," he said.

Without the effects of the drug, such a person might live their whole life without ever experiencing mental health problems. It has been estimated, for example, that between 8% and 13% of people that have schizophrenia today would never have developed the illness without exposure to cannabis.

Professor Castle compared the effect to feeding sweets to a diabetic. While high sugar content foods did not cause too many problems for most people in the short term, they could be catastrophic for diabetics.

He said there was an accumulative effect when it came to cannabis use and schizophrenia. Those who used the drug more than once a week were more prone to needing hospitalisation and often suffered other associated problems such as the breakdown of relations with their family, isolation, crime and violence.

* Cannabis impacts on neurotransmitters that regulate how arousal and stress are managed in the brain. Cannabis takes a long time to metabolise, and can quickly build up to high levels in the body. Once you get to this point, there is a real risk of depression or schizophrenia being triggered.

* A Swedish study of 50,000 military conscripts found heavy use of cannabis increased the risk of suicide by four times (400%). A Victorian study of 2332 adolescents found weekly use increased the risk of suicide attempts among females by five times. Weekly use as a teenager doubled the risk of depression and anxiety. Daily use at the age of 20 boosted the risk of depression and anxiety by five times (500%).



Helpful Actions: If you want to avoid getting schizophrenia - research suggests that the number one thing you should avoid are street drugs (especially marijuana/cannabis - but because you never know what someone has put into a street drug, all of them are dangerous). By avoiding use of all street drugs research suggests that you can greatly reduce the chance (by as much as 50% to 80% if you are biologically predisposed) that you'll develop schizophrenia. Avoiding marijuana after developing schizophrenia also helps reduce relapse rates. Some people with schizophrenia suggest that it makes them feel better, but if depression is an issue we recommend these people talk to their Psych-Doc about possible anti-depressant use rather than street drugs.

Do not use even small amounts of cannabis if you have any family history of mental illness, have had an episode of paranoid thinking or hearing voices or had a bad response when first using cannabis or when using a small amount.

Other street drugs are also very dangerous - partly because they are produced in home laboratories with virtually any possible combination of additional substances mixed in with the drugs. See: Crystal Meth & Schizophrenia


More comments welcome :)
 
P

Pertolweet

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Celebre la planta de magia a mis amigos. Bebida y ser feliz, que mañana moriremos.
 
A

Apotheosis

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A

Apotheosis

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M

mizunderstood

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In my own head
Mad with or without it??

Quote I found: - The direction of causation was more directly examined in a study by Dr. Mikkel Arendt of Aarhus University in Risskov, Denmark, and colleagues, which found that individuals treated for psychotic episodes following cannabis use had the same likelihood of having a mother, sister or other "first-degree" relative with schizophrenia as did the individuals who had actually been treated for schizophrenia themselves. This suggests that the psychosis blamed on cannabis use is in fact the result of a genetic predisposition towards schizophrenia. "These people would have developed schizophrenia whether or not they used cannabis."

I tend to agree with this. I have smoked cannabis for 13 years and still do against the advice of the medical experts. I have had 2 major acute psychotic episodes that were attributed to cannabis use - especially as a teenager. I started smoking cannabis at 15 and had a breakdown at 17 and 23. However I believe and know that there were a number of factors pertaining to the episodes and that quite possiblly on one occasion, that absence of cannabis (when dependant) infact triggered off a breakdown. I went "mad" without it so to speak. Has anyone else felt psychotic with cannabis withdrawal??

I love the effects of cannabis and continue to smoke it regardless if my "predisposition". I find it very theraputic and enjoy smoking it. My psychiatrist once said that cannabis may infact help me, which I tend to agree with. (cos Im a stoner.lol) My doctor is of the impression that because I have smoked it at a young age I have damaged my brain - the part that deals with reality, and says I have no "dampers". I personally think I have always been a little odd, even as a child and I really dont think that If I hadn't have smoked cannabis then I wouldn't have had the psychotic episodes! I know in my heart what caused them - there are many factors, but I know for sure it wasn't through smoking cannabis. I have smoked it all my adult life and its part of my lifestyle. I would'nt give up something I find helpfull and theraputic on the whim that it "might" be linked to psychosis. I think it doesnt do me any harm at all mentally and I catagorically believe that I would have had these episodes regardless. I am aware of what caused them and cannabis isn't it. Its an excuse given my medics because they dont know what else to blame. If you smoke cannabis then thats the easy solution to finding an answer to the question of why - They haven't got a clue really. Its like if you have a heart attack....the first thing they ask you is do you smoke, cos that provides them with the reason for it.

With smokimg cannabis for so long I am used to its effects and have never felt anxious/paranoid etc while smoking it. If it did cause psychosis, surely this long term usage would account for more than 2 major episodes over a 13 year period??

I firmly believe that cannabis alone cannot cause or develop mental illness and that most people who are mentally ill, psychotic or schizophrenic would have been regardless of wether they smoke cannabis or not. There is no concrete evidence that it does cause mentall illness and the law of average says that at least a percentage of cannabis users will go psychotic. If you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it!lol.

P.s. Cannabis grows in nature as God intended. Its a natural substance. Anti-psychotics are man made along with the stupid notion that cannabis can cause sz.
 
E

electricsheep

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I'm not an expert or professional all I have is 20 years experience of MH . Been diagnosed (whatever that counts for) as a SZ and with Bi-polar (they just don't know). I would have agreed with you 20 years agothat "cannabis grows in nature" but now SKUNK is manufactured on an industrial scale and cultivated for its potency. It is far stronger than just HASH or weed from thew 60s. It is grown in artificial conditions with artificial lights etc. so maybe not so natural anymore:D

I can only speak from experience and have spent time in psych wards and with many people who have have had psychotic episodes. The feeling that I gewt is that HASH is okay just a mild high but SKUNK is causing pstychotic episodes with people who have a disposition for MH - MH and PSYCHOSIS is a growing issue in our society - Why are more people developing MH problems? Particularly developing sz and having psychotic episodes.

The treatment for MH is poor and they just throw PHARMA. drugs at people with MH.

In my own experience after 20 years as an addict I can see that the trigger have been after smoking skunk, speed etc.

But its up to everyone to make their own choice.

Keep wa\rm,

SHEEP :)
 
I

IntrospectionFtw!

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Buried under a sand castle.
its funny you say about if you woulda stopped earlier problem is you may start to display slight paranoia or psychosis but most people at a young age arnt exactly savy about mental health at that age so you put it down to a bad experience and keep smoking,even once theres been a intervention and you've been medicated you still dont wanna give up that part of your lifestyle
well i didnt anyway,and then your stuck on antipsychotics which becomes another problem...and i think a bigger problem since alot of people who might have just been in a tempory psychotic state/episode due to cannabis get stuck on medications when they arnt even schizophrenic and then when they come off them they relapse, i think they've got the wrong idea with early intervention over here too much emphasis on medication and the poor kids dont even know what there f****** getting into.
 
R

rasselas

Guest
...

you make a fine point there, introspection.

the drugs for which we do know without doubt that cause a distinct psychotic-like syndrome are cocaine and amphetamine (the posh word for it is psychotomimetic - i love that word). as many know, the fundamental basis of the dopamine hypthesis of schizophrenia is based on the amphetamine psychosis.

pretty much everyone, given amphetamine for a sustained period, will eventually start to experience psychotomimetic symptoms - disturbances of thought, speech perception. mimetic just means to mimic. so, because it was known that dopamine activity was highered by amphetamine and that this led to psychotimimetic symptoms - voila: the cause for schizophrenia.

but... alas... one fundamental problem still to this day brushed hastily under the carpet.

fully fledged schizophrenia is characterised by positive (halluciantions, thought disorder) and negative (lack of effect, volition, all round demotivation) symptoms...

but

amphetamine induced psychosis only ever brings about the positive symptoms. we all know what a rush and positive motivation amphetamine induces.... (though not in everyone, especially children)

so there you have it

thats why the dopamine hypothesis is a half-arsed underlying justification for your typical and atypical antipsychotics!

the other drug that induced actual identifiable scannable showable brain damage (other of couse than thedrugs used to treat the psychosis) is.... alcohol!

ther is simply no evidence at all, at source - that is > the brain - that cannabis causes any brain damage (evidence of the brain suggests it may actually protect brain cells) or any evidence at all that cannabis induces psychosis.

people wil argue blind that it does. but i'd challenge them to first-off undertand the distinction between a so-called organic psychosis (ie schizophrenia) and a mimicy one - as described above

in other words, if you remove the drug, the psychotic-like symptoms go away, and tehre is no lasting brain damage (except with alcohol and posibly crak-cocaine and very very large sustained binges over many years of cocaine or amphetamine

bit none, none at all, with canabis

this does not mean im recommending canabis
and certainly children shouldnt ideally be taking any drugs


including ritalin (a baptism of fire into a lifetime career of psychiatric involvement)

cannabis may exacerbate panic, confusion, disordered thinking - it may compound paranoid thinking associtaed with schizophrenia

the uk govt attempted to suppress a very large scale study that began when they moved cannabis from c to b

they wanted to see a rise in psychosis!

instead, as skunk took hold (it is not 20 times stronger than slate, thats a press myth!) and as the first age of use went lower year on year

first presentation for psychosis/schizophrenia declined

mmm how unexpected - right - bin tha study hush hush!
 
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