Cannabis-Induced Psychosis

Cannabis-Induced Psychosis: What You Need to Know

The next state to legalize recreational marijuana may be New York in 2019, according to NBC News. So far, Vox reports that 13 states have decriminalized recreational cannabis and 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, according to a National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Marijuana Overview. As more and more states push for cannabis decriminalization and legalization, cannabis-induced psychosis is expected to become increasingly common, as evidenced by marijuana-related toxic trends reports. Researchers in Denmark conducted a study of 6,800 patients who experienced drug-induced psychosis, particularly from cannabis, and findings reveal that almost a third of the participants developed schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (BD) within 20 years of follow-up.

Are you at risk for developing cannabis-induced psychosis?

It’s difficult to identify risk factors for cannabis users, as they vary from one individual to another. There is no clear evidence that sheds light on the causal relationship between substance abuse and mental illness, though the two are commonly comorbid. Whether or not you have a family history of mental illness, research findings show that cannabis is the most frequently implicated substance responsible for an overall conversion rate of 47.4% to schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Risk factors for either disorder are as follows:

• Age
• Gender
• History of drug and alcohol abuse
• Presence of an eating disorder or personality disorder
• History of mental illness, including depression and anxiety

Even though drug-induced psychosis may be resolved after drug and alcohol detox and substance abuse treatment, new research shows that young cannabis users are five times more likely to develop a chronic psychotic disorder later in life. In other words, the younger you start, the greater your risk.

Will cannabis-related products with no THC increase my risks for drug-induced psychosis?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been identified as the main psychoactive ingredient for producing the euphoric high experienced by users and for symptoms associated with cannabis-induced psychosis. Does this mean that non-THC cannabis-related products, such as cannabidiol (CBD) oil, are harmless? Currently, there are no long-term data on the risks of CBD, a cannabis compound found in marijuana. The medical benefits and therapeutic interventions that CBD oil promises are now being challenged by experts. This largely unregulated plant extract can only boast of one medical benefit for which there is strong evidence, and that is the treatment of epilepsy, according to WebMd.

What are the symptoms of cannabis-induced psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental disconnection from reality, but it is a symptom, not a disorder. Symptoms of psychosis may include the following:

• Hallucinations
• Delusions
• Erratic behavior
• Disturbance in sleep patterns
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Incoherent speech
• Bloodshot eyes
• Drowsiness
• Memory loss
• Dry mouth
• Insatiable appetite

Men are four times more likely than women to develop cannabis-induced psychosis

According to a study published in the Journal of Advances in Dual Diagnosis, researchers at the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York investigated the differences between men and women as they traced the development of drug-induced psychosis from their initial exposure to marijuana. Trends show that males are twice as likely to use cannabis, and men are four times more likely to develop cannabis-induced psychosis.

Gender matters in substance abuse treatment for cannabis-related disorders

Just as men and women respond differently to substance use, each gender would require a unique approach to treatment for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Gender-specific addiction treatment and recovery programs are delivered in a variety of settings such as residential treatment and intensive outpatient (IOP) settings where individuals receive client-centered care in a safe environment without distractions.

Early therapeutic interventions for substance use are critical in preventing the development of future psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, one of the leading causes of severe disabilities. Dual diagnosis treatment integrates pharmacological interventions with psychological therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. The integration of both types of therapeutic interventions significantly improves treatment outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders.

New Method Wellness, a premier dual diagnosis treatment center in San Juan Capistrano, CA, takes addiction treatment to the next level by offering holistic therapies for individuals who don’t respond to traditional psychotherapy. Holistic therapies come in various forms, such as equine therapy, paddleboard therapy, art therapy, massage and yoga; these adjunctive interventions enhance the clients’ experience in their journey to recovery

For more information about dual diagnosis treatment, call 866.951.1824

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