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Cannabis Use and Psychotic Illness

September 30th, 2009 · No Comments

A team of researchers from Australia and the U.S. led by Dr. Louisa Degenhardt at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, have made the case for estimating the role that cannabis (aka marijuana) plays as a risk factor for psychosis worldwide.

This could give an idea of the extent of impact cannabis has on our public healthy globally. The information could be very valuable for guiding health policymakers in their decisions regarding services, research and health policies.

There is a high profile international research initiative called the Global Burden of Disease Project. The project has assessed that some of the risk factors are: smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and alcohol use.

Dr. Degenhardt and colleagues examine the studies that have shown a link between using cannabis (marijuana) and developing psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia. Based on the strength of this evidence, and on the fact that cannabis use is a potentially preventable exposure, they debate that the Global Burden of Disease Project should include cannabis as a risk factor. The lines of evidence suggest that cannabis may be a particular risk for those vulnerable to developing the illness.

Researchers in Australia included cannabis in their national study of the impact of risk factors and diseases affecting the population’s health. In estimating the impact of cannabis, the researchers assumed that the evidence was sufficient enough to show a link between cannabis use and psychosis, suicide, and car crashes.

It is debated that if the international community does not estimate the global impact of cannabis or marijuana use, there will be important consequences.

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Tags: Marijuana Addiction

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