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Cannabis raises risk of psychosis

27th July 2007

Experts say that users of cannabis are 40% more likely to suffer a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia than non-users.


In an article in The Lancet, a team from universities in Cardiff and Bristol said that it was important that young people were made aware of the dangers.

Researchers found that the most regular cannabis users had twice the risk of having psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions, though links with depression and anxiety were less clear.

Study author Professor Glyn Lewis said: “It is possible that the people who use cannabis might have other characteristics that themselves increase risk of psychotic illness. However, all the studies have found an association and it seems appropriate to warn members of the public about the possible risk.?

His advice to cannabis users who were developing mental health problems or who had a family history of psychotic illness was to stop using the drug.

Additional research has claimed that up to 800 potentially avoidable cases of schizophrenia a year in the UK among 15- to 34-year-olds.

Cannabis was downgraded from a class B drug to a class C drug in 2004, making possession a non-arrestable offence inmost cases but new Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced a consultation on reclassifying cannabis as class B with suggestions that stronger strains are now more widely available. A number of cabinet ministers have recently admitted taking cannabis when they were younger.

Mental health charity SANE said the analysis should act as a serious warning of the dangers of regular or heavy cannabis use.


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Article Information

Title: Cannabis raises risk of psychosis
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 3577
Date Added: 27th Jul 2007


BBC News

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