A new cannabis study suggests that marijuana smoking may increase psychosis-related effects in individuals who are already at a high risk of developing psychotic disorders.
In a preliminary study conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), it was found that the drug affects low risk and high risk groups differently.
The study was participated by six young adults who were determined to be high risk and six controls who were determined to be healthy.
All of them were then given half of an active or placebo marijuana cigarette and a psychological and physiological assessment were done prior to and after every smoking event.
Both groups showed signs of intoxication after smoking marijuana yet only the high risk group showed brief increases in anxiety and paranoia. They also exhibited signs of disrupted sensory perception and cognitive performance after they smoked the drug.
Individuals who are considered high risk are those who experience psychotic symptoms such as paranoia and perceptual disturbances even when not under the influence of the drug.
The study probed the correlation between the use of cannabis and psychosis in the general population cited in previous researches.
“Many adolescents and young adults who are at high risk for psychosis smoke marijuana regularly or have a cannabis use disorder yet researchers haven’t studied the effects of marijuana in this population in a rigorous, controlled manner,” says professor of neurobiology at the CUMC and the study’s senior author Margaret Haney, PhD.
The full paper can be read in the online edition of Psychiatry Research.