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Pot, schizophrenia linked: Study says smoking weed can lead to psychotic illness

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Are pot and schizophrenia linked? A new study is saying that smoking weed can in fact lead to the psychotic illness in adult life, although the medical science behind the theory cannot yet be confirmed. NBC News reports this Wednesday, June 25, 2014, that the breaking health study has suggested that people who smoke weed frequently may have an increased chance of developing a future psychotic illness like schizophrenia, but the reverse is also true.

Although these new health studies have not been verified on a mass scale, health experts from Europe have recently conducted an investigation into a possible correlation between marijuana and schizophrenia. Their findings are rather startling, as the researchers have revealed that even modest use of cannabis is linked with a higher chance of getting a mental disease like schizophrenia later on in life. However, the opposite notion is also true; people predisposed to having schizophrenia may in turn be much more likely to engage in cannabis use.

There are some conflicts regarding this research, and which entity may cause the other. Some critics say that numerous pot, schizophrenia correlation studies have been conducted in the past, and little verifiable proof has ever been given; only a heightened possibility of a relationship factor between the two is mentioned. Furthermore, some scientists say that a genetic likelihood to schizophrenia can actually be a direct cause (or risk factor) to wanting to smoke weed in the first place. Such a predisposition might be a natural reason why such “high” numbers of people suffering from a psychotic illness also use marijuana.

According to News Oxy, the latest slew of interesting findings was conducted by a European group from London. Their research did in fact suggest that genetics may play a significant role in a connection between people smoking pot and having schizophrenic symptoms, implying that they are intertwined in still undefined ways. The study was featured this week in the latest issue of the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry.

It is believed that given enough time and further research, the results of this pot, schizophrenia link could make a major difference in the ongoing marijuana dispute, including its use for recreational purposes and medical purposes. As examined in the team’s study, the experts explored roughly 2,000 people's habits. Roughly half of those individuals reported in a survey that they were habitual smokers of weed.

The researchers then analyzed the patients’ overall genome, trying to identify any variations that have previously been correlated with the psychotic illness. The pot and schizophrenia linked study revealed that people who had a genetic profile most prone to the mental disease were up to 50 percent more likely to smoke marijuana.

It appears that the most hotly contended part of the study is the possibility that the marijuana use is what might actually lead to resulting schizophrenic symptoms and episodes. The researchers are still investigating this as a “definite option,” but currently only feel safe in saying that there does seem to be a significant overlap between these two entities.

“We know that cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia,” lead author Robert Power, a psychiatry researcher at Kings College, said in a statement. “Our study certainly does not rule this out, but it suggests that there is likely to be an association in the other direction as — that a predisposition to schizophrenia also increases your likelihood of cannabis use.”

Other potential issues that could create a noticeable directional connection between marijuana and psychotic illness could include environmental factors, the amount and frequency of smoking weed, and comprehensive genetic risk proclivities. Do you agree with the authors’ findings that pot and schizophrenia are linked? Which most accurately affects the other is what perhaps remains unclear at this point.

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