Harmless? Marijuana-induced psychosis on the upswing
By Josh Kerns, KIRO Radio Reporter | February 26, 2016 Duane Stone is a veteran Seattle mental health specialist. He’s seeing a surprising increase in patients experiencing psychotic episodes as well. Many have never had any mental health problems before. “I get lots of first break kind where this person doesn’t have an experience with mental illness, they don’t have a diagnosis, they’re 30 or 40-years-old. And the only thing they’ve been doing has been smoking marijuana for the last year or two,” Stone said.
How Dangerous is Cannabis for Young Men’s Mental Health?
The most demonstrable health risk associated with marijuana is that for a small portion of users, largely men in their teens and early 20s, the drug may induce psychosis and schizophrenia, sometimes after only short-term use. By highlighting this real, and terrifying, risk of marijuana use, Berenson has done an important public service.
Since our state’s legalization of marijuana, more people are getting high, believing pot is completely harmless. But mental health professionals are seeing a dramatic increase in problems caused by pot, especially in young people. They worry the lack of awareness about its risks will only make matters worse.
Opinion: We need to warn people of all ages that cannabis can send them insane.
What is really needed in dealing with cannabis is a “tobacco moment”, as with cigarettes 50 years ago, when a majority of people became convinced that smoking might give them cancer and kill them. Since then the number of cigarette smokers in Britain has fallen by two-thirds.