The debate on the health effects of medical marijuana has intensified. Health experts warn cannabis can have a range of negative effects on users’ health. It can make them feel confused, anxious and paranoid or experience panic attacks and hallucinations.
In some cases, they can develop schizophrenia.
These psychotic effects are more common among those taking the strongest forms of cannabis, such as skunk or sinsemilla.
The key compound that causes psychosis is tetra-hydrocannabinol, or THC, which is also the chemical that produces the ‘high’ users get from the drug.
King’s College London researchers have published a study in the journal Lancet Psychiatry describing how people who use skunk have a much greater risk of developing psychotic mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Compared to those who never had cannabis, skunk users were twice as likely to be diagnosed with psychosis if they used it once a week and three times as likely if they used it at weekends. The risk rises to five times if they were daily users.
As well as triggering mental illness, the drug has a host of other negative effects, the British National Health Service (NHS) advises.
It can interfere with the ability to drive safely, which is why driving under the influence of cannabis is an offence.
Heavy cannabis users can become demotivated and uninterested in other areas of their life, such as education or work.
Cannabis smokers are more likely to suffer from conditions such as bronchitis. It also harms sperm production in men, and interferes with ovulation in women.
But a new researcher suggests a supplement derived from cannabis halves the risk of suffering a seizure in 44 percent of epilepsy sufferers.
A United States (US) study found Taking cannabidiol (CBD) alongside the commonly-prescribed medication clobazam also makes 10 percent of epilepsy patients drug-free.
The dual treatment also enables up to 26 percent of sufferers to reduce their medications’ doses, the research adds.
Introducing CBD into epilepsy patients’ drug regimens also makes 14 percent feel more alert and better able to communicate, the study found.
The findings were reported in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.
CBD is a cannabis-derived nutritional supplement that is thought to possess a range of medicinal benefits and has been reported to help people suffering from migraines, psoriasis, acne and depression.
It does not contain any THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis that makes users ‘high’.
Nearly one in three epilepsy patients are resistant to existing treatments and continue to suffer seizures.
Can cannabis make you feel alienated?
Cannabis users are more likely to experience negative emotions, particularly feeling alienated from others, research suggested in January 2018.
People who use marijuana are significantly more likely to feel that others wish them harm or are deceiving them, a study found.
Brain scans also reveal the class-B drug increases signal connectivity in regions of the brain that have previously been linked to psychosis, the research adds, which is associated with severe depression.