Does pot lead to psychosis?
I just read an article suggesting that marijuana may lead to psychosis. Of course, it was peppered with statements such as “researchers said they couldn’t prove that marijuana use itself increases the risk of psychosis.” It also tells us that the increased risk is 40%, but later tells us that the risk factor for most people is 0.5%, which means the risk for pot users, if this research actually could show a direct causal relationship with a 40% increase in risk, that risk would be 0.7%. In “heavy users” the increased risk was 50-200% (which means an actual risk factor of 0.75-1.0%). While I haven’t taken many statistics courses, I do feel there is reason to wonder what the margin for error is. Feel free to let me know in a comment if this question doesn’t pertain to this case for some reason. The article then says, “Scientists cannot rule out that pre-existing conditions could have led to both marijuana use and later psychoses,” but a few sentences later says,”Some experts say governments should now work to dispel the misconception that marijuana is a benign drug.” If anything, while this research may suggest that there is cause for further research, it does not prove anything, and is not sufficient evidence to drive any harsher anti-marijuana laws (as if they weren’t harsh enough), although the article suggests that in the UK, it just might do that.
Damning the results of this research even more is the closing paragraph of disclaimers:
“Two of the authors of the study were invited experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Cannabis Review in 2005. Several authors reported being paid to attend drug company-sponsored meetings related to marijuana, and one received consulting fees from companies that make antipsychotic medications.”
So, while the AP article tries to maintain support for the interpretation of the results of the research that suggests that marijuana use does increase the risk of psychosis, the reality is that it just seems to be yet another attempt by the drug companies and others to cause fear and maintain support for unjustifiable policies.