A new study shows that people who regularly smoke high potency marijuana are many times more likely to develop dangerous psychotic mental disorders.
The study found that pot users were three times more likely to develop serious psychotic disorders than non-users. But the risk increased to five times more likely among users of high potency pot.
“If we think there’s something particular about (high-potency) cannabis, then making that harder to get a hold of, could be a useful harm-reduction measure,” Suzanne Gage of the University of Liverpool, told The Associated Press.
Researchers at King’s College in London looked at data from 11 areas in Europe and Brazil from 2010 to 2015. “The researchers compared 901 patients who were diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis to a control group of 1,237 from the same sites,” The Blaze noted.
Our findings confirm previous evidence of the harmful effect on mental health of daily use of cannabis, especially of high-potency types. Importantly, they indicate for the first time how cannabis use affects the incidence of psychotic disorder,” the authors of the study wrote in a summary of their findings.
The study is the biggest one to look at the effect of pot on psychiatric disorders.
“This study is groundbreaking,” Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said in a statement. “It is the first to show how marijuana impacts population rates of psychosis — and its results are chilling. For years we have known that low potency marijuana was damaging to mental health. Now the scientific literature is catching up with the rapidly increasing THC potency we are seeing on the market today.”
The researchers warned that people with a family history of psychotic disorders may be even more at risk by using pot.
“That could be the thing that tips the scale for some people,” Dr. Gage added. “Cannabis for them could be an extra risk factor, but it definitely doesn’t have to be involved. If you use cannabis, it doesn’t mean you are definitely going to develop psychosis.”
The findings mirror research done by writer Alex Berenson, who we featured here at Godfather in February.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.