April 06, 2003

Cannabis Link to Schizophrenia

The Guardian (UK) is reporting concern that increased use of stronger cannabis can lead to increased rates of schizophrenia, a concern heightened by planned decreases in criminal penalties for use in the UK.

Professor Robin Murray, who is leading the study, said his view of the drug had changed in recent years. He used to be sceptical when cannabis was blamed. 'Relatives would say "It seems to be the cannabis that makes my son or daughter or brother psychotic" and I would say, "Oh, they're being hysterical, they're just trying to look for something to blame". We've come to realise that it does have a significant effect, but it has taken us a long time to wake up to this.' [...] 'We know that for those who take the drug there is a fourfold increase in schizophrenia and a fourfold increase in the chances of suffering major depressive illness.'

I guess my question would be how we can quantify effects in illnesses that are as ill-defined as schizophrenia. It is just as likely that schizophrenic-prone individuals seek cannabis to self-medicate. As always, these studies seem to be lobbed in to affect the legal process than to aid the treatment process.

Posted by campbell at April 6, 2003 01:20 AM | TrackBack