But, the question still stands: Can the use of cannabis make you go crazy?
As Dr. Gerdeman notes, we know that cannabis has a long and enduring history as a medicine. At the same time, the plant is a powerful psychoactive substance – and can be hallucinogenic with heavy consumption (that would be heavy THC consumption).
According to Dr. Gerdeman, here’s where the “cannabis-causes-insanity” notion comes from: many young people use cannabis and then subsequently develop psychosis called schizophrenia. (Research has also indicated this happens with tobacco as well.) Scientific studies show that cannabis use has been repeatedly associated with a higher incidence of schizophrenia.
So what’s going on?
According to Dr. Gerdeman, a sophisticated parsing through of the science literature suggests that cannabis doesn’t cause psychosis – referred to in science as causation. But rather, there’s a connection or correlation between the use of cannabis and schizophrenia.
So what does that mean?
This aspect of cannabis has long been of particular interest to Dr. Gerdeman, who extensively speaks and teaches on cannabis and potential risks to brain health. And he says multiple studies have investigated this question about whether cannabis causes schizophrenia.
The take-away is this
Those who are predisposed to schizophrenia (generally young people) might very well be drawn to cannabis because it makes them feel better. Before full-blown symptoms of the mental disorder emerge, there are low-grade symptoms such as numbing of emotions, apathy and inability to feel pleasure. It would makes sense that they’d look for ways to feel better… and using cannabis would be one of them.
In his article, Dr. Gerdeman takes a deep literary sigh in welcoming a new report in the prestigious journal, JAMA Psychiatry in which the authors analyze all of the existing studies and conclude that “an appreciable proportion of the association [between cannabis and schizophrenia] is not causal [that cannabis doesn’t cause it]”.
However, they indicate that there is clearly enough evidence to show that genetics and other risk factors are at play for a very small percentage of the population. So, as Dr. Gerdeman advises, when there is a family history of the disease, “high-THC cannabis should be approached with the utmost caution or outright avoided. It indeed might promote the onset of psychosis in such populations.”
Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the U.S. population. Therefore 99% of the population will not be challenged by this. In my work, regardless of whether it’s my master courses, events or personal coaching, I require everyone to sign a waiver – yes to protect me legally given the nature of my work but importantly to clarify to the participant with this personal history that working with cannabis is not recommended and, in fact, contraindicated and should be avoided entirely.
In fact, when you join me for our next Psychedelic Cannabis event, as always, you will sign a waiver in order to participate. It’s my way of taking care of everyone and asking everyone to take care of themselves:)
If you’d like to get details and register for this upcoming event on November 28th, please go here.