Smoking Cannabis Virtually Doubles the Risk of Developing Mental Illness such as Schizophrenia

1066 WordsJun 23, 20185 Pages
The media are often guilty of presenting studies in a way that leads to misinterpretation by the public. A recent BBC news article reads “Cannabis use ‘raises psychosis risk’ – Study” and the Daily Mail warns “Cannabis use ‘doubles risk of psychosis for teenagers”. Such headlines give the impression that there has been a clear causal relationship found between smoking cannabis and the development of mental illnesses (News, 2011; Hope, 2011). Kuepper et al. (2011), the study referred to above, reported that cannabis use is a risk factor for the development of incident psychotic symptoms (short-lasting individual symptoms). They found that cannabis users were almost twice as likely to report incident psychotic symptoms (adjusted odds ratio…show more content…
Due to the lack of experimental control, large participant samples are required in order to look for a connection between cannabis use and psychosis. This further reduces researchers’ ability do large-scale studies looking directly at the effects of cannabis use. It is not economically feasible to diagnose an follow a large cohort of participants using objective clinical measures. This means that the validity of the research is stretched further, as cost effective means of measuring psychoticism and cannabis do not use direct measures. Psychoticism is generally inferred by way of self-reports from individuals on whether they have experienced psychotic symptoms. This might introduce confounds, and further reduces the likelihood that self-reports of incidence psychotic symptoms are truly indicative of cannabis being a causal risk in developing a mental illness. For example, participants may become aware of the purpose of the study and worry about drug-use having an effect, thus start to actively look for and remember such incidences, more so than non-users. Due to ethical, funding and time constraints, it is incredibly difficult for researchers to get a clear picture of the effect cannabis use has on the development of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. The field of research is marred with problems, there is still

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