Category Archives: Marijuana Disadvantages

Marijuana’s Harmful Effects on Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Differential Cognitive Functioning in 9-12 Years Olds Relative to Prenatal Cigarette and Marijuana Exposure

Prenatal marijuana exposure … was negatively related to executive function tasks that require impulse control and visual analysis/hypothesis testing, and with a number of the intelligence subtests requiring these same abilities. … In utero exposure to marijuana may have a negative impact on aspects of neurocognitive competence that fall under the domain of executive function.

In an examination of cognitive performance of 131 (one-hundred-thirty-one), 9-12 year-old children participating in a Carleton University longitudinal study since birth, discriminant function analysis indicated a dose-dependent association between higher prenatal cigarette exposure in utero and lower performance on global intelligence test scores, with the verbal subtests of the intelligence test discriminating maximally among levels of in utero exposure. In contrast, prenatal marijuana exposure was not associated with global intelligence or the verbal subtests, but rather was negatively related to executive function tasks that require impulse control and visual analysis/hypothesis testing, and with a number of the intelligence subtests requiring these same abilities. The cigarette results extend observations made in this sample and others at earlier ages. The marijuana findings, combined with results observed at earlier ages, lead the authors to suggest that in utero exposure to marijuana may have a negative impact on aspects of neurocognitive competence that fall under the domain of executive function. Fried, P.A., Watkinson, B.M. and Gray, R. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 20 (3), pp. 293-306, 1998.


Neurocognitive function in clinically stable men with bipolar I disorder or schizophrenia and normal control subjects

Within the bipolar group there was … a subset with significant [executive functioning] impairment.

Patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have been shown to have neurocognitive deficits when compared with control subjects. The degree and pattern of impairment between psychiatric groups have rarely been compared, especially when subjects are psychiatrically stable. … Subjects with bipolar disorder were impaired in two specific domains (verbal memory and executive function). Furthermore, within the bipolar group there was a subset with relatively normal executive functioning and a subset with significant impairment. Possible reasons for the persistence of these neurocognitive deficits in some subjects with bipolar disorder during periods of euthymia are reviewed. – Biological Psychiatry, Volume 56, Issue 8, Pages 560-569 (15 October 2004).


Marijuana and Mental Health

The strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction … the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals … distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory … problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse … drug impaired several important measures of life achievement including physical and mental health, cognitive abilities, social life, and career status.A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or is used in attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence. Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses, including addiction, stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. At the present time, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals. … Marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. … Marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. In one study, heavy marijuana abusers reported that the drug impaired several important measures of life achievement including physical and mental health, cognitive abilities, social life, and career status.

Does smoking pot cause man [breasts]?

By Dr. Anthony Youn, CNN Contributor
December 5, 2013
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/05/health/youn-pot-moobs/

Editor’s note: Dr. Anthony Youn is a plastic surgeon in metro Detroit. He is the author of “In Stitches,” a humorous memoir about growing up Asian-American and becoming a doctor.

Many plastic surgeons tell men with gynecomastia, or “man [breasts],” to stop smoking pot.

(CNN) — A young man in his 20s — let’s call him George — sits across from me in the exam room.

“Dr. Youn,” he says, “I have man [breasts].”

I notice a not-so-unfamiliar smell wafting from his body. It’s the same odor that floated my way during a rock concert I recently attended.

“How long have you had a problem with this, George?”

“Hard to say. But it seems to have gotten worse over the past year or so.”

“George, the first thing you need to do is stop smoking pot. Marijuana could be causing your man [breasts].”

Dr. Anthony YounGynecomastia, otherwise known as man [breasts] (or moobs for short), is a condition that affects approximately 33% to 41% of men between the ages of 25 and 45. It’s even more common during puberty, affecting 60% of 14-year-old boys. Interestingly, it also affects 55% to 60% of men aged 50 and older.

Although most cases of gynecomastia resolve spontaneously within a few months to a few years, in 2012 nearly 23,000 people underwent surgery to correct the condition. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), it was the fifth-most common cosmetic surgery in men. Continue reading

Cannabis link to mental illness strengthened (11/21/2002)

New Scientist – November 21, 2002 – Emma Young

The link between regular cannabis use and later depression and schizophrenia has been significantly strengthened by three new studies.

The studies provide “little support” for an alternative explanation – that people with mental illnesses self-medicate with marijuana – according to Joseph Rey and Christopher Tennant of the University of Sydney, who have written an editorial on the papers in the British Medical Journal.

One of the key conclusions of the research is that people who start smoking cannabis as adolescents are at the greatest risk of later developing mental health problems. Another team calculates that eliminating cannabis use in the UK population could reduce cases of schizophrenia by 13 per cent.

Until now, say Rey and Tennant, there was “a dearth of reliable evidence” to support the idea that cannabis use could cause schizophrenia or depression. That lack of good evidence “has handicapped the development of rational public health policies,” according to one of the research groups, led by George Patton at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

The works also highlights potential risks associated with using cannabis as a medicine to ease the symptoms of muscular sclerosis, for example.

Pharmacological effect

Daily cannabis use was associated with a five-fold increased risk of depression at the age of 20. Weekly use was linked to a two-fold increase. The regular users were no more likely to have suffered from depression or anxiety at the start of the study.…The question about a direct pharmacological effect remains.Patton’s team followed over 1600 Australian school pupils aged 14 to 15 for seven years. Daily cannabis use was associated with a five-fold increased risk of depression at the age of 20. Weekly use was linked to a two-fold increase. The regular users were no more likely to have suffered from depression or anxiety at the start of the study.

The reason for the link is unclear. Social consequences of frequent cannabis use include educational failure and unemployment, which could increase the risk of depression. “However, because the risk seems confined largely to daily users, the question about a direct pharmacological effect remains,” says Patton.

In separate research, a team led by Stanley Zammit at the University of Cardiff, UK, evaluated data on over 50,000 men who had been Swedish military conscripts in 1969 and1970. This group represents 97 per cent of men aged 18 to 20 in the population at that time.

The new analysis revealed a dose-dependent relationship between the frequency of cannabis use and schizophrenia. This held true in men with no psychotic symptoms before they started using cannabis, suggesting they were not self-medicating.

Genetic factors

Finally, researchers led by Terrie Moffitt at King’s College London, UK, analysed comprehensive data on over 1000 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972 and 1973.

They found that people who used cannabis by age 15 were four times as likely to have a diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder (a milder version of schizophrenia) at age 26 than non-users.

But when the number of psychotic symptoms at age 11 was controlled for, this increased risk dropped to become non-significant. This suggests that people already at greater risk of later developing mental health problems are also more likely to smoke cannabis.

The total number of high quality studies on cannabis use and mental health disorders remains small, stress Rey and Tennant. And it is still not clear whether cannabis can cause these conditions in people not predisposed by genetic factors, for example, to develop them.

“The overall weight of evidence is that occasional use of cannabis has few harmful effects overall,” Zammit’s team writes. “Nevertheless, our results indicate a potentially serious risk to the mental health of people who use cannabis. Such risks need to be considered in the current move to liberalise and possibly legalise the use of cannabis in the UK and other countries.”

Journal references: British Medical Journal (vol 325, p1195, p1199, p1212, p1183)

23:01 21 November 02

© Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

http://www.newscientist.com/news/print.jsp?id=ns99993098

 

Longtime Marijuana Use Linked With Decreased Motivation

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/02/marijuana-motivation-longtime-use-pot_n_3534031.html

By Denise Chow, Staff Writer
Published: 07/02/2013 06:47 AM EDT on LiveScience

The stereotype of pot smokers as lackadaisical loafers is supported by new research: People who smoke marijuana regularly over long periods of time tend to produce less of a chemical in the brain that is linked to motivation, a new study finds.

Researchers in the United Kingdom scanned the brains of 19 regular marijuana users, and 19 nonusers of the same sex and age, using positron emission tomography (PET), which helps measure the distribution of chemicals throughout the brain.

They found that the long-term cannabis users tended to produce less dopamine, a “feel good” chemical in the brain that plays an important role in motivation and reward-driven behavior. [Trippy Tales: The History of 8 Hallucinogens] Continue reading

The 500 compounds in marijuana can produce 1000s of byproducts—many of which are thought to be carcinogens

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/10/truth-about-marijuana/

The pot doctor has a backache. As Mahmoud ElSohly, shakes my hand, he’s wincing. Two days ago, ElSohly—the director of the University of Mississippi’s Marijuana Project—bent down the wrong way and threw out his back. And unfortunately, this morning’s visit to his chiropractor didn’t help him much.

Ironically, just outside ElSohly’s office in the Waller Complex—behind bolted doors, coded chambers, and security cameras—lies a government-guarded farm where acres of a pain-relieving drug grow in his care. Only Elsohly isn’t thinking about lighting up: He knows too much. Continue reading

Is It Worth Losing Your Manhood?

Marijuana Use May Increase Risk of Testicular Cancer

A new study from the University of Southern California (USC) has found a link between recreational marijuana use and an increased risk of developing subtypes of testicular cancer that tend to carry a somewhat worse prognosis. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that the potential cancer-causing effects of marijuana on testicular cells should be considered not only in personal decisions regarding recreational drug use, but also when marijuana and its derivatives are used for therapeutic purposes in young male patients.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in young men ages 15 to 45 years. The malignancy is becoming more common … men with a history of using marijuana were twice as likely to have subtypes of testicular cancer called non-seminoma and mixed germ cell tumors. These tumors usually occur in younger men and carry a somewhat worse prognosis than the seminoma subtype.Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in young men ages 15 to 45 years. The malignancy is becoming more common, and researchers suspect this is due to increasing exposure to unrecognized environmental causes.

To see if recreational drug use might play a role, Victoria Cortessis, MSPH, PhD, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, and her colleagues looked at the self-reported history of recreational drug use in 163 young men diagnosed with testicular cancer and compared it with that of 292 healthy men of the same age and race/ethnicity.

The investigators found that men with a history of using marijuana were twice as likely to have subtypes of testicular cancer called non-seminoma and mixed germ cell tumors. These tumors usually occur in younger men and carry a somewhat worse prognosis than the seminoma subtype. The study’s findings confirm those from two previous reports in CANCER on a potential link between marijuana use and testicular cancer.

Continue reading

Pot Lowers I.Q. by 8 Points – PERMANENTLY

Teenage Cannabis Smoking ‘Permanently Lowers IQ’

Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are putting themselves at risk of permanently damaging their intelligence, according to a landmark study.

Starting smoking cannabis during one’s teens can have permanent effects on the brain, found researchers.

July 27, 2012

Researchers found persistent users of the drug, who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults.

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acrobittyPersistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife

They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained.

Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, found academics at King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

Continue reading

Effects of Marijuana on Children

If a woman is pregnant and smokes marijuana, will it hurt the baby?

In school, these children are more likely to have problems with decision-making, memory, and the ability to remain attentive. … Since some parts of the brain continue to develop throughout adolescence, it is also possible that certain kinds of problems may appear as the child matures.

Doctors advise pregnant women not to use any drugs because they could harm the growing fetus. … Studies in children born to mothers who used marijuana have shown increased behavioral problems during infancy and preschool years. In school, these children are more likely to have problems with decision-making, memory, and the ability to remain attentive. Researchers are not certain whether health problems that may be caused by early exposure to marijuana will remain as the child grows into adulthood. However, since some parts of the brain continue to develop throughout adolescence, it is also possible that certain kinds of problems may appear as the child matures.

Continue reading

Marijuana use may speed psychosis

MarijuanaUseMaySpeedPsychosis

by Stephanie Smith | February 7, 2011

Using marijuana, or cannabis, may cause psychosis to develop sooner in patients already predisposed to developing it, and in other patients the drug may even cause psychosis, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"This finding is an important breakthrough in our understanding of the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis," according to the study. "It raises the question of whether those substance users would still have gone on to develop psychosis a few years later."

Patients with psychosis tend to lose touch with reality and are prone to hallucinations and delusions about what is happening around them.  Psychosis is frequently reported among patients with diagnosed mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

What is schizophrenia?

According to the study led by Australian researchers, in which data from 83 studies involving more than 20,000 patients were analyzed, marijuana  users experienced psychosis about three years younger than non-users.  Users of other substances (besides pot) experienced symptoms of psychosis two years sooner. Alcohol use  had no influence on development of psychosis, according to the study.

"Reducing the use of cannabis could be one of the few ways of altering the outcome of the illness because earlier onset of schizophrenia is associated with a worse prognosis," according to the study.  "An extra two or three years of psychosis-free functioning could allow many patients to achieve the important developmental milestones of late adolescence and early adulthood that could lower the long-term disability arising from psychotic disorders."

But experts say the complexity of interaction between genes and environment, and the possibility that cannabis is, in fact, a way to self-medicate when psychotic symptoms arise are not accounted for in this study.

The marijuana-schizophrenia link

"It is distinctly possible, in fact likely, that folks who experience initial symptoms turn to cannabis in an effort to control them, then end up having a psychotic break of some sort earlier simply because they had their first symptoms earlier," said Mitch Earleywine, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, who is also a marijuana policy expert. "This predicament makes it look as if cannabis preceded the psychotic symptoms when, in fact…folks with worse symptoms who are more likely to have an early break might simply be more likely to turn to cannabis."

Theories about an association between marijuana use and schizophrenia include several –sometimes interrelated – scenarios: The possibility that cannabis causes schizophrenia; that cannabis may cause people vulnerable to schizophrenia to develop symptoms; that cannabis may make schizophrenia symptoms worse; or that people with schizophrenia are more likely to use cannabis, according to the study.

Study authors suggest that this study, "lends weight to the view that cannabis use precipitates schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders," perhaps because of some confluence of genetic and environmental factors, or because using cannabis early in life may disrupt brain development.

"[This study] found that cannabis is associated with early onset of psychosis and that is most likely true but it doesn’t answer the question of which way it goes," said Dr. Charles L. Raison, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Emory University, and CNNHealth’s mental health expert doctor. "Does smoking cannabis early in life make you vulnerable to getting early psychosis or is the first manifestation of psychosis to do drugs and alcohol, or is it both?"

Do you have diagnosed schizophrenia? How well are you managing it?

Raison added that other studies suggesting a causal relationship between marijuana  use and psychosis disagree with this one.

Whatever the relationship between cannabis and psychosis, experts can agree that early use of cannabis is problematic.

"No one wants to see young people get heavily involved with any psychoactive substances," said Earleywine.