One thing that is interesting when you study certain issues a lot is that the more you learn about the issue, the less you understand it. In fact, most things just get more and more confusing and make less and less sense the more you study them. And this points to the limits of scientism. So many things just don’t seem to make much sense. Science claims it can discover the truth to anything and everything. In theory, it can.
But in praxis, it’s another thing altogether. So much of life remains fairly or seriously mysterious no matter how many studies and books are issued on the matters at end. Is science able to explian these things? Not at the moment anyway.
I often find that in discussions, I have to say things like, “Yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but in this field a lot of things don’t make sense.”
So it is with cannabis and schizophrenia. Things just don’t make sense.
Those of us who went through the 1970’s watching 1000’s of people smoke cannabis heavily and never saw a single case of toxic psychosis, not to mention schizophrenia, are taken aback by the recent insistence that, say, cannabis ups the risk of schizophrenia by 38 times, or that 10% of regular adolescent cannabis users will become schizophrenic. Such theory punches right in the face of our very lived experience, so it makes no sense to us at all.
Yet the relationship keeps showing up, over and over, in study after study. It’s regular, independent of confounding factors, and even typically dose-dependent. That’s as good as it gets in science.
Nevertheless, it still doesn’t make sense.
As you can see in the graph, a rate of schizophrenia of 12-13/100,000 from 1950-on collapsed starting in 1967, falling to around 3/100,000 as of 1983. It seems to have leveled off at around that rate ever since. Starting around the mid-60’s and continuing through the 1970’s at least, cannabis use in the UK went through the roof. It completely exploded. At the same time as the rate of schizophrenia collapsed by 75%. If there were indeed a relationship, the schizophrenia rate should have gone through the roof.
It doesn’t make sense.
Yet over and over, we see this relationship. The only explanation that makes sense is that something in the prodromal syndrome of schizophrenia makes pre-schizophrenics seek out cannabis in particular. The worse the prodromal symptoms, the more cannabis they use. Cannabis use clearly seems to be bringing schizophrenia on sooner in those who would develop it anyway.
This study is the best analysis yet. For every 4000 adolescents who use cannabis daily, one of them will get schizophrenia as a result. We have to prevent 4000 cases of heavy cannabis use by teens to prevent a single case of schizophrenia.
It hardly seems worth it.
How do we reconcile that cannabis is causing any psychosis at all nowadays, not to mention schizophrenia, when it never seemed to cause these reactions back in the day?
There was a young guy who was hanging out over here a lot a while back, an Hispanic gang associate type. He was a heavy user of this very strong “skunk” cannabis. When he used it, he was constantly peeking out the window, apparently looking for the cops. He also totally freaked out if I ever opened the blinds one bit. I’ve never seen anyone act so paranoid on pot before. I’ve only seen people act like that on cocaine, especially if they smoke it or shoot it.
The cannabis nowadays is much, much stronger than even the strongest pot we smoked in the 1970’s and even 1980’s. Sure, hashish and hashish oil were around back in the day, and sure we used it all right, but they were not widely used. They are breeding it for THC maximalization, and it has THC levels of up to 15-25%. It’s the THC that is psychotogenic, not the CBD. CBD acts like an antipsychotic, of all things.
Back in the day, cannabis had approximately equal levels of CBD and THC. The psychotomimetic effects of THC were counteracted by the antipsychotic effects of CBD.
I’ve smoked this new super-pot, and while I can handle it with no risk of psychosis or even serious freak-out (I doubt if any reasonable quantity of any reasonable drug would make me psychotic), it’s easy to see how it could bend someone’s head in a pretty bad way.
We are getting regular reports of people smoking this stuff and hearing voices afterwards, if only temporarily. That’s really strange; we never heard strories like that back in the day.
So the solution to the conundrum of how pot is psychosis now when it never seemed to in the past is that the pot is incredibly strong super-pot, which is almost like another drug altogether.