Hi Robert, Your article was very interesting, I have a very personal experience with schizophrenia and I do not know the role marijuana had to play in it. I have been a pot user since I was about 22. My wife was a cigarette smoker since age 18 and alcohol user since 20. She started smoking pot since age 24 – sometimes 3-4 times a week sometimes once daily. Around the age of 29 she started developing symptoms of schizophrenia, which was full blown by the time she was 30 (with auditory hallucinations). She has been in treatment for the last nine years. In the opinion of her psychiatrist, it was the use of pot that triggered and maybe even possibly caused the illness. Reading your article and your responses, I am now confused whether this is possible as you have said that the safe age to start on pot is 21. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Statistics show that there is no increased risk of schizophrenia after age 20. Your risk is almost all used by age 19 or 20 anyway. Anyway, the cannabis-schizophrenia link does not appear to make any sense. Of all of the recreational drugs out there, cannabis is one of the easiest of all on your brain. Schizophrenia appears to be characterized by extensive damage to the brain. Since cannabis does not cause extensive damage to the brain, there is no way that cannabis could possibly cause the sort of brain damage that is present in schizophrenia. Since the 1960’s, rates of cannabis use have gone through the roof and the rate of schizophrenia has been completely flat. In fact it has actually declined a bit. If cannabis were causing any schizophrenia at all, much less tons of schizophrenia, we would have expected rates to have increased if not skyrocketed since the 1960’s They have not, so the notion that cannabis or illegal drugs in general cause schizophrenia is very dubious. I have known hundreds to thousands of cannabis users in my life. Two developed schizophrenia. One had very extensive meth use for decades. They other has a mother with schizophrenia. It’s certainly possible that cannabis can trigger schizophrenia in a vulnerable person. However, those persons were probably going to get it anyway. Cannabis may bring schizophrenia on sooner than before. This is a tragedy as each year lost to the illness is a year is a lost year for the person who has it. Psychiatrists are assholes. They all hate illegal drugs, and they think that illegal drugs cause tons of mental disorders. If you have a drug history and you go to a psychiatrist, the asshole will automatically and immediately say that the drugs caused your disorder, no matter which disorder you have or how little you drugs used. If you smoked one joint in your whole damned life, the asshole psychs will insist that it caused whatever you might have. Psychologists on the other hand for some reason to not seem to have these same prejudices against illegal drugs and in general to not seem to blame illegal drugs for causing tons of mental illnesses. My observation has been that heavy drug users sometimes appear to be mentally off in some way or another, and sometimes their behavior is disordered. In general however, the off mental behavior seems to clear up when the person stops using, and they just go back to their previous psychological state. I do not believe that drug use in general causes long term psychological damage persisting after the use of drugs has ceased.