Cannabis also increases the risk of a relapse in people who already have schizophrenia, and it can make psychotic symptoms worse.
A psychotic illness is one where you have hallucinations (seeing things that are not really there) and delusions (believing things that are not really true).
Cannabis and mental health
If regular users stop taking cannabis, they may get withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling moody and irritable, feeling sick, difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating, sweating, shaking and diarrhoea.
Using cannabis while pregnant may harm the unborn baby. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Read the latest updates on cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer – the evidence so far on the Cancer Research UK website.
Not everyone’s experience with marijuana is pleasant. It often can leave you anxious, afraid, or panicked. Using pot may raise your chances for clinical depression or worsen the symptoms of any mental disorders you already have. Scientists aren’t yet sure exactly why. In high doses, it can make you paranoid or lose touch with reality so you hear or see things that aren’t there.
Journal of Experimental Medicine: “Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors.”
It May Affect Your Mental Health
Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research: “Simultaneous vs. concurrent use of alcohol and cannabis in the National Alcohol Survey.”
Marijuana can make it harder for you to focus, learn, and remember things. This seems to be a short-term effect that lasts for 24 hours or longer after you stop smoking.
Journal of Epilepsy Research: “Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?”
There was some good news: The report found “moderate evidence” of no link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer or marijuana use and head and neck cancers, which are commonly linked to tobacco. There was also “moderate evidence” of better cognitive performance among individuals with psychotic disorders and a history of marijuana use.
Marijuana has been with humans in some way or another for thousands of years. But after all this time, there is still a lot of public debate about what, exactly, pot’s risks and benefits are.
The report, however, couldn’t find sufficient evidence for pot’s links to a lot of problems: other types of cancer, an increased chronic risk of heart attack, asthma, later outcomes for infants born of mothers that used marijuana during pregnancy, deadly pot overdoses, and PTSD.
One way to fight the opioid epidemic? Medical marijuana.
Besides medical conditions, the report found evidence for some psychosocial problems. There’s “moderate evidence” that acute marijuana use impairs learning, memory, and attention. There’s “limited evidence” of marijuana use and worse outcomes in education, employment, income, and social functioning.
The report also disproved — or at least cast a lot of doubt — on some of the claimed benefits of pot. It found “limited evidence” that marijuana is ineffective for treating symptoms associated with dementia and glaucoma, as well as depressive symptoms in individuals with chronic pain or multiple sclerosis.
And the report found “substantial evidence” that marijuana can improve patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms. But it only found “limited evidence” for marijuana improving doctor-reported symptoms of this kind.
Overall, the report suggests that, as far as therapeutic benefits go, marijuana is a solid treatment for multiple symptoms associated to chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and multiple sclerosis. Everything else, from epilepsy to HIV/AIDS, needs more research before pot is more definitively shown to be effective or ineffective.