Cannabis and Mental Disorder

I meant to blog about this a few months ago, but time got away from me.  There is an established link between mental disorders and crime.  Of course, most people who have mental disorders do not commit crime, but the link is well established.  For many years, there has been mounting evidence that cannabis use, particularly during adolescence, increases the risk of developing schizophrenia.  There is an ongoing debate about whether this is a causal or correlational relationship.

Back in July, JAMA Psychiatry published a population-based study from Denmark.  One of the great benefits of the Nordic countries is the ability to conduct population studies due to their public health system structure.  The study, Development Over Time of the Population-Attributable Risk Fraction for Cannabis Use Disorder in Schizophrenia in Denmark, shows that as the prevalence of Cannabis Use Disorder increased, so too did schizophrenia.   As the authors conclude, the results from these longitudinal analyses show the proportion of cases of schizophrenia associated with cannabis use disorder has increased 3- to 4-fold during the past 2 decades.

Another recent study revealed a rise in congenital anomalies among newborns has been observed in Colorado and Washington since 2013, the first states to legalize adult recreational use.  We are in uncharted territory when it comes to cannabis, regardless of one’s opinion about its legal status.

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