There is no denying that society’s taken a much lighter stance toward marijuana today than it has in years’ past. With legalization movements happening across the country, recreational smoking is become more common than ever before. But that isn’t to say that cannabis is entirely healthy. In fact, new research is showing links between pot use and mental impairments, such as ADHD and schizophrenia.
The latest stats were revealed in The Miami Herald, who in turn, gathered material from a 2018 Nature Neuroscience Journal study. Researchers from that publication used data from 180,000 people across the United States. The goal was to find connections between a person’s genes and their relationship to marijuana.
What they found was that people who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) or schizophrenia are more prone to “lifetime cannabis use” (and vice versa). Not only that, there were also genetic overlaps between marijuana consumption and addictions to tobacco and alcohol. In essence, this may be scientific proof that pot is indeed a gateway drug.
The researchers went on to single out THC (one of the primary components of marijuana) as the ingredient tying all of these statistics together. Warnings were then issued to all readers who have shown symptoms of some of the above conditions, particularly if they are underage.
“THC, the psychoactive component of weed that gives people a mental ‘high,’ could make the mental illness worse,” Sackler School of Medicine rep Ran Barzilay told The Herald. “And it is literally like ‘playing with fire’ if adolescents with a predisposition to schizophrenia smoke marijuana.”
As The Herald correctly pointed out, this comes at a time when there is widespread acceptance of the drug. In fact, as of this past January, 61 percent of Americans favored legalizing marijuana nationwide. And that is nearly double the amount of people who favored it back in 2000.
We too can agree that marijuana does not hold the same level of danger as substances like heroin, alcohol and cocaine. But it is a mind-altering substance that has been shown to lead to addiction in certain cases. It also poses big risks for people who use behind the wheel or on the job.
Our advice is approach a substance like marijuana with caution and always do your research before deciding to make it a habit. If you or someone in your circle has a genetic predisposition to ADHD or schizophrenia, then please consult a professional before indulging in recreational smoking.