What Is the Evidence That Smoking Cannabis Can Contribute to Developing Schizophrenia? Critically Discuss with Reference to Recent Scientific Studies.

3580 Words Jul 17th, 2013 15 Pages
Introduction

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide despite evidence suggesting a number of harmful effects (Caspi, 2005). It has attracted copious amounts of media attention regarding the possible long-term effects of smoking cannabis, as it has been suggested it can mediate a number of mental health issues, ranging from psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations (visual and auditory) and to the chronic clinical disorder, Schizophrenia.
There has been great discrepancy about the harmful effects of cannabis use, reflected in the constant debate about whether it should be classified as a class B or class C in the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act (Mcleod, 2010) whereas some even believe it should be legalized. Legalizing
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However this idea is poorly explained and does not shed light on the aetiological link between cannabis and psychosis if there even is one (Johns, 2001).
It has been shown that cannabidiol may exhibit anti-psychotic properties (Zuardi, 2006) and its use has been implicated clinically to treat psychotic problems (Morgan, 2008). This finding may come as a surprise seeing as the media and society focus a lot of attention on the harmful effects of schizophrenia and its “likelihood to cause psychosis”. Numerous studies have also tried to back this claim and it has been reported that cannabis use can also worsen states of those already diagnosed with schizophrenia (Linzen, 1994). Now this essay will look further into this highly publicised view and try to see whether this is in fact the case.
The link between cannabis use and schizophrenia is not a recent suggestion, in fact experiences analogous to those found in schizophrenia have been described in cannabis smokers (Talbot, 1969). Davison reported the earliest British case of psychosis associated with cannabis use (Davison, 1972), so it is likely that these two studies sparked the idea, however, it is not until recently that scientists have obtained the knowledge to investigate this link further and this has attracted the medias attention (Arseneault, 2004).
It is a growing concern across the world that the

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