Skunk and psychosis again

Young people who use high potency ‘skunk’ cannabis daily ‘have psychotic episodes earlier’

Hmm.

It focused only on people who already had mental illnesses. It did not try to establish whether cannabis causes psychosis on its own.

So we’re still open to what is generally believed: that those becoming psychotic self-medicate. Rather than the impression the Mail is deperately trying to pass on, that cannabis causes psychosis.

25 thoughts on “Skunk and psychosis again”

  1. Does reading the Daily Mail cause misanthropy or do misanthropes self-medicate with daily doses of Hate?

  2. I remember it used to be very, very rare that you could smell cannabis in the street. Now, it’s common.

    So whether it’s stronger or not, certainly the scent factory’s increased.

  3. I spent most of my career as a psych nurse, on wards and in the community, and well remember the havoc that cannabis use caused, in particular on the wards. It was one of the banes of our lives. Experienced staff can tell
    immediately from even subtle changes in behaviour when patients have been using ganja. I couldn’t give a definitive opinion on the causation of psychosis, but I vividly remember one of the last cases I saw before I retired. I was working on a 24/7 crisis team, assessing people in A & E, police stations and so on. We were called to assess a young man who said he had tried a joint for the first time that evening. He was in a state of terror, being convinced that his heart had slipped down his body, to around the height of his hips. Only anti-psychotic medication made any difference, and he took some time to become his normal self again. Whether it reoccured and whether he ever used cannabis again, I don’t know.

  4. As with alcohol and ecstacy, cannabis seems to trigger highly unusual responses in a small minority of people – one of the key graphs that the Mail doesn’t show is that despite dope becoming much more freely available over the last forty years and much stronger as skunk has become more prevalent, psychosis diagnoses have actually fallen steadily

  5. Oh, come off it, Trofim. If you’re a psych-nurse, then you’ll know that the bane of most of your colleagues’ lives is patients, not cannabis. If they pulled their fingers out and did even a modicum of work, perhaps their victims, sorry, patients, might be less likely to turn to each other for mutual support and self-medication.

    Your dismissive, contemptuous, and controlling attitude towards your patients – perhaps you should try thinking of them as clients, instead? – is sadly typical of your field. Your job is not supposed to be the fight between you and your patients that you present it as, and nor are you right and your patients wrong.

    Tim>

    As I’ve pointed out before, and as anyone with even a passing familiarity with our mental health services will confirm, the link between cannabis and psychosis is that anyone entering the system for inpatient treatment of mental illness will end up being introduced to cannabis by other patients in the absence of any actual treatment by mental health workers.

  6. Huge amounts of the stuff are being smoked and, while it may psych-out an extra-vulnerable few, if it was that dangerous to all, the streets would be literally full of nutters (not metaphorically full as they are).
    Another pseudo-danger tricked up to justify tyranny. Which is the real mental illness posing a threat to everybody.

  7. I have an ex-nephew -in-law who is a skunk user. The marriage broke up when repeated and increasingly violent episodes interspersed with perpetual paranoia made him a danger to his wife and children. In his case, skunk has definitely caused psychosis. Maybe he’s one of the vulnerable few? Not according to the Social Services and the Family courts, but then, what do they know?

  8. I think I’d use the analogy that Cannabis use/abuse is like a crowbar. If there’s a crack in you psyche, the cannabis will get in there and widen it.

    However this does affect a small minority, which is why the large majority roll their eyes where these scare stories come along. It’s kind of like the acid user who jumps off a building…

  9. “if it was that dangerous to all, the streets would be literally full of nutters (not metaphorically full as they are).”

    Or not so metaphorical?
    Think back to the riots & looting, couple years back. Is it just coincidental, the majority of yoof plundering shops were cannabis users. Places like Tottenham it’s absolutely ubiquitous.

  10. BIS>

    There was certainly a connection between cannabis and the riots, but only via prohibition and police enforcement of a widely flouted law. The police suppression of cannabis smoking is a key component in things like stupid kids thinking they’re ‘gangsta’, in putting otherwise law-abiding teenagers on the anti-police side of us against them, and so-on. Is it the sole factor? Of course not. But it’s clearly a major one.

  11. “The police suppression of cannabis smoking …”

    In Tottenham?

    .Alternative comedy is alive & well

  12. I live a long, long way from Tottenham but even if it is a complete shithole I’m sure that 9 times out of 10 those who live there can go to the shops without a life or death incident being part of the trip. Also, I would think it likely that, even in said shithole, there were more cannabis users that did not riot than did.

  13. “even if it (Tottenham) is a complete shithole I’m sure that 9 times out of 10 those who live there can go to the shops without a life or death incident being part of the trip”

    If you’re an adult & not from the area, more like 999/1000. If your a teenage male, odds get a lot shorter. Very short if not with a crew..
    And it’s not how many users sat at home puffing & watching the riots on TV. It’s how many of those rioters don’t puff. Very few.

  14. Note Dave 11.06.
    Long-term users frequently develope characteristic paranoid traits, and are prone to project a lot – that is, they attribute words, thoughts and actions to people without having personal knowledge of them.

  15. @ K.R. Lohse:
    Wow, that’s incredible that you’re able to tell that “In his case, skunk has definitely caused psychosis”! With your amazing ability you should get a job with a pharma company. They’d save millions on those pointless “scientific” double-blind trials with you on board.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    So we’re still open to what is generally believed: that those becoming psychotic self-medicate. Rather than the impression the Mail is deperately trying to pass on, that cannabis causes psychosis.

    Does it matter? Surely the Daily Mail wins either way. If the mentally ill use cannibis, then we ought to be identifying those who use cannibis and locking them up. They are mentally ill as well as criminals. If the cannibis causes the mental illness, then we ought to be identifying those that use cannibis and locking them up. They are criminals who may well become mentally ill. Surely this is a win-win for the on-going ban on marijuana?

  17. OO “The Daily Mail, like spending 20 minutes in a mental hospital”

    It’s funny cos it’s true!

    You have to love The Daily Mash

  18. I’m in favour of legalisation, but many of the pro-pot campaigners do themselves no favours by insisting it’s harmless. Long term heavy use of marijuana is associated with significant personality changes, and it can certainly exacerbate some psychological conditions (cause them? That I don’t know.) It also has a strong addiction/dependency potential. One of the more interesting effects is on cognition. Abuse of drugs, almost without exception and including alcohol, has a negative effect on cognitive capability, but cessation of use quite rapidly leads to a return to baseline function, with one exception: marijuana. This might not apply to the occasional toker, but to hardcore stoners it does. Pot can permanently lower ability, especially what’s known as executive function, which encompasses among other things decision-making and planning capability. Even eight years after stopping, serious abusers had not regained the faculties they lost. This isn’t anecdotal. I’ve seen the peer-reviewed data from places like the Hazelden Institute. The brain-fried pothead is not a myth.

  19. “I remember it used to be very, very rare that you could smell cannabis in the street. Now, it’s common.” … Hmm, I’d say the opposite, you don’t smell dope in the street like you used to. It used to be cool to smoke a spliff while walking down the street, now its just stupid and asking for a nick.

    Skunk is very very much smellier than weed or hash.

  20. “He was in a state of terror, being convinced that his heart had slipped down his body, to around the height of his hips. Only anti-psychotic medication made any difference, and he took some time to become his normal self again.” … alcohol, the strong stuff, is good for this, take the edge of the horrors.

    I suppose (without evidence) that “medical professionals” would be aghast at treating someone who is “freaking-out” with strong liquer, which only goes to show that i know more about it than they do.

  21. “cannabis seems to trigger highly unusual responses in a small minority of people” … if you take “trippers” of any kind then you will likely “freak out” sooner or later.

    The tiny minority is those who never freak out.

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