Cannabis users at drastically higher risk of psychosis and schizophrenia

A new study that analyzed general practice records has found that cannabis users may be at a higher risk of developing common mental illnesses, namely anxiety and depression. As well, the study found that cannabis users are also at a much greater risk than non-cannabis users when it comes to severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and psychosis.

Cannabis is now legally accessible in a number of places and available for certain medical patients in other places. The drug is popularly regarded as safe, but a number of studies have raised concerns about potential health consequences associated with use, particularly when high doses are consumed or the substance is used for a long period of time.

The new study, which was recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine, doesn't establish a 'direct causal relationship' between the use of cannabis and the development of these mental illnesses, the researchers explain. It does, however, shed light on the link between the use of cannabis and the risk of mental health illnesses.

Past research has found a link between cannabis use and the development of severe mental health illnesses psychosis and schizophrenia. The researchers behind this latest study explain that the link between records about patients' cannabis use and more common mental health problems like anxiety and depression isn't as well known.

The data for this latest study was pulled from the IQVIA Medical Research Database, revealing that cannabis users are seven times more likely to develop severe mental illnesses and three times more likely to develop common mental illnesses. The data was pulled from nearly 800 general practices across the UK with the patients' records covering a 23-year period.