New evidence opposes findings that cannabis causes psychosis

cannabis psychosis

The alleged connection between cannabis and schizophrenia has been a hot topic for years. Sensational articles have spoken out about the dangers of cannabis consumption for young men, citing cannabis-induced schizophrenia as responsible for suicide.

Studies have supported this outcry, with systematic reviews citing a “weight of evidence” reinforcing the hypothesis that early cannabis use can induce psychosis, specifically in men.

But results from the Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP) multi-site clinical trial cast a shadow of doubt on previous findings.

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Researchers from eleven prestigious universities took part. They set out to provide evidence about how dicey it truly is for people at a “clinically high risk” (CHR) for psychosis to consume cannabis.

To do that, they tracked cannabis consumption in 210 CHR patients for two years. Patients were an average of 16 years old, and 81 percent were still enrolled in school. Of the cohort, 42 percent were women, and 61 percent were white.

Researchers observed patients, tracked brain function, and monitored medication rates to reveal the impact of cannabis consumption. What they found might be surprising based on past coverage of the topic.

Cannabis consumption wasn’t related to an onset of psychosis in CHR patients. Clinical symptoms, functioning levels, and brain function weren’t impacted either.

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Actually, CHR patients who consumed cannabis showed a higher neural brain function and were able to be more social over time compared to non-consumers.

Even the research team was surprised. Literally they say in the study, “Surprisingly, clinical symptoms improved over time despite the medication decreases.”

This research is just another cog in the wall as cannabis science climbs to catch up to the plant’s popularity. As one of the first bodies of evidence showing the positive role of cannabis on patients predisposed to psychosis, it’s impactful.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.