Groundbreaking Research: Cannabis Doesn't Cause Psychosis
A couple of months ago a new wave of anti-cannabis sentiment rippled through the UK as media outlets reported on a recent study that claimed skunk was responsible for ¼ cases of psychosis. The problem with this is that it was largely fear-mongering. The research in question was weak at best.
Now, a couple of months down the road, a much more comprehensive study has been published, which explores the link between cannabis and psychosis in much greater detail, with a much, much larger group of participants. Unsurprisingly, now that the subject is being reported on in more detail, scientists have concluded that no, cannabis doesn’t cause psychosis. Are the media reporting on these new findings – of course not!
This new study comes from a joint effort between the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds. The focus is on teenage use, and right from the get-go they acknowledge and establish that there IS a link between cannabis use and psychosis. What seems to go over the media’s head is that this doesn't mean one causes the other, and this new piece of research aimed to explore exactly what this cause actually is.
In this study, researchers used 4,830 16-year-old twins as their subjects. This was in order to rule out genetic factors. It was found that both cannabis use and psychosis were caused by environmental factors, such as socio-economic difficulties (being poor), stress and bullying. This explains why there is correlation between cannabis use and psychosis, and also why it is wrong to assume that one causes the other. The research concludes that specific environmental factors should be focused on, in order to better shed light on what is causing this correlation, and ways to break it.
It just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read in the paper. The only way for us to really move forward and learn is to question things. Let us hope that these findings can be backed up by future research, dispelling this lingering myth once and for all.