For many years the proponents of Marijuana have said that it is essentially a “safe” recreational drug. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, even all currently so-called legal mood altering substances, from caffeine to alcohol, can have serious health implications.
Putting another nail in the coffin of the marijuana myth is a report in the November issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry with lead author Killian Welch saying “"It is now accepted by most psychiatrists that smoking cannabis increases an individual's risk of psychosis, and more specifically schizophrenia." But his findings go a step further and state “People with a family history of schizophrenia are particularly vulnerable to the psychotomimetic effects of the drug, and are likely at particular elevated risk of developing schizophrenia if they use cannabis."
For many young people however, a significant proportion of them would be ignorant of the fact that they had a “family history” of schizophrenia, and with the prevalence of the drug socially, may be tempted to use it. Sadly, early “experimentation” with such drugs could lead to a lifetime of mental health problems with all the emotional and social burdens that they entail.
Dr Welch study was unique in that it also found that those with a family history of schizophrenia and who used marijuana had a demonstrable reduction in size of the Thalamus, a key area of the brain, responsible for information processing: or as one headline shouted:
SMOKING POT SHRINKS THE BRAIN
I think the simple message is that nothing illegal is likely to be good for you when it comes to mood altering medications, and even if it is legal, you still need to be extremely cautious about using them.