Is there a correlation between psychosis and cannabis use?

The correlation between psychosis and cannabis use

Modified on: 03/10/2023

Cannabis and psychosis: here is what experts claim

Are cannabis and psychosis linked?

Knowing the consequences of marijuana misuse is crucial to protecting yourself and understanding what you are against to avoid unpleasant effects such as those we will discuss today.

That is why in this article, we have compiled the results of some studies on the development of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia as a result of the consumption of cannabis with a high THC content.

psychosis and cannabis

Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders?

Several studies have linked marijuana use with an increased risk of psychiatric disorders, including psychosis (schizophrenia).

However, it can be challenging to determine whether and to what extent it causes this condition, but let’s try to clarify.

Recent research suggests that daily high-potency marijuana smoking may increase the likelihood of developing psychosis by almost five times compared to people who have never used it.

Specifically, this relationship is influenced by three factors:

  1. the amount of the product used;
  2. the age of first use;
  3. genetic vulnerability.

The most substantial evidence concerns links between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders in individuals with a pre-existing genetic or other vulnerability.

Research using longitudinal data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions examined associations between marijuana use, mood and anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. After adjusting for various confounding factors, we found no association between cannabis use and mood and anxiety disorders.

The only significant associations were:

  • the increased risk of alcohol use disorders;
  • nicotine dependence;
  • marijuana use disorders;
  • other drug use disorders.

But let’s cut to the chase: is there a correlation between cannabis and psychosis?

In some ways, it would seem so.

Recent research has found that people who use marijuana and carry a specific variant of the AKT1 gene have an increased risk of developing psychosis.

This gene encodes an enzyme that affects dopamine signalling in the striatum, an area of the brain that becomes activated and filled with dopamine in the presence of certain stimuli.

Specifically, one study found that the risk of psychosis among subjects with this variant was seven times higher for those who used marijuana daily than for those who used it infrequently or not at all.

But that is not all.

Marijuana use has been shown to worsen the course of the illness in patients with schizophrenia. In addition, as we mentioned earlier, marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction in non-schizophrenics who use it, especially in high doses.

Read also: Cannabis butter: what it is and how it is prepared?

Cannabis and psychotic disorders: the role of THC

We have said that many studies support the fact that cannabis use increases the risk of psychotic disorders.

But what is this due to?

In the previous section, we pointed out that the likelihood of developing these disorders may increase depending on factors such as age, genetics and amount of cannabis. Still, the most significant risk is found in daily users of cannabis high in Δ-9-THC.

That’s right.

Cannabis use in schizophrenic patients:

  • worsens psychotic symptoms;
  • increases the risk of violence;
  • encourages relapse;
  • increases the frequency of hospitalisations;
  • decreases compliance with treatment;
  • promotes resistance to antipsychotic treatment.

In short, a real problem.

The good news is that significant symptom improvement is observed in patients who stop using the drug.

For this reason, current therapeutic approaches in psychiatric care also consider the various addictions.

cannabis and psychosis

Can stopping cannabis use put an end to psychosis?

Yes, less frequent use of marijuana indeed reduces the risk of a first psychotic episode. Still, unfortunately, this does not mean that those already with schizophrenia can eliminate the disorder ‘simply’ by stopping cannabis consumption.

That’s right. You read that right.

Schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses are long-term mental illnesses that need to be managed, and if cannabis somehow turns this switch on, it cannot be easily turned off.

As we said, THC-rich marijuana use could trigger a primary psychotic disorder, which means that the symptoms would remain even once the substance is removed.

Read also: These are the US states where marijuana is legal.


This article aimed to highlight the possible risks of cannabis misuse. As we have seen, it has been estimated that there is a considerable increase in the likelihood of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Given the high risk, it is always a good idea to buy quality products from certified retailers such as Sensory Seeds, the leading e-commerce for seed sales.

See you soon!