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The link between the use of cannabis and symptoms of schizophrenia is clear even though it has been surrounded by controversy. The use of cannabis can trigger and lead to an earlier onset of schizophrenia to those already predisposed to this mental illness. It is also clear that some people living with schizophrenia use cannabis as a way to medicate and manage their symptoms.
The reality is a lot is still unknown about the brain and research is still being done on the relationship between cannabis, the brain and schizophrenia.
Due to the fact that the brain (especially the pre-frontal cortex) is still developing until a person is approximately 25, B.C. Schizophrenia Society and many other schizophrenia societies strongly urge that people learn and know as much as they can about cannabis, psychosis and schizophrenia.
Here are some resources that we’ve gathered to provide you with more information.
Cannabis and Psychosis – A Brief Guide – A handout recently developed by the B.C. Early Psychosis Advanced Practice Program and given to caregivers that summarizes the current research to date.
HeretoHelp Fact Sheet on Cannabis and Psychosis – A fact sheet on cannabis and psychosis provided by the BC Partners for Mental Health and Additions Information, a group of non-profit agencies providing good-quality information to help individuals and families maintain or improve their mental well-being.
HeretoHelp Brochure on Safer Cannabis Use – A brochure on safer cannabis developed by the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research who is a member of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information.
World Health Organization Management of Substance Abuse-Cannabis – A fact sheet done by the World Health Organization on the management of substance abuse and cannabis.
HeretoHelp Brochure Learn About Cannabis – A brochure to teach people about cannabis. It was created by Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research in partnership with HeretoHelp funded by Provincial Health Services Authority.
Cannabis & Psychosis – a project of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada that provides comprehensive and accessible information to help young people better understand the issue so they can make informed decisions about cannabis use. This website hosts explores the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis.
Schizophrenia Society of Canada’s Resource on Schizophrenia & Substance Use – This website aims to optimize the chances of recovery and quality of life for people affected by concurrent disorders. The is part of a three-year initiative funded by the Drug Strategy Initiatives Fund of Health Canada.
Weed Myths – a website that provides some basic information and statistics about marijuana. This site is sponsored by the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program.
“The Highs & Lows of Cannabis and Psychosis” –
A panel discussion hosted by B.C. Schizophrenia Society in June 2017 on cannabis and psychosis. Panelists: Dr. William G. Honer (UBC Department of Psychiatry; Director, UBC Institute of Mental Health), Dr. Diane McIntosh (UBC Department of Psychiatry) and Dr. Alasdair Barr, (UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics)
The Gastrointestinal Society created a great video about Medical Cannabis.
Medical Marijuana for Schizophrenia: Weighing the the Risks and Benefits – A great article that looks the pros and cons of medical marijuana. Even though the author is from Portland, Oregon, her recommendations for connecting with a medical professional are sound.
Dr. Caroline MacCallum and GreenLeaf developed a list of helpful cannabis resources.
Teen Mental Health has a website to provide easy access to information about cannabis.
Canadian Association of Mental Health’s Cannabis page – An online resource of information and details about cannabis, effects, and what are the risks around cannabis use.
BC EPI Advanced Practice “Cannabis and Psychosis: A Review of the Links” – A summary of a larger review that attempts to provide an overall findings linking psychosis and cannabis. Created by Dr. Tom Ehmann (BC Early Psychosis Intervention Advanced Practice (EPI)) and Dr. Alasdair Barr (UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics)
Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use – The research paper takes an in depth look into the adverse health effects of marijuana use. Created by Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Dr. Ruben D. Baler, Dr. Wilson M. Compton, Dr. Susan R.B. Weiss.
Cannabis and Pyschosis – The research was done by the University of Alberta with support from Alberta Health Services and Alberta Addiction and Mental Health Research Partnership Program. The three learning objectives of the the research are the following:
“Implications of Cannabis Legalization on Youth and Young Adults” – A position statement by the Canadian Psychiatric Association focused on youth and young adults as mental illness and substance use disorders often begin in this age group, with the objective to ensure optimal mental health outcomes.
Practice Standard Cannabis for Medical Purposes – A position statement by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.