Adapted from BMJ 25 Feb 2023
Dr Lade Smith is the first black woman president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She is particularly concerned about the rise in psychosis in young people. Much of this is driven by cannabis consumption, particularly from smoking it.
Far from being a benign, relaxing, recreational drug with few downsides, cannabis use in the teens can mar their future. Because cannabis is now quite potent, even use once a week, can drive a five fold increase in psychosis in male users by the age of 25.
She is concerned that recent publicity of the plus sides of cannabis oil use has increased its use overall.
If there is a family history of mental illness, if younger teenage boys use it, if it is smoked, if there are other adverse childhood experiences, then it becomes progressively unsafe. Oestrogen in girls seems to protect them somewhat from the psychotic problems that are more common in boys.
My comment: As a Police Surgeon I was very familiar with the huge increase that I saw over the years in the incidence of psychosis and drug induced psychosis in young people over the years. The brain in these people actually shrinks in size. As they usually need a lot of life long supervision from their families and medical carers, and because they usually become economically inactive for their future lives, it is not good news for the individuals, their families and society in general.