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Does Marijuana Cause Psychosis?

Can marijuana abuse cause significant mental health harm? Does weed cause psychosis? In today’s post, we explore an often-overlooked danger of excessive cannabis use.

What Is Psychosis?

As a precursor to answering the question, does weed cause psychosis, let’s establish a few basic facts about this mental health concern.

Psychosis is characterized by impairments in how a person perceives their surroundings, interprets stimuli, and communicates with others. During a psychotic episode, a person may experience five types of symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disordered speech
  • Grossly disorganized behavior
  • Negative symptoms

These symptoms can be extremely upsetting, both to the individuals who exhibit them and to their friends and family members.

Psychosis can result from a variety of behaviors, experiences, and conditions, including:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Taking certain prescription medications
  • Sleep deprivation

Does Weed Cause Psychosis?

Astute readers of the previous section will note that substance abuse is included among the possible causes of psychosis. Does this include marijuana? Does weed cause psychosis? 

The truth is that psychosis is not a common effect of marijuana abuse – but in some circumstances, weed use may be a precursor to the onset of psychotic symptoms.

This lack of a definitive yes or no answer doesn’t mean that we’re trying to dodge the question. It is simply an honest reflection of current research on this topic. For example:

  • The Yale School of Medicine has reported that THC (which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) can cause short-term psychosis. 
  • The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) has stated that high doses of cannabis can induce temporary episodes of psychotic symptoms.
  • According to a study in the January 2022 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, some evidence indicates that weed may cause psychosis, while other studies suggest that cannabis exposure alone is not sufficient to elicit psychotic symptoms.

So, does weed cause psychosis? It most likely can, but continued research is necessary to establish a definitive cause/effect link between marijuana use and psychosis.

What Are the Symptoms and Effects of Marijuana Psychosis?

It’s important to understand that substance-induced psychosis, whether associated with marijuana or another drug, is much more serious than the typical intoxicating effects that result from recreational drug use.

If someone develops marijuana psychosis, they may experience or exhibit the following types of signs:

  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t actually there
  • Claiming that they have magical powers or other special abilities
  • Believing that they are being spied on, persecuted, or controlled by external factors
  • Thinking that they are receiving coded messages via television shows, radio broadcasts, or other forms of mass communication
  • Struggling to effectively communicate their thoughts
  • Using gibberish, nonsense words, or sounds that have no apparent meaning to the listener
  • Jumping from one topic to another with no logical progression, or answering questions with completely unrelated statements
  • Employing few to no facial expressions
  • Speaking in a flat, monotone voice
  • Indicating no interest in interacting with other people

In the absence of effective treatment, a person who develops marijuana psychosis can remain at risk for an array of negative effects, such as:

  • The development of co-occurring mental illnesses
  • Being bullied, harassed, or otherwise victimized
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Being ostracized or shunned by peers
  • Diminished performance in school or at work
  • Problems finding and keeping a job
  • Inability to maintain financial independence
  • Physical injuries due to accidents while impaired by marijuana
  • Medical problems due to poor self-care

The potential devastation of untreated marijuana addiction and marijuana psychosis underscores the value of receiving customized care from a reputable treatment provider. 

With the right guidance and support, people can overcome the impact of marijuana psychosis and achieve improved quality of life.

How Is Weed Psychosis Treated?

When someone develops psychosis as a result of marijuana abuse, the first step they should take is to end their use of this drug. Of course, depending on the nature of their dependence on weed, this may be difficult to do. Thankfully, therapy can help.

When a person participates in therapy in the context of a comprehensive marijuana addiction treatment program, they can develop the skills that will empower them to end their drug use and maintain long-term recovery. 

Certain medications can also ease the impact of marijuana psychosis and help people manage any residual or persistent symptoms. 

There is no single course of treatment for weed psychosis that works for everyone. This is why it is so valuable to find a reputable provider who can conduct a thorough assessment and develop a truly customized treatment plan for each person who seeks help.

Find Help for Weed Psychosis in Atlanta, Georgia

If you need professional help for weed psychosis and marijuana addiction, Peachtree Wellness Solutions may be the ideal place for you.

Our addiction treatment center is a trusted source of personalized services for adults in the Atlanta, Georgia area. We offer a full continuum of care, including residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programming. At each level, patients can expect to follow a customized plan that reflects the full scope of their unique needs.

Cannabis-induced psychosis and untreated marijuana addiction can prevent you from living the healthy and satisfying life you deserve. But when you choose Peachtree Wellness Solutions, you can find your path toward long-term recovery and a much more hopeful future. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.