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Young Men at Highest Risk of Schizophrenia From Cannabis Use

Studies led by researchers at the Mental Health Services in the capitol region of Denmark and the NIDA or National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes on Health have found that young men with cannabis use disorder are at the highest risk of developing Schizophrenia. The study was published in Psychological Medicine, and analyzed health record data that spanned 5 decades and represented over 6 million people in Denmark to estimate the scale of schizophrenia related cases that could have relation to cannabis use disorder. Research has shown that there was strong evidence of schizophrenia in both men and women, however association was much stronger among younger men. By using statistic models, studies were estimated to be around 30% of cases in men ages 21-30, and this may have been preventable by not using cannabis and seeking preventative help for cannabis use disorder.


Cannabis use disorder and Schizophrenia are both serious conditions that can impact an individuals life, however these conditions are treatable. Those that experience cannabis use disorder have a challenging time quitting using the substance, and they need proper support and care from mental health professionals. Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that impacts a persons feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Individuals who have schizophrenia may seem that they are out of touch with reality, and the symptoms of schizophrenia make it challenging to participate in daily life activities.

“The entanglement of substance use disorders and mental illnesses is a major public health issue, requiring urgent action and support for people who need it.”

~ NIDA Director and study coauthor Nora Volkow, M.D.

Early cannabis use may also contribute to higher rates of Schizophrenia in men. Studies have shown evidence of an increase in schizophrenia cases and cannabis use disorder over the past 5 decades. The authors have noted that this increase may be due to higher potency of cannabis, and an increase in cannabis use disorder.


With increasing rates of cannabis related health issues, both mental and physical, it is very important to raise awareness and promote healthier lifestyle choices among the youth affected by substance use. More research needs to be conducted on the relation of cannabis related mental health disorders, and more resources need to be available to those who suffer from these conditions.



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