A genetic feature increases the risk of a psychotic episode for daily pot users by seven-fold according to the latest research. Many violent pot smokers like Jared Lee Loughner and J Patrick Bedell had likely suffered severe psychotic breaks. And then there is the emergence of the Pot Zombie phenomena I’ve blogged about here.
From the DailyMail here:
People carrying a specific gene may be more at risk of developing mental health problems from smoking cannabis, according to researchers
A study from King’s College London found that cannabis smokers carrying the gene AKT1 had double the chance of developing a psychotic disorder and this increased up to seven-fold if they used the Class B drug daily. The scientists, led by Dr Marta Di Forti, said their research could be used to advise people who are particularly at risk of the psychological side-effects.
Previous research has shown a link between smoking cannabis and psychosis. There is also emerging data that cannabis exposure during adolescence may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.
The team studied 489 patients who had had their first episode of psychosis and 278 healthy controls. They looked at the AKT1 gene which is involved in dopamine signaling and known to be abnormal in psychosis.
They performed genetic tests on all volunteers, and assessed their use of cannabis.
‘Our findings help to explain why one cannabis user develops psychosis while his friends continue smoking without problems. Such findings could also help to design health educational campaigns tailored to reach those young people at particular risk.’
Of course pro-pot groups will deny that marijuana poses any medical threats at all.