Teenagers who smoke may be messing with their brains in ways
they don’t intend to. Regular smoke increases the chance that a teenager develops
psychosis, a pattern of bizarre perceptions, such as believing the presence of people
who do not exist. It also increases the risk of developing schizophrenia, a
brain disorder that not only causes psychosis, but also problems like lack of concentration
and loss of emotional expression.
The teenage brain is at a developing stage. Between the teen
years, areas of the brain responsible for judgment and problem solving are
still making connections with the emotional centers of the brain. Marijuana may
disrupt this process and so amplify a teenagers’ susceptibility to psychotic
As per a study that followed nearly 2,000 teenagers, smokers
were twice as likely to have developed psychosis over a decade compared to
non-smokers. Use of marijuana could accelerate the onset of psychosis by three
years. Teenagers who already have a mother, father, or sibling with
schizophrenia were found to be at a higher risk of developing a psychotic
Teenagers with family history of brain disorders have a probability
of one in ten of developing the condition themselves—even if they do not smoke.
Regular marijuana use doubles their risk to a one in five chance of becoming
Ages ago, scientists first noted an association between
cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Only later were they able to establish cause
& affect relationship between cigarette smoke & damaged lungs along
with other parts of the body, causing cancer and other diseases. Doctors have
cautioned about a possible link between use of marijuana and psychosis.
Marijuana smokers are more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia when
compared to non-smokers. But it’s not clear as to how marijuana use might lead
to schizophrenia. One theory propounds that marijuana may obstruct the normal
development of brain during early years and young adulthood.
The research on marijuana and the brain is at a nascent
stage. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the active compounds in marijuana
that stimulates the brain and triggers chemical reactions that contribute to
the drug’s psychological and physical disorders.
While the research on marijuana and the mind has not yet
connected all the dots, these new studies provide one more reason to caution
young people against using marijuana—especially if they have a family member
affected by schizophrenia or some other psychotic disorder.