A Review of Issues Surrounding Marijuana and Madness


In Psychiatric Times, Robin Murray discusses a number of studies and what the balance of evidence seems to be saying about the relationship between cannabis use and increased risk of short or long-term psychotic reactions in some people.

Murray argues that bad reactions seem most likely to emerge in a small percentage of people who start smoking marijuana at a younger age, smoke high potency marijuana, or smoke daily. However, Murray adds, since so many people smoke marijuana, psychotic reactions could be occurring in millions of people globally.

“In many ways, cannabis is similar to alcohol; most of those who use it do so moderately, enjoy it, and suffer few if any adverse effects,” begins Murray. “However, in a minority of heavy users, problems develop. Given the likelihood that cannabis will become more available, it is important to establish any harms its use may cause so clinicians can identify and treat these. The main psychological harms that have been reported are dependence, cognitive impairment, and psychosis.”

Marijuana and Madness: Clinical Implications of Increased Availability and Potency (Psychiatric Times, April 30, 2015. Full text with free registration.)


  1. Reefer madness? Why not? Don’t mind if I do…*puff* *puff* It’s hardly any wonder that the same people who would incarcerate the mad would criminalize recreational marijuana users. Also, small wonder that these same people would envision some kind of connections between the two. When you are in the business of policing thought crime, well, it goes with the territory, more or less, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the science is tainted with the same conflicts of interest you see elsewhere. Much as in the testing of new drugs, bias governs the “science”, the conclusions have been drawn before they are tested, chiefly, in order to reinforce the conclusions drawn. We haven’t got hypotheses here so much as we’ve injudicious decisions.

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