For the most part, the drug makes you feel pretty good. And unlike many other recreational drugs, you don’t have to worry too much, about becoming an addict. But in the long term, it seems to freak your brain out a bit. People who use it, are much more likely to end up being diagnosed with mental illnesses.
So this week’s Neurotechnology Tip, is a gentle reminder that smoking dagga can undermine your ability to think straight and be your own boss.
Foreign voices in your head
Psychosis, is the medical term, for someone who doesn’t think straight – if we were talking about it in plain English, we would just call the person NUTS.
People who are psychotic, do some really weird things, they often blame the voices in their head for their strange behaviour. Being freaky weird, means that they find it hard to fit into society – they have trouble keeping a job etc.
If you smoke pot – the chances you become psychotic, increase big time.
German study makes the connection
Researchers in Germany enrolled 1923 young people, who had never smoked dagga (marijuana) and were perfectly sane at the time, into their study. The people in their study ranged in age from 14 to 24 years.
They then followed the people for 10 years, checking in with them every three years or so.
The checking in, involved recording their drug use, as well as their overall mental health.
More dagga more mental health problems
Smoking dagga (marijuana) doubled the risk of developing psychotic symptoms. They also noted, the longer a person had been smoking pot, the more likely they were to have head problems.
At this stage, there is no big scientific explanation for why this happens, but it does.
A few moments of pleasure, can turn into a life time of torment, so think twice before lighting up a joint.Continued cannabis use and risk of incidence and persistence of psychotic symptoms: 10 year follow-up cohort study. British Medical Journal (2011) Rebecca Kuepper, Jim van Os, Roselind Lieb, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, Michael Höfler, Cécile Henquet.
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