Regular cannabis users \'at greater risk of mental illness\'

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Regular cannabis users 'at greater risk of mental illness'

The sort of info you never hear, as pot becomes the next PC subject that you can't critisize.

Regular cannabis users are at greater risk of developing mental illness later in life, according to research.

One study found that the risk was seven times higher for heavy users, said Professor Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

Speaking at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' annual conference in Edinburgh, he said: "In the last 18 months a number of studies have confirmed that cannabis consumption acts to increase later risk of schizophrenia. This research must not be ignored."

The findings come as the Government prepares to downgrade cannabis from a Class B to Class C drug next year.

Most people caught in possession of a small amount will have the drugs confiscated and receive a reprimand or warning, the Home Office has said.

According to a Government fact sheet, cannabis "can cause psychotic reactions amongst individuals with mental health problems", but it does not suggest use of the drug can prompt those problems.

For his study, Professor Murray reviewed research in Sweden, Holland and New Zealand.

A recent Dutch study of 4,000 people in the general population showed that those taking large amounts of cannabis were almost seven times more likely to have psychotic symptoms three years later.

Another study, in 1987, of 50,000 Swedish Army conscripts, found that those who admitted at age 18 to having taken cannabis on more than 50 occasions, were six times more likely to develop schizophrenia in the following 15 years.

Professor Murray said these findings had been largely ignored.
By netchicken: posted on 3-7-2003

I would not be surprised at any undesirable side effects of cannabis or any other foreign substance we put in our body.
Many questions remain regarding the effects of smoking marijuana, but research published in the past 15 years addresses some of these issues.

Cancer. Unfiltered marijuana cigarettes may contain more of some cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) than filtered tobacco cigarettes. Marijuana smokers inhaled three times as much tar and retained one-third more tar in their lungs than tobacco smokers. The carboxyhemoglobin level in marijuana smokers was five times as high as in tobacco smokers, indicating that marijuana smokers had much more carbon monoxide in their blood.

Marijuana may also promote cancer of the upper digestive tract. Some reports note an increase in cancer of the tongue in people who smoke marijuana but who have no other risk factors. Normally, such cancers are rare in people under age 60.

Breathing. Compared with tobacco smokers and nonsmokers, heavy smokers of marijuana show reduced airway function. The loss in function was worse among marijuana smokers than among tobacco smokers. Damage from long-term use occurs in spite of the fact that marijuana acts as an airway opener (bronchodilator) when used only occasionally.

Immune system. Marijuana smokers have a lesser ability to fight off infections and cancer. Alveolar macrophages (AMs) cells in the lungs that break down disease organisms were unable to destroy staphylococcus, a common and sometimes life-threatening bacterium. The AMs also showed limited ability to kill tumor cells, and produced below-normal amounts of interleukin and other cancer-killing biochemicals.

Asthma. Some people are allergic to cannabis pollen, resulting in asthma and inflammation of the nose (rhinitis). Nebraska researchers took pollen counts from mid-July through mid-September and did skin tests for cannabis and other common allergens such as ragweed on 127 people. Seventy-eight (61 percent) of the participants tested positive for cannabis and, of those testing positive, 22 experienced respiratory symptoms during the test period.
By cazza: posted on 6-11-2003

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