Can Cannabis Cause Mental Illnesses?

According to a report Cannabis users can suffer from mental health related issues

8 out of 10 people who are diagnosed with a serious mental illness heavily use cannabis.The findings showed that a large majority of those diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, schizophrenia or other mental disorder such as a breakdown, use the drug on a habitual basis.

The evidence is conclusive as a report listed over 400 different scientific studies that offer evidence with links to the use of cannabis, and mental illness.


The drug was re classified in 2004 form a class B to a C which meant that the police could no longer arrest anyone with it in their possession. Critics have condemned the re classification as they believe that it has encouraged people (particularly young) into thinking that cannabis is now classed safer than originally thought.


Some of the highly credited health professionals cited in the report stressed their concerns. One is Professor Peter Jones of Cambridge University, who said that 80 per cent of 1st episode psychiatric illnesses occurred in heavy cannabis users. Professor Jones pointed out that he worked in a first-contact schizophrenia service and with the amount of patients with cannabis related mental health problems – it may as well be a cannabis dependency unit.’ He also pointed out those children who start smoking cannabis at the ages of 10 or 11 may treble the risk of developing schizophrenia compared with other children.

Professor Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry also pointed out in the report those 5 years ago, an incredible 95 per cent of psychiatrists would have agreed that cannabis does not trigger psychosis, but since then – the tales have turned and that 95 per cent now thinks that it does.

The report concludes that at least 1.75 million people a month are cannabis users in Britain and that it now ranks 3rd behind alcohol and tobacco as the country’s most used drug

Also according to the report – there were links between cannabis and damage to the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and smoking cannabis and cancer. The research also examined scientific literature linking cannabis to depression and aggression, risks to driving, as well as impaired educational performance and ability to reason.

The likelihood that heavy users will become dependent on the drug is very high, and is considered to be a ‘gateway effect’ where users of the most harmful and addictive drugs such as heroin – started off their illegal drug habits smoking cannabis. Pregnant women who smoke cannabis tend to have lower birth weight babies, and an increased likelihood of a premature birth.

Researcher Mary Brett who conducted the study, said she was angered by Tony Blair’s comment last year – saying that downgrading cannabis was justifiable as ‘it was worth seeing what will happen!’ The research report was conducted on behalf of vulnerable and impressionable young people and not merely as some dangerous experiment. The saddest thing is – is that our young people are being misinformed regarding the dangers of using  cannabis and many will go on to have permanent psychiatric disorders.

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