Marijuana Policy and Effects
Many opponents of medical marijuana make much of the purported link between marijuana use and mental illness. But there is simply no compelling evidence to support the claim that marijuana is a causal risk factor for developing a psychiatric disorder in otherwise healthy individuals. Most tellingly, population-level rates of schizophrenia or other psychiatric illnesses have remained flat even when marijuana use rates have increased. Emerging evidence indicates that patients who have tried marijuana may show significant improvements in symptoms and clinical outcomes (such as lower mortality rates and better cognitive functioning ) compared with those who have not. In fact, some of the unique chemicals in marijuana, such as cannabidiol (CBD), seem to have anti-psychotic properties. Researchers are investigating marijuana as a possible source of future schizophrenia treatments; until it is legalized, however, this research is significantly impeded.