AUSTIN (KXAN) — A report published in “Psychological Medicine” found young men with marijuana use disorder have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.
“Drug use and especially marijuana use in adolescence and early adulthood can bring out more schizophrenia,” said Dr. Christoph Correll.
Correll did not take part in the research but is an expert in psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, and is familiar with the various studies.
“Schizophrenia is a severe brain disease that affects everything that we take for granted and makes us human. The way we think, use language, the way we act and feel — that sense of ourselves and of the world,” he explained.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse said, “Using statistical models, the study authors estimated that as many as 30% of cases of schizophrenia among men aged 21-30 might have been prevented by averting cannabis use disorder.”
Correll finds the results troubling.
“We are concerned that with legalization of marijuana and earlier use in people who might be vulnerable for schizophrenia, that this brings it out,” said Correll.
The brain disorder affects less than 1% of the U.S. population, according to the American Psychiatric Association, but there are treatment options.
Correll is working with a newly approved drug to treat schizophrenia called Uzedy.
“It is a long-acting injectable treatment,” said Correll. “It is not approved for people with dementia-related psychosis, and it has certain aspects that make it quite desirable.”
According to Psychiatrist.com, the majority of patients with schizophrenia experience multiple relapses over the first five years of treatment, often because they don’t adhere to their oral antipsychotics regimen. In clinical trials, the newly approved injectable demonstrated up to 80% reduction in the risk of relapse compared to placebo.
Correll suggests talking to your provider about a treatment plan if you are living with schizophrenia.