Now that a wave of marijuana legalization has swept the United States, research has revealed that those who regularly smoke cannabis are nearly three times more likely to commit violent crimes as those who do not.
This contradicts the prevailing media and cultural message that pot is an easygoing, relaxed form of recreation.
The landmark study of almost 300,000 teenagers and young adults suggests that over time, cannabis use seriously alters the brain and makes users less able to control their tempers, reports MailOnline.
The research also revealed that addicts can suffer from withdrawal symptoms that make them irritable and likely to lash out.
Psychiatrist Sir Robin Murray, acknowledged worldwide as an expert on the neurological effects of the drug, said the link between cannabis use and violence is being “neglected.” He said the study’s findings are “not a surprise for those of us who follow the scientific literature or see patients who heavily use cannabis. However, it may be a surprise to the many who think cannabis is a chill-out, anti-violence drug.”
In Britain, a succession of brutal killings has been linked to pot use in recent years. In some of the cases, attorneys have argued the perpetrators should not be found guilty of murder because they were suffering from psychosis induced by using strong cannabis.
Among the cases was that of student Femi Nandap, who in 2015 stabbed public health expert Jeroen Ensink to death outside his home in North London. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Samrat Sengupta testified that the student’s heavy cannabis habit had triggered a genetic psychotic illness.