As cannabis transforms from a forbidden and illegal “recreational” drug into a legal, commercial product that is even characterized as therapeutic, a study is claiming that teens who consume it less than twice weekly are still six times more likely than others to develop schizophrenia.
Research coming out of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, found using the drug even at low frequencies incurs the same risk of mental disorders as doing it every day, according to a report in VigourTimes.
The researchers reviewed more than 590 papers on cannabis use in children aged 12 to 18. The increased risk of schizophrenia was “statistically significant” for teenagers who smoked less than twice a week compared to non-smokers.
Experts have long warned that teens should avoid using the drug while their brains are developing.
NHS figures show cannabis use among people aged 16 to 24 is on the increase in England and Wales, with 32.6 percent saying they used it in 2020 compared to 30.2 per cent in 2016.
Recently released data have shown that psychiatric hospital admission among cannabis users has rocketed upward by some 74 percent since the drug was decriminalized in Scotland six years ago. Scottish police changed guidance in January 2016 so those found possessing cannabis could be issued with a warning rather than face prosecution.
The number of prosecutions was halved over the period, but last year, a record 1,263 new patients in Scotland sought hospital treatment for psychiatric disorders blamed on cannabis, including schizophrenia.