Is Psychosis a Side Effect of Smoking Marijuana?

Smoking marijuana may lead to psychotic symptoms

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Healthcare providers have learned that psychosis can be caused by either genetics or environmental triggers. A recent study suggests that smoking marijuana may be one of those environmental factors causing the onset of psychotic symptoms.

Previous research has shown that certain environmental situations can stimulate cells in the brain to produce psychotic behaviors.

"If you are experiencing psychotic symptoms consult with a doctor."

Lead researcher, Jim Van Os, examined the link between marijuana use and psychosis. Psychosis is when someone loses touch with reality. Research results indicate that consistent use of marijuana increased an individuals psychotic behavior.

For some individuals, smoking marijuana was no longer a form of self medication. Instead, some study participants developed psychotic characteristics.

Marijuana is one of the most used drugs in the world, often associated to an increased risk of mental illness. The main concern resulting from this study is to prevent adolescent's marijuana use in order to lower the risk of psychotic behaviors.

In Depth

  • For this study, 2,000 individuals between the ages of twelve and twenty four were evaluated for marijuana use and psychosis over a ten year period
  • Hallucination, mood swings, and confused thinking are some common psychotic symptoms
  • For the most accurate results, individuals already using marijuana and individuals already experiencing psychotic symptoms were not included in this study
  • Psychotic behaviors were present in marijuana users
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 14, 2011
Last Updated:
August 29, 2012