Cannabis use, certain effects could be individual-specific

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Research is showing that marijuana could affect individuals in different ways

Researchers with Washington University’s Department of Psychiatry recently looked at cannabis and its impact on people on an individual basis and reached an interesting conclusion. They found that there is a link between frequent cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences, but that the experiences were not present in each of the instances. Instead, it appears as though the effects are tied to each person individually.

The results of the analysis were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry publication. The researchers had gathered information from diagnostic interviews and self-reported data that encompassed input from 1,188 individuals. The psychotic-like experiences were determined to be heritable, with genetic factors accounting for a connection between cannabis use and the experiences that reached as high as 84.1%. According to one of the researchers, Nicole R. Karcher, Ph.D., “Overall, the current study helps to clarify the relationship between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences, indicating that while the association primarily consists of shared genetic factors, there is an alterable individual-specific component.”

The research was designed to further understand how cannabis can affect the human body. According to Karcher, “Understanding the nature of the relationship between psychotic-like experiences and cannabis use has critical current importance, as cannabis is increasingly becoming legally available (in the U.S.) for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

“The majority of previous research has focused on the association with cannabis use in psychotic disorder populations (eg, schizophrenia). However, it is important to understand this association in psychotic-like experiences given the greater prevalence of psychotic-like experiences … compared to psychotic disorders.”