Mind the Link: Marijuana Heightens the Risk of Psychosis

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada, and as my colleague Tony Mecia writes, a Democratic takeover of the House could help facilitate legal pot in more places in the United States. And soon.

Legalizing cannabis has a number of upsides. It’s projected to help the farming economy while hurting the smuggling economy, and sparing small-time offenders from outsize sentences—and that’s not to mention its medicinal uses, for chronic pain, PTSD, and chemo patients’ nausea. But beyond these known and anticipated benefits looms one risk proponents ought to know but tend not to: Marijuana increases a user’s likelihood to develop psychotic symptoms.

A recent study placed marijuana among the five clearest triggers of schizophrenia, out of 98 catalysts under consideration. The other top triggers—a chemical predisposition, the experience of trauma as a child or adult, and obstetric complications (aka, trauma experienced in utero)—are less preventable than

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