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Please help! - October 28th 2015, 01:19 AM

This thread has been labeled as triggering, particularly on the subject of substance use, by the original poster or by a Moderator. The contents of this thread might therefore not be suitable for certain sensitive users. Please take this into consideration before continuing to read.

One of my best friends has started smoking marijuana. My uncle smoked marijuana when he was a teenager and now he has pretty severe schizophrenia. My friend has such a brilliant mind and I'm terrified that the same thing will happen to him! The thing is that I'm not supposed to know that he's been smoking. I'm at such a loss for what to do.

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Re: Please help! - October 28th 2015, 02:07 AM

I'm sorry about what happened to your uncle. Are you sure that the schizophrenia is linked to his marijuana use though? Schizophrenia is a mental illness that doesn't typically emerge until a person is in their mid- to late- 20's any how, so it is likely unrelated, he probably already had schizophrenia, but due to the nature of mental illness other drugs like marijuana often make it worse. I don't want to totally invalidate your concerns though; there are studies that show that smoking marijuana can increase the risk of someone having their first episode of psychosis or having a psychotic break. I think people who have existing mental illnesses are the ones at risk (or this is what the first studies of that nature said). I know that I used to have severe panic attacks whenever I smoked marijuana and I have an anxiety disorder; other people will say the opposite though - marijuana calms down their anxieties. (FYI, I was a teenager at the time)

With that said, I think what you feel is common; many people who've seen drugs negatively affect someone they know often have very negative attitudes/feelings toward it, whether it is fear or anger or what ever else. I think that what you have to realize is that what your friend is doing is his choice. Marijuana comes with its risks, just like any other substance , whether it is prescription drugs or alcohol or cigarettes or marijuana, and you have to let people make the choice to risk it and hope that they don't pick the short stick

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Re: Please help! - November 1st 2015, 11:26 PM

I wouldn't worry. It has been suggested that there is an increase in risk of schizophrenia for people who smoke weed a lot- but even if there is a 200 percent increase, the risk is still quite low since schizophrenia is a fairly rare disorder. So will probably increase from 1.5 to 3 percent or something(idk the exact rate-I'm guessing)- and this is all assuming that the studies that show a causal relationship are sound-- it could be that schizophrenics and people with risk factors for it are more likely to smoke marijuana heavily, or that some of the people were using hard drugs as well as marijuana. By risk factors I mean a lot of people with schizophrenia have a prodromal period of several years where they have other mental conditions and a change in behavior. Association doesn't always imply causation- but even if it does, the odds are at least 95 percent that he won't get schizophrenia. A high percentage of college age students smoke weed and I've yet to hear of anyone becoming schizophrenic from it.

Also, some evidence suggests that not "just anyone" can become schizophrenic- but that some neurological abnormalities must have been present from birth or at least adolescence. A lot schizophrenics aren't "100 percent normal" as a child - long before the condition actually develops.

As far as cognitive issues from smoking weed. It does have some medium-term effects but generally nothing severe or dramatic. There can be some decline in short term memory and working memory in medium term - but would probably go away with time. It wouldn't necessarily be noticeable either- so its not going to make your friend dumb or something.
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