What are the bad effects of marijuana use

How does cannabis use affect the development of schizophrenia?


1 Introduction

2 The use of cannabis
2.1 The spread of cannabis
2.2 The effects of cannabis

3 The clinical picture of schizophrenia
3.1 The course of the disease in schizophrenia
3.2 Different forms of schizophrenia

4 Relationship between cannabis use and an emerging schizophrenia discussion


1 Introduction

Cannabis is a drug that is widespread in Germany and worldwide, with which many children and adolescents already come into contact (Tossmann, 1996).

Even if cannabis is considered by large parts of our society to be comparative harmless If the drug is tolerated, this does not always leave the consumer without a trace. In addition to some positive effects of cannabis use, it can lead to long-term damage to the body and psyche, such as a breakdown of personality and a change in perception (Kuntz, 2002).

Similar symptoms can also be found in the clinical picture of schizophrenia. This has many different facets, types and gradient patterns. Since around one percent of the total population suffers from it, it is necessary to recognize every possible risk and all disease-promoting means in order to take preventive action (Häfner, 2017).

Taking into account the disease-promoting factors of a genetic and environmental nature, this scientific work deals with the following question: To what extent does the consumption of cannabis affect the development of schizophrenia?

To explain this, the consumption and distribution of cannabis will first be examined. It explains how differently the intake of cannabis products works, what influences the effect and what possible positive and negative consequences can be associated.

The clinical picture of schizophrenia should also be shown in this work. The different types of disease progression play a central role, as do the different forms of schizophrenia, what characterizes them and how they differ.

2 The use of cannabis

Cannabis belongs to the plant family of Cannabaceae which consists of the genera hops and hemp. In Germany is the botanical name for cannabis hemp. Hemp plants can reach a height of up to several meters and are either male or female, in rare cases also bisexual. While seeds are obtained from the male plant for breeding purposes, the buds of the female hemp plants are rich in sticky resin, which contains the THC (Kuntz, 2002).

2.1 The spread of cannabis

Hemp is one of the most widespread plants all over the world (Kuntz, 2002) and has been the illegal drug that has been most commonly consumed in Germany since the late 1960s (Tossmann, 1996). “In Western Europe, hashish [compared to marijuana] is the far more common cannabis product. It comes mainly from Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India ”(Tossmann, 1996, p. 11).

In Germany in particular, in studies on the drug and addiction report from June 2016 by the federal government's drug commissioner (www.drogenbeauftragte.de) in 2015, 6.6 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds stated that they had consumed cannabis in the last twelve months (12 month prevalence). Compared to 2011 this is a slight increase of two percent. The 12-month prevalence of hemp and marijuana use among 18 to 25-year-old young adults has increased since 2008 and was 16.3 percent in 2015. The study showed that young men between the ages of 18 and 25 showed the greatest gains.

According to the same report, a total of 154,621 plants from indoor and outdoor plantations were seized in Germany in 2015, i.e. 17.3 percent more cannabis plants than in the previous year.

Cannabis is also known as Gateway drug. However, this term is very controversial. Although more than 40 percent of heroin addicts admit to having entered the drug scene through cannabis, about the same number just stick to cannabis without giving up hard drugs to switch (Bügen, 2017).

2.2 The effects of cannabis

According to Tossmann (1996), cannabis products such as hashish and marijuana are obtained from hemp plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC for short) is the active substance in cannabis products, "whereby hashish has a six to eight times higher concentration of THC than marijuana" (Tossmann, 1996, p. 11).

Usually, marijuana and hashish are in what are called Joints (hand-rolled cigarettes) and smoked in pipes. It is also common to add it to drinks (such as tea) or food (cakes, biscuits) (Tossmann, 1996).

There are three different types of cannabis that can be distinguished: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis (Kuntz, 2002). Cannabis sativa is probably the most common type, which is also used in a variety of ways, compared to the others. Cannabis indica, on the other hand, is processed almost exclusively into hash and cannabis ruderalis into cross-breeding (Gould, 2015).

Similar to different types of wine, cannabis differs in its quality. Depending on the climatic conditions of the growing region, the end product that is consumed is influenced by its color and consistency, but above all by its fine effect during and after consumption (Kuntz, 2002).

"Hashish and marijuana produce extremely diverse and different effects that do not just follow a pattern of effects given by the arbitrary drug use" (Kuntz, 2002, p. 74). As with many intoxicants, the effects of cannabis depend on the dosage and the form of ingestion. Depending on the situation, the state of intoxication sets in within a few minutes or possibly an hour later and lasts for one to five hours before the effects gradually wear off (Kuntz, 2002).

The prevailing mood of the consumer also plays a major role. So if someone is in a bad mood and uses cannabis, they will find the physical side effects of the substance more unpleasant than someone who is already in a positive mood before using it. The fine effects of the drug are not only dependent on the personality traits of the user, but also on the external circumstances of the consumption situation. For example, the place where cannabis is consumed plays a role as well as whether one is alone or in a group with other people (Kuntz, 2002).

2.2.1 Positive effects

The positive effects of the drug are, in addition to increased well-being and relaxation, a more intensive perception of normal sensory experiences and a slightly euphoric mood (Grotenhermen, 1999). “When intoxicated, thoughts begin to lead a life of their own” (Kuntz, 2002, p. 76), appetite is increased and the end of cannabis intoxication is often accompanied by drowsiness (Kuntz, 2002).

2.2.2 Negative effects

As already mentioned, there can also be negative effects. A distinction is made here between immediate and long-term side effects.

The acute side effects include an increased pulse and heart rate, an increase in blood pressure, "reddening of the eyes due to the widening of the blood vessels in the conjunctiva and the dilated pupils" (Kuntz, 2002, p. 78). Headaches, nausea and vomiting are also not uncommon (especially in inexperienced users). There can be subjective symptoms such as hallucinations and illusions, "at best even delusions, distortions in the perception of space and time [...], especially with higher dosages" (Burian & Eisenbach-Stangl, 1982, p. 71).

Objectively, the ability to perceive can change, possibly resulting in reduced attention, concentration and memory. With regular users, these symptoms can persist over the long term and permanently impair memory performance. Last but not least, it also influences driving behavior. Rather seldom, there are “states of emergency with confusion, acts of aggression or acute suicidal panic” (Burian & Eisenbach-Stangl, 1982, p. 71).

The long-term negative effects of cannabis use can also be physical and psychological in nature. Since many hashish and marijuana users take the drug through the respiratory tract, they and the lungs can suffer permanent damage as a result, as the so-called joints often contain tobacco on the one hand, but cannabis is also very harmful to the lungs due to combustion residues and tar on the other. This increases the risk of lung cancer (Kuntz, 2002). Chronic cannabis use can also affect sexual function because “men’s sex hormone levels can testosterone and the production of sperm decreases ”(Kuntz, 2002, p. 81).

Consumption during pregnancy poses a risk to the growth and development of the fetus and can lead to psychological sequelae in childhood (Jaques et al., 2014).

Recurring side effects of the psyche are experiences of personality disintegration and an associated fear of loss of control, panic attacks and an indifferent sensation of what is happening (Kuntz, 2002).

Cannabis is not physically addictive. People who stopped using it regularly report restlessness and problems falling asleep (Tretter, 1998). However, cannabis use can make you psychologically dependent. However, like many of the side effects already mentioned, this also depends on the genetic factors, which will be described in more detail in the course of this scientific work.

3 The clinical picture of schizophrenia

In Germany, the risk of developing psychosis in the course of life, which is diagnosed as schizophrenia, is a little under one percent. If one also includes the mild forms of the disease, such as the paranoid delusional diseases, the risk already rises to two percent (Häfner, 2017). Between the ages of 15 and 35, this / these occur preferentially (Wobrock, Pajonk & Falkai, 2004).


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