Weed does things to teenage brains that makes them 11 times more likely to suffer from this disorder.

A new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine estimates that teens using cannabis are at 11 times higher risk of developing a psychotic disorder compared to teens not using cannabis.  

“The ideal time to consider using weed — if you’re going to use it — is 26 or later”

Dr. Ryan Sultan, a psychiatrist at Columbia Irving Medical Center.

This finding suggests that the association between cannabis and psychotic disorders may be stronger than indicated by previous research, which has relied largely on older data when cannabis was less potent than today. For context, the average THC potency of cannabis in Canada has increased from roughly 1% in 1980 to 20% in 2018. 

Researchers from the University of Toronto, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and ICES, linked recent population-based survey data from over 11,000 youth in Ontario, Canada, to health service use records including hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits, and outpatient visits.  

We found a very strong association between cannabis use and risk of psychotic disorder in adolescence. Surprisingly, we didn’t find evidence of association in young adulthood,” says lead author André McDonald, who conducted the study at ICES as part of his PhD at the University of Toronto.

These findings are consistent with the neurodevelopmental theory that teens are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis.” 

Key Facts:

  • Teens using cannabis are 11 times more likely to develop psychotic disorders.
  • The association is stronger in adolescence than young adulthood.
  • Most teens diagnosed with psychotic disorders have a history of cannabis use.

Source: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences