One of the primary arguments against the legalization of marijuana has been an increased risk factor of psychotic episodes in teen users. New research, however, shows that there may be no increased risk at all. By studying twins, researchers were able to see differences between genetic and environmental influences during psychotic episodes when cannabis was involved.
The conclusion of the researchers is quite profound: the environment of people plays the largest role in psychotic behavior. Genetics plays a small role in how marijuana affects them on an individual level. The upbringing of a child may have the greatest influence on the mind. Higher levels of stress, living in poverty, or having learning disabilities could all create a foundation for psychotic episodes.
Let’s be clear. Teens that suffer from psychotic episodes when smoking pot are rare as it is. Paranoia and hallucinations are more common with other illicit drugs than with cannabis. Every environment that teens who use marijuana find themselves in cannot be studied because it is so individualistic in nature, but the influences of a person’s surroundings appear to be clear.
What does this mean? That perhaps the focus on marijuana shouldn’t be the primary issue of law enforcement officials when it comes to resolving psychotic episodes that do happen. If environmental factors are the biggest contributor to mental mania, then having resources available to help children cope with a difficult home life may solve many of the problems that are currently blamed on marijuana.