Schizophrenia and young people… Does cannabis make it worse?

I received a letter on Facebook from a concerned mother whose son uses cannabis and has schizophrenia. She asked me to tell young people that cannabis is bad for their mental health. While some cannabis proponents would tell her she’s “wrong, ignorant, misinformed” etc., I chose to provide a calm, rational and honest rebuttal that should encourage her to look for the truth herself.

Here’s what I wrote to her:

Hello Janet,

I understand that parents are concerned about the reports of psychosis and schizophrenia being worsened because of cannabis use, but I must let you know that those reports are highly (excuse the pun) exaggerated.

For example, one of the studies used to “prove” a link utilized synthetic THC being injected into British men, which resulted in a negative psychological effect. However, no one injects cannabis, and certainly not pure synthetic THC! Additionally, the incidence of schizophrenia has not risen at all since the 1960s when marijuana use became popular. More people smoke marijuana than ever before, but schizophrenia rates have not gone up. It’s true that people who are already prone to develop schizophrenia may be negatively affected by marijuana use, but that group is very, very small and has no relation to the general public or the majority of young people, so the laws should not impact their harmless lifestyle and choice to use cannabis.

Also, there are many studies to disprove the assertion that cannabis use worsens schizophrenia, such as this recent one:

Here’s another editorial that links to a study:

In addition, the “expert” being employed to study the so-called link between cannabis and schizophrenia is actually religiously fundamental zealot who believe that drug use is the devil’s way of possessing people. He is entirely unqualified for the scientific job he’s been given, and should concern Canadians who expect our government to be open, honest, unbiased and accountable. Here’s an article about the anti-drug pastor our government is paying (with our tax dollars) to study cannabis:

Marc and I have many young people learning from us and being inspired by us to ask questions, be individually responsible, and to lead active, healthy, critical-thinking lifestyles. We have helped many young people find the truth they are seeking without police and politician interference/direction, and many have told us their lives are much improved because of what they have learned from us. My husband may be more “fanatical” than I am in his message delivery, but I always ensure I’m being balanced and open-minded about what I tell people.

I hope you will look into the research about cannabis and mental health beyond what I have shared here. There is nothing better a person can do than independent research to inform themselves.

Also, we promote ending drug prohibition so young people are no longer able to get marijuana and other drugs with such ease. Under prohibition, teens are more able to get drugs than alcohol or cigarettes; if we really want to educate our children and keep them away from drugs, we need a legal, taxed and regulated system of drug control with honest information instead of ignorant or vague scare tactics and disprovable theories. Young people will be more likely to not use drugs if they are legal, and they will not be so induced by the rebellious, “cool” aspect of illegal marijuana. Right now, under prohibition, gangs control the drug trade and sell to young people; additionally, young people are drawn to sell drugs because of the enormous profit to be made. If we end prohibition, the price will plummet and young people will not be so inclined to join the gang lifestyle for the “cool” and wealthy ends it provides.

I hope this was informational and I appreciate your message and concerns! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to discuss.

Kind regards,

Jodie Emery
Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, politician and business owner. She is the wife of activist Marc Emery, and owner of Cannabis Culture Magazine, Pot TV, Cannabis Culture Lounge and Cannabis Culture Headquarters.