Is there a connection between a young person’s use of cannabis (marijuana) or cannabinoids and a first onset of psychosis?

Experimentation and recreational use of cannabis (marijuana) is a common but risky behavior among adolescents and young adults. A great deal of research shows that in some young people there is a connection between cannabis use or abuse and the subsequent emergence of first psychotic symptoms. Research shows that the higher the concentration of THC or cannabinoids found in cannabis, the higher the risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms. Unfortunately, in adolescents and young adults with a first-episode of psychosis, the evidence strongly suggests that continued use of cannabis is likely to contribute to the continuation or worsening of psychotic symptoms. In addition, in some individuals with psychosis the continued use of cannabis is likely to be associated with significantly poorer functioning in school, at work, or in social situations. In contrast, outcomes are better for those young people with psychotic symptoms who stop using cannabis and engage in treatment early. Young people who are experiencing a first onset of psychotic symptoms and are making their symptoms worse by the use of cannabis must seek treatment to reduce or stop the cannabis use in addition to treatment for their psychotic symptoms. See this guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA) for additional information.

  • Was this Helpful ?
  • YesNo

Join our #MissionForBetter now

Sign up for our newsletter. We’ll let you know about new resources, education, and more.