Genetics Could Explain “Marijuana Psychosis”

Maybe Restivo needs medical marijuana … to chill out

Science can be tricky thing, and particularly so when discussing the cannabis plant.  Laymen — and your average Internet expert — often sum up complex studies involving biochemistry and neurology in overly simplistic and often misleading bromides. “Cannabis may have antitumor effectsbecomes “pot cures cancer.”

Examining the magic plant or any other complex psychoactive compound requires both restraint and nuance. But that's boring. Why bother when there's the drama of 21st century reefer madness? “For cannabis it is the tobacco moment,'” is Patrick Cockburn's breathless opening salvo in a four-part series running this week in the UK Independent. For the veteran foreign correspondent — whose 30-year-old son has been in and out of mental hospitals for the past decade after spending much of the '90s stoned off his ass — studies suggesting a possible link between marijuana use and psychotic episodes are akin to the revelation that tobacco smoking leads to a host of deadly maladies.

It's poppycock — but also not entirely. Some studies suggest when coupled with a genetic defect, cannabis use can trigger psychosis in adolescents. But other studies suggest certain marijuana use can defuse schizophrenia. It makes you crazy and it makes you uncrazy?

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