Cigarettes & alcohol each more likely to cause psychosis than marijuana

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Alternative Free Press

Cannabis does not cause schizophrenia, but new research suggests smoking cigarettes can.

The BBC reports:

Published in the Lancet Psychiatry, their analysis of 61 separate studies suggests nicotine in cigarette smoke may be altering the brain.

Experts said it was a “pretty strong case” but needed more research.

Smoking has long been associated with psychosis, but it has often been believed that schizophrenia patients are more likely to smoke because they use cigarettes as a form of self-medication to ease the distress of hearing voices or having hallucinations.

The team at King’s looked at data involving 14,555 smokers and 273,162 non-smokers.

It indicated:

– 57% of people with psychosis were already smokers when they had their first psychotic episode
– Daily smokers were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as non-smokers
– Smokers developed schizophrenia a year earlier on average

The argument is that if there is a higher rate of smoking before schizophrenia is diagnosed, then smoking is not simply a case of self-medication.

In 2014 we wrote about a University of Calgary four-year study entitled “Impact of substance use on conversion to psychosis in youth at clinical high risk of psychosis” which determined that cannabis did not increase the likelihood of psychosis. On the other hand, the study suggests that alcohol use could increase the likelihood of psychosis. The Abstract reads: “Results revealed that low use of alcohol, but neither cannabis use nor tobacco use at baseline, contributed to the prediction of psychosis in the CHR sample.”

Written by Alternative Free Press
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