Thursday, December 9, 2010

Links Between Cannabis and Schizophrenia To be Discussed at Conference

The links between marijuana and schizophrenia will be discussed at a conference on Friday.

David Lewis, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Pittsburgh will be speaking at the conference about the link between cannabis and schizophrenia.
While there is evidence, there is no conclusive proof that people who use cannabis during adolescence have an increased likelihood of developing schizophrenia.

“So our hypothesis is that there is a sensitive period in development because of the normal changes within the brain that make it more vulnerable to cannabis exposure between say the ages of 12 and 16 than after the age of 18 or 20," he said.

There is also evidence that heavier use leads to an increased risk of developing the disease. The hypothesized connection is controversial for a number of reasons – for one its unknown if the teenagers using cannabis are using to suppress undetected symptoms.

There is also evidence that adults with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are at risk for making their symptoms worse with use of the drug.

The Pittsburgh Schizophrenia Conference is in its 27th year. It will be held at Sheraton Square on the South Side.

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