Medical Q&As

Cannabis - mental side effects?

Could you tell me about the mental side effects of cannabis?

Cannabis contains a psychoactive chemical known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC can affect various chemicals within the brain thereby inducing positive feelings of relaxation and well-being. However, several reports have documented that heavy cannabis use can be associated with paranoid thought pattern, confusion and anxiety. It has also been documented that cannabis can cause psychosis. This drug induced psychosis can cause visual hallucinations, disorientation and disruption of memory. These symptoms usually develop quickly but they also resolve speedily within a matter of days. However, these effects can persist for a long period of time in those with a history of psychosis. The literature also suggests that if an individual has a predisposition to a psychosis, such as schizophrenia, that taking the drug could precipitate a first episode of the illness. People with a history of psychotic illness should avoid cannabis because it tends to destabilise their condition.