Back in September, we talked a little about the dangers of a “marijuana maintenance” plan. For those who are unfamiliar, “marijuana maintenance” refers to substituting THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, for more immediately dangerous drugs like heroin and other opiates. The problem here is that when we choose to treat our substance use disorder with another substance, we miss a chance to address the underlying issues that are driving our condition.
An Ineffective Means of Self-Medication
The same holds true with other mental health issues. We treat many clients with co-occurring marijuana use and anxiety or depressive disorders. And the overwhelming majority of them began their THC use as a means to ease the symptoms of their depression or anxiety. The drug offers some measure of relief at the beginning. However, it soon exacerbates those symptoms as users develop a tolerance and dependence. Meanwhile, the trauma beneath these disorders remains untreated. The cycle continues. Still, the problematic relationship between THC and mental health conditions goes even deeper.
THC and Schizophrenia: Two Studies
A 2019 study by Di Forti M, Quattrone D, Freeman TP, et al. found that daily cannabis use increased the risk of developing a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. Furthermore, that risk increased along with the amount and potency of cannabis used. Participants who spent more than 20 euros a week on cannabis doubled their risk of developing a psychotic disorder. Meanwhile, daily use of high-potency cannabis increased that risk by a factor of four.
Another study, this one by D’Souza, Abi-Saab, Madonick, et al., examined the effects of THC on stable schizophrenia patients on antipsychotic medication. They found that while THC caused the expected transitory problems with memory and learning as well as altered perception in the patients suffering from schizophrenia, these effects were more pronounced than those in the control subjects. Furthermore, THC exacerbated the core psychotic and cognitive deficits of schizophrenia.
Innovative, Creative Care
People suffering from mental health issues are twice as likely to develop a substance use disorder. This makes THC a dangerous self-medication option. If you or someone you love is suffering from schizophrenia, depression, or another mental health condition, please consider seeking professional treatment. Creative Care offers an innovative, compassionate mental health treatment program at our beautiful one-acre property in Malibu Canyon. Clients participate in a ladder of therapeutic programming. Under a serene canopy of centuries-old oak trees, we work through a comprehensive treatment plan devised by our expert staff.
For those who have developed a co-occurring substance use disorder from years of self-medication, our dual diagnosis treatment program is available. At our Woodland Hills facility, our clients learn to unearth and understand the core of their experiences. Together, we connect the dots and improve their quality of life. Our fully equipped staff includes a consulting psychiatrist, psychotherapists, registered nurses, counselors, and other highly trained professionals.
We tailor our treatment services to each client’s individual needs. For innovative, Creative Care, call today at 855-954-0762.