Schizophrenia Linked to Cannabis Use Disorder Is Increasing, Study Finds

Close-up of Cannabis sativa L. by Skalle-Per Hedenhös. (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. The original file was resized and compressed.)

A study from Denmark shows that schizophrenia associated with cannabis use disorder (marijuana addiction) has increased significantly over the last 25 years. The longitudinal study, which looked at the population of Denmark, found that schizophrenia linked to cannabis use disorder increased from 2% in 1995 to approximately 6% or 8% since 2010.

According to the study, this increase can be explained by the increase in the potency of marijuana and its use. The authors conclude: “This finding has important ramifications regarding legalization and control of use of cannabis.” Recreational marijuana is currently illegal in Denmark.

The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry on July 21. CNN also reported on this study.

Schizophrenia Second Behind Age as Greatest Risk Factor for COVID-19 Death

Transmission electron microscope image showing SARS-CoV-2. (Wikimedia Commons)

A new study finds that people with schizophrenia are nearly three times more likely to die from COVID-19. This association is not due to other comorbidities, such as heart disease, diabetes, and smoking.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry on January 27, was led by researchers at N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine. It found that schizophrenia is easily the biggest risk factor after age (schizophrenia poses a 2.7 times greater risk, while ages of 75 and above pose a 35.7 times greater risk).

“With this newfound understanding, healthcare providers can better prioritize vaccine distribution, testing, and medical care for this group,” says study lead author Katlyn Nemani, M.D., in a press release from N.Y.U. Langone Health (from which this article is derived).

Dr. Nemani believes one likely reason is an immune system disturbance, perhaps connected to the genetics of the disorder. Study senior author Donald C. Goff, M.D., says they plan to investigate whether antipsychotic drugs are also a factor.

Scientists Discover Second Type of Schizophrenia

Micrograph showing gray matter
Micrograph showing gray matter. (Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School have made a “potentially groundbreaking” discovery, StudyFinds reports. The researchers were the first to discover two distinct neuroanatomical subtypes of schizophrenia. StudyFinds author John Anderer writes:

Researchers analyzed the brain scans of over 300 schizophrenia patients to make their discovery. The first variation shows lower volumes of gray matter in comparison to a healthy brain. The second type of schizophrenia, though, shows largely the same levels of gray matter that would be seen in a normal brain scan. Needless to say, these findings may revolutionize mankind’s understanding of schizophrenia, as well as identification and treatment methods.

This is certainly welcome news for many sufferers of schizophrenia.

Read the StudyFinds article or the release from Penn Medicine for more information.