Cannabis causes psychotic episodes among students, a new British-led study revealed today.
Experts found that undergraduates who smoke cannabis are more likely to ‘hear voices’ and hallucinate.
Students who regularly smoke the drug are also more at risk of suffering paranoia and delusions, such as believing others can read their mind.
The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Bath, who interviewed students in the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Thomas Richardson, of the university’s Mental Health Research and Development Unit, said: ”The study found that those currently using cannabis had higher levels of hallucinatory experiences that those who were not using cannabis.
”More frequent use was related to an increased likelihood of hallucinations, and heavy use also increased the risk of experiencing delusions.
”This suggests that students who move from occasional, perhaps recreational cannabis use to more regular use are more likely to have psychotic experiences.”
The research was based on interviews with 334 students.
Mr Richardson added: ”I must stress the limitations of this research, but nonetheless these findings are important as undergraduate students as a population have very high levels of cannabis use.
”This research suggests that those who use cannabis are more likely to have psychotic experiences, which in the long run may increase the risk of developing a serious mental health problem.
”These results are therefore important for health professionals who work with students.”