A New Link Has Been Found Between Cannabis Use and Mania

Mattin Najafi

A New Link Has Been Found Between Cannabis Use and Mania

As of now, it is pretty difficult to find scientific studies on the effects of marijuana since the levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, have been rapidly increasing in the past few years. When you look at the typical percentage of THC in weed since the 60’s, it has been steadily increasing through the years, but it has been only in the past ten years or so that this number has skyrocketed, which means uncertainty for our youth. Only about ten years ago wax hit the market. People have been making “Hash Wax” for years, which is a concentration of different chemicals including marijuana and is used to get a more powerful high, but it has never had the potency that it has today until about 2010. In a marijuana joint in the 60’s, marijuana was running about 4-7% THC. Nowadays, marijuana is running anywhere from 15-30% THC. Wax runs right about 90-95% THC. So it is an incredibly strong concentration of THC.

A new study done by Warwick University of over 2,000 applicants looked at the possible link between manic episodes and marijuana use. Mania is a symptom of Bi-Polar disorder. Bi-Polar disorder consists of two episodes, mania and depressive. These episodes can last days, weeks, even months. In manic episodes, people may feel on top of the world, they can feel an incredible sense of urgency and motivation, which I know may not sound like a bad thing, but it also comes with a feeling of lowered need for sleep, extreme anger, paranoia, hyperactivity, and in extreme cases, delusions or hearing voices. The study that was done wanted to answer two questions, 1: Does marijuana worsen manic episodes in people who already have Bi-Polar disorder, and 2: Does marijuana create manic episodes in people that don’t already have them?

What they found was that in nearly all of their subjects, the use of marijuana predates their onset of manic episodes. This means that they were using marijuana before they were having manic episodes. And in nearly all of their subjects, the increased use of marijuana had actually worsened their episodes, making them more extreme and having increased levels of delusions, hallucinations, and hearing voices.

Dr. Steven Marwaha, lead author of the study, concluded the study by saying, “There are limited studies addressing the association of cannabis use and manic symptoms, which suggests this is a relatively neglected clinical issue. However, our review suggests that cannabis use is a major clinical problem occurring early in the evolving course of bipolar disorder. More research is needed…” and he continues by saying “Cannabis is [a] prevalent drug used by the under-18s and during this critical period of development services we should be especially aware of and responsive to the problems that cannabis use can cause for adolescent populations.” Simply put, this is an issue that needs more attention. We need to be looking at the effects of THC and marijuana before just deeming it safe, especially when it’s a completely different drug from the 60’s and 70’s. We also need to focus on our youth, since their brains are in the process of developing and figuring out how they are going to work for the rest of their lives, we need to worry about the effect that marijuana will have on that process.