Warning: ‘Smoking’ pot could end up making you schizophrenic, like this 32-year-old Mumbai man

His parents started noticing that he had become irritable, suspicious of people’s intentions, angrily picking up fights, gradually progressed to muttering to self, abusing, running out of the house , spending long hours in front of the mirror etc. That’s when the doctors realised he had schizophrenia, a side-effect in this case of ‘smoking pot’

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For the 32-year-old, Jian Kapoor (name changed) smoking pot was a ‘fun’ with friends. Kapoor was working in a management firm and he would smoke the pot with his friends about a year back.

He was becoming way too irritable and increasingly suspicious of everyone. His worried parents approached a city doctor for help.

“His parents started noticing that he had become irritable, suspicious of people’s intentions, angrily picking up fights, gradually progressed to muttering to self, abusing, running out of the house , spending long hours in front of the mirror etc,” said Dr Milan Balakrishnan, consultant psychiatrist at JUNO.

It was then that Kapoor was admitted for schizophrenia and treated with supportive therapy to help him get out of his addiction. “He had schizophrenia induced by cannabis. Clearly, he wasted 6-8 months to this illness. That’s the problem of cannabis. In any form that promotes addiction, cannabis is a curse. It acts as a trigger for those who have a family history or risk of schizophrenia,” added Dr Balakrishnan.

It is however a known fact that cannabis does lead to psychosis. A study reported, ‘Cannabis impacts on the neurotransmitters that regulate how arousal and stress are managed in the brain. Once you get to this point, there is a real risk of depression or schizophrenia being triggered.’

When we talk about cannabis addiction in some form or the other, the worry is mainly about the youngsters. “Every week, I get at least three patients who consume cannabis and end up with psychosis or schizophrenia. Most of these addicts are in the age group of 15-35 years. It needs to really be looked into because it has serious repercussions,” said Dr Rohan Jahagirdar, consultant psychiatrist at Chaitanya Deaddiction Centre.

Peer pressure and the want to look ‘cool’ could also be a reason, say doctors. “Youngsters should really know that cannabis is not cool,” said Dr Balkrishnan.

“Substances commonly abused are alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, amphetamines group of drugs, heroin, inhalants and injectable substances. Many also resort to Cocaine, Opium and LSD. Many are compelled to ‘try’ out these drugs due to peer influences,” said Dr Anand Mishra, Internal Medicine Specialist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi.