Schizophrenia is a mental illness which is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, catatonic behaviour, manic speech and behaviour and emotional apathy. These symptoms tend to appear for the first time between the ages 16 and 30 years old, although the can appear slightly earlier in men than in women.
This is a mental illness which has been heavily stigmatized in the past. Throughout the 20th century, schizophrenia patients have been institutionalized and swept under the rug by society. Thankfully, attitudes towards mental illnesses and schizophrenia in particular are changing rapidly, although some stigma still remains.
The global rate of schizophrenia stands at about 1% of the population. The rate in the United States however, is estimated at 1.5% in 2018. This figure translates to about 3.2 million Americans who suffer from the disorder.
The current treatment for schizophrenia is a combination of medication and talk therapies. The antipsychotic medications prescribed can cause some nasty side effects. These include dry mouth, blurred vision, muscle spasms and tremors. However, they can be quite effective. Talk therapies are very beneficial to patients with all types of mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia.
Cannabis and schizophrenia have a complex relationship. For many years, researchers believed that cannabis could actually cause the condition. However, more recent studies have disputed this theory. The current data on this relationship suggests that cannabis could cause an increased risk schizophrenia, but that this risk is very small and only applicable to people who are already genetically at risk of the condition.
While cannabis is becoming a more popular treatment for other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression than ever before, doctors and patients remain appropriately wary of cannabis and the potential effects it could have.