Cannabis and mental health: the debate continues
the embarrassing revelations that more ministers in Gordon
Brown's new cabinet than the government would care to admit
had owned up to having smoked cannabis in the past, the drug
has hit the headlines again, this time as a result of its
links with mental health.
British scientists writing recently in The Lancet (i) claim
that people who smoke the drug have a 40 percent increased
risk of developing psychosis (which includes schizophrenia)
and affective illness in later life, with frequent dope smokers
at a 50-200 percent increased risk.
The findings come in the form of a meta-analysis of a number
of previous studies on cannabis and psychosis. Based on an
estimated schizophrenia incidence rate among 15-34-year-olds
of 37 in 100,000, the researchers conclude that 800 cases
of schizophrenia are the result of cannabis consumption in
the UK every year.
Despite the fact that the number of potential cannabis-caused
cases of psychosis is relatively small, the authors of the
report claim their findings are cause for concern. The news
follows the announcement that the prime minister is planning
a second review of the classification of cannabis – currently
class C, downgraded from class B in 2004 – in two years time.
Statistics show that one in 100 people are at risk of developing
severe schizophrenia (a risk that increases to 1.4 in 100
in cannabis users). The condition is a neurological brain
disorder that most commonly affects people between the ages
of 16 and 30.
Experts have yet to identify any single factor that causes
schizophrenia, though some studies suggest it"s an inherited
condition and runs in families. Other reports claim there
may be a link between schizophrenia and levels of fatty acids
– particularly omega-3 fatty acids – in the brain, and that
supplementing omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic
acid) could help reduce symptoms(ii).
Diane Lefevre, a consultant psychotherapist at the Mental
Health Unit at Basildon Hospital, prescribes our high-EPA
omega product for patients with schizophrenia.
Fish oils and brain health
EPA, which is sourced almost exclusively in the diet from
oily fish, is found in the human body in the phospholipid
layer in cell membranes, and is required for smooth messaging
between neurons in the brain. If you have low EPA levels,
it can affect cell messaging, which many experts believe can
lead to the development of schizophrenia, depression and other
mental health problems.
Omega product is a patented and highly concentrated formulation
of ultra-pure EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) from marine fish
oil and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from organic virgin evening
primrose oil, providing a highly concentrated source of omega-3
& -6 long chain fatty acids and botanical triterpenes.
This unique combination of natural fatty acids provides cell
membranes with the nutrients required for efficient chemical
signalling integral to healthy brain function. Just two capsules
daily can help to reverse a fatty acid deficiency by increasing
the amount of phospholipids in brain-cell membranes. As a
result, messaging between neurons is enhanced and cognition
improves. An increasing number of doctors and nutrition experts
are using omega product to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar
disorder with remarkable results.