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大麻和精神健康的研究結論 Cannabis and mental health: the debate continues

After 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.

Brain disorder
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.


(i) Theresa H M Moore, Stanley Zammit, Anne Lingford-Hughes, Thomas R E Barnes, Peter B Jones, Margaret Burke, Glyn Lewis "Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review" Lancet 2007; 370:319-28.

(ii) Yao J.K., Magan S., Sonel A.F., Gurklis J.A., Sanders R., Reddy R.D. "Effects of omega-3 fatty acid on platelet serotonin responsivity in patients with schizophrenia." Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2004 71(3):171-6.

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